Do you have any routines in your life? Maybe it is a morning routine, before-bed routine, or cleaning routine that you do every day? Kids thrive on them, but adults need them too. Call them what you like, do you actually carry out these routines? I excel at creating and planning routines for my life. The HAVING routines part is nailed down. I believe 100% that they can save you time and the mental stress of trying to remember what you need to do. The execution is where things can fall apart...the DOING the routine part. This is definitely not the the fun part. Anybody else struggle with this? Luckily, every day is a new chance to start over fresh. So, that is what I am doing this morning!
Write down what you need to do on a piece of paper, keep it in your phone, on your calendar, wherever you will see it and be reminded. What are some of the tasks in your routine? Do you like to write them down? Please share for inspiration!
It's that time of year again...the dreaded tax season. Why must we call it a season, that word should be reserved for happier times, like Christmas! So, are you ready? If not, don't stress, you can get started right now with just a few steps. You've got this!
1. Decide - Choose whether you will meet with a tax preparer, or file your taxes yourself.
2. Schedule - If you will be meeting with someone, now is a great time to schedule that appointment. Or, if filing yourself, set aside time on your calendar.
3. Gather - Grab an empty folder or a large paper clip will do, and begin gathering all of those important papers and receipts to keep them together. Now, when it is time to meet with your tax accountant, or file yourself, you will be ready.
This may sound incredibly strict and cumbersome. But, wait! It doesn't need to be complicated. Perhaps the notion of being locked into eating what you wrote down on a particular day is holding you back. One solution is to make your meal plan adjustable. All you need are post-it notes on a sheet of paper. Place it somewhere that is visible for you and your family so everyone can see the plan. With this simple strategy, your dinner/meals plan for the day can be changed by simply moving a post-it! Below is a 6-day example, which works for my family. Saturdays are a wild-card. Feel free to use 7 post-its if that's best for you.
How do you plan your meals? Dinner only, 3 meals a day with snacks, or do you "wing-it?" Please share in the comments below!
Who is ready to play Organizing Bingo?
It doesn't have to take hours to get your space organized. Take 15 minutes and try to get BINGO! You choose which three-in-a-row it takes to win. Spend just 5 minutes on a category, and then move on to the next. With 15 minutes spent, who needs a Free Space?!
Share in the comments which three categories you tackled and we can all yell BINGO along with you!!
Do you ever feel like a Family Circus cartoon at the grocery store? Zigzagging up and down the aisles, crisscrossing the store as you discover items on your list that you already passed? There is a better way! Have you ever tried sorting your grocery list based on the area, or aisle of the store? This process does require some work up front. But, it will save you time and money on all your future shopping trips. No need to retrace your steps, and maybe impulsively purchase unnecessary things. Here are a few steps to try the next time you sit down to write out your list.
- Choose which store you will be using.
- Think about the layout of the store as you physically walk through it. I like to think of this as "virtual shopping".
- Write down the sections of the store as you come upon them. Some categories could include:
*Produce, Frozen, Dairy, Meat, Canned/Dry Goods, Baking, Snacks, Beverages
- Leave some room beneath each category for your needed items to be filled in. Pen and paper works great here. Or, there are also a multitude of apps which can make this a snap. A couple of my favorite list-making apps are Cozi and Wunderlist.
- Write down your needed grocery items beneath each category.
- Head to the store!
- As you shop the store, take note of any additional categories (and their location) that you may have forgotten. You can add these to your master list.
- Voila! You now have a customized grocery list laid out by location. Use this for future shopping trips and save yourself time, money and frustration.
December is the time of year that I choose my new calendar/planner for the upcoming year. I'm sure you will not be surprised to hear that I get really happy looking through all the options and selecting a fresh, new planner. I love the potential and world of possibilities waiting inside them. Am I alone here? Does anyone else out there love choosing a calendar/planner for the new year? Or, maybe this is the year that you would like to give a paper calendar a try for the first time. I can help with that. 😃
Simply Organized NW is having its first giveaway!!! I found a beautiful 2018 Recollections Creative Year 12 Month Spiral Planner that I would like to give away to one interested reader. It ticks many boxes that I look for in a calendar/planner...functional, fun decoration, and small enough in size to be portable. Check out the photos below!
If you would like to be entered into the drawing to win this lovely planner, take ONE or more of the following actions, and let me know in the comments that you're interested!
1), share this post
2), tag a friend
3) comment with what you look for in a paper calendar
The winner's name will be randomly chosen on Friday, December 15th at 11am and notified via Facebook message. I will happily mail this planner out to the lucky winner next Monday!
I'm looking forward to hearing from YOU!
With Christmas right around the corner, today is a great day to assess the things currently in your home. Are there items that could be donated to folks that would love them? Why not take a little time now to open up space for new items that you may be bringing in at Christmas. Too busy to donate? There are many resources that will come to you to pick up those items from your doorstep. Northwest Center is just one example you may want to check out. Go to http://bigbluetruck.org/ to schedule a pickup. 😊
Will you be driving somewhere for Thanksgiving next week?
This time of year weather and traffic can be unpredictable. Be safe and prepared with emergency supplies that you can store in your vehicle. An emergency kit and first aid supplies will give you peace of mind in most any situation. Here are some pics of what I like to keep in our car and truck. Hopefully this will inspire you to make your own kit!
Please share in the comments what supplies you like to keep in your vehicle!
Whether it is the holidays, a special birthday, or a bridal shower, throughout the year there are always gifts to be wrapped. Make the giving easier by organizing a simple, effective gift wrapping station, bin, or entire area including:
-A tote with scissors, tape, pens, and markers
-A container with labels, ribbons, bows, gift cards, and bubble wrap
-A larger tote with wrapping paper, gift bags, and tissue paper
Keep all of these supplies together and your gift giving will be a lot easier when you don't have to hunt for anything. You can even add an envelope into one of the totes to store gift receipts or shipping invoices. Your system can be as simple or elaborate as you have the space or enthusiasm for.
Here are a few pics of how we keep gift giving organized in our home. Where do you like to store your gift giving supplies?
As I'm sure every retailer in the world has already reminded you...Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner! 😊 I am not going to suggest you rush out and begin buying stuff. Today is a great day begin getting organized for your holiday guests!
If you have a space in your home designated as a guest room, try not to let the clutter take over. Organize a guest room and keep it ready for your visitors.
A couple of tips:
-Try to keep the bed clear by not letting it become a storage place for miscellaneous household items. Under-bed storage containers can really help with this!
-Keep a few guest essentials in a basket or decorative box, such as extra toiletries, a box of mints or snacks, and tissues.
-If you want to go the extra mile, add some candles or magazines to a bedside table.
Maintaining your guest space will ensure you are ready to welcome any guests you choose to invite!
What is your favorite item to keep out for guests?
Many times I have shown the desktop file box that lives on my kitchen counter. But, what if piling papers is your jam? You definitely should use the system that works best for you. I want to share a new product that I recently discovered. It is called the Pendaflex PileSmart. I am trying this out in the paper bin that I keep on my desk. Why not have the ease of a pile of papers, but still have categories to help you quickly find what you need. You can also label the sleeves with the categories that work for your life. If you are a "piler" maybe this product could help save you some time and aggravation! Reply in the comments with a 1 if you may give this system a try, or 2 if you are a happy filer.
Happy Wednesday! Here is a question for you...
Do you have a drop zone? I'm talking about a command center, or the place you put all the stuff in your hands when you walk in the front door? Where is this place? Did you intentionally choose it, or was it happenstance?
With a little focused planning this space could become your best time-saver! This spot should be convenient, easily accessible (visualize dropping things right in), and have room for all your essentials. Things that might live here include a basket for papers/mail, a bowl or hook for keys, a phone charger, and a spot for your workbag or purse. Once you have chosen this zone, you will always know where to find these items when you need them.
Here is a pic of my own drop zone. This spot is at the end of my kitchen counter. It is a straight shot from the garage or front door. :)
Where is your drop zone? Please share in the comments below!
Nobody loves making their bed. At least, not anyone I've ever met. We see it as a time-consuming nuisance first thing in the morning. We ask our kids to do it. They hate it too. So, what's the point? Why should you ever bother making your bed? You are only going to (hopefully) return to it at the end of the day.
Here are a few reasons why making your bed can be a very good thing...
1) It sets a tone of success and accomplishment for your day when your feet first hit the floor. Check! One thing done already! You may now proceed kicking butt and taking names. :-)
2) When the bed is made, you are less likely to leave other items lying around which don't belong there. I'm talking about unfolded laundry and clothes tried on before leaving the house.
3) A tidy bed is a little bit of cozy luxury that welcomes you when you are ready to rest at the end of the day. You can choose if it is simple and straightforward, or mounded with decorative pillows.
Are any of these reasons compelling for you to try making your bed? Please share in the comments if you are a bed maker, or why you don't.
When things begin piling up in our spaces, it is often because they do not have a designated home. I am issuing a challenge to any and all who choose to accept it: Find three items today that are lying around in your home, and choose where they will live. It will be so much easier to put things away and tidy up when you know where it goes. I would love to hear about the items you find...and where they live now! Bonus points for sharing a photo in the comments! Let's all inspire each other. :-D😀
Have you ever tried meal planning? It may sound intimidating and time-consuming. But it doesn't have to be. It can be a very effective tool for staying organized, saving time and money all week long! If you are looking for motivation, check out the photos below. This is my lunch meal prep that I completed on Sunday morning. This is the spicy, cheesy chorizo casserole that my husband and I will eat for lunches all week long! 😋
Interested in learning more? I would love to chat with you if you want more info about meal prepping or other ways to get organized! Share your favorite favorite lunch in the comments.
Have you ever thought that you just can't get organized because you've tried in the past without success? Fear not!! There are multitudes of methods for organizing homes and reducing clutter. The key is to find the one that works best for YOU. Don't be afraid to try new ways if something is not working. Sometimes, several methods used together will be the best approach. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1) Timer tidy: set a timer for 5-10 minutes and remove clutter (a great family activity!).
2) Rewards: a clean and orderly house on Saturday means a day at the park.
3) Morning minutes: spend 10 minutes each morning readying the home for the day. (this also works well done in the evening for those with more energy at night!)
4) Empty spaces: remember it is OK to have empty spaces in your home.
5) Trading: when you bring a new item into the home, decide which item could be traded out so you can avoid accumulating clutter.
6) Planning: before bringing anything into the home, plan where it will be used and stored.
The challenge for today is to try out one of these methods that may be new to you. Share in the comments which number you could try out today! I like #1, because you have an excuse to stop when it goes off. :-)
Have you ever thought about keeping your budget organized? Organizing your life is about more than sorting your old shoes. It is about taking control of your finances as well. It is crucial to know how you are spending your money...and why. An organized budget will help lead you one step closer to an organized life.
Budgeting is basically organizing categories and expenses. The initial budgeting process is the most challenging, but is well worth it. Look at your expenses and categorize them. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
-Needs: mortgage, rent, insurance, groceries, gas
-Wants: entertainment, dining out, cable
-Savings: 401k, vacation, home improvement
Once you have accounted for how your money is being spent now, it will be much easier to see how you can start to make any changes.
Let's chat about goals...
Creating goals for organizing your space is an essential key to success. You can start small and work up to those larger, more daunting tasks. Instead of setting one large goal of attaining an Organized Home, break up the organization into rooms, functions, or even closets or drawers. Goal setting might look something like this:
1. Organize bedroom closet and donate clothes that aren't worn to local shelter.
2. Sort through linen closet and mark sheets according to bed size.
3. Clean laundry room and install shelves.
4. Declutter home office.
5. Clean son's room, and help him donate unused toys to needy children.
Breaking down into manageable pieces the overwhelming task of organizing a living space is crucial for reaching your goals! Which goal will you tackle today? Please share the number in the comments below. Or reply with the one that works for you. :-)
Our patios, decks, and yards are extensions of our homes and can provide us with additional living spaces. Don't forget to organize these so that they can remain valuable additions to your home. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Use weatherproof furniture so you don't have to bring it in and out according to the weather forecast.
2. Design a simple landscape that lets you use and maintain your property easily. The more items you place in a yard, the more items you have to mow and trim around.
3. Invest in outdoor storage containers for decks and patios. Smaller items can be stored in these for easy access.
Think about how you want to spend your time outside, and create a space that allows you to do just that. Now, enjoy!
Good morning! Is it back-to-school time where you are? Or maybe you are just looking to stay on top of your work tasks. Either way, let's chat about organizing your assignments.
Assignments aren't just for those attending school. We are given work assignments, parenting assignments, or volunteer assignments. Ensuring that you are ready for your task takes a just a little bit of planning and organizing to make the grade.
1.Keep a list of all assignments and tasks in a notebook, folder, or spreadsheet.
2. Subdivide the list into categories each week (i.e. tasks to be completed at home or work assignments), including due dates! Having the deadline in front of you will help ensure everything gets done.
3. Add to the list the supplies you will need in order to complete the task. If you are in charge of helping with the neighborhood picnic, this list might include food, garbage cans, signs-up sheets, or park benches.
4. Determine which supplies you already have and which ones are still needed.
5. Identify who, if anyone, can help you complete the task.
6. Bonus step: Make notes of challenges along the way and outcomes. This will help for future tasks.
Finally, sit back and admire a job well done!
Now that we've talked about clearing clutter from our schedules, let's move on to the clutter on our computers. Our computers can be extremely valuable tools in our lives, but they can also become inadvertently overloaded with information. It is far too easy to over-stuff a computer, because the clutter can be easily hidden from view.
However, clutter can make your computer run slower, make it more difficult to find what you need, and make life more challenging. Try these few steps to reduce computer clutter.
Today let's chat about removing clutter from your schedule.
Just like the closets and attics in our homes, our lives and schedules can become filled with clutter. You can live a more fulfilling life when you reduce the clutter caused by not prioritizing time. Here are a few ways to make that happen...
1. Manage your schedule by looking for things to remove. If it does not give you joy, provide you with something in return (we need those jobs!), or enrich your life, consider dropping it from your schedule.
2. Make shopping lists so you can make fewer runs to the grocery store.
3. Don't be afraid to delegate to others. Family members can certainly help carry the load. Or, it may be time to hire an assistant for yard work, cleaning, or other tasks.
4. This one may be the toughest to carry out....Don't be afraid to say “No” when asked to commit to something.
Removing clutter from your schedule might seem impossible, but there is usually at least one thing we can all change to lead purpose-filled lives. What item could you change in your schedule today? Please share in the comments.
Today's tips are all about preparing for moving day with more than boxes.
Moving can be an exciting opportunity, but it can also be filled with stress. Reduce the anxiety about moving by preparing in advance.
**Make sure each item is actually worth moving. Don't pack items just to get them packed. Take the time now to get rid of clutter, donate to charities, and throw out the trash.
**Keep a master moving list and folder with all of the information you might need, including floor plan measurements of the new home and moving company estimates.
**Get down to the bare minimum with your food supply so you don't have to worry about transporting food and keeping it cold and fresh.
**Start by packing the things you use less frequently, such as decorative items.
**Make sure to label everything by content and for which new room it is destined. Assigning a color to each space can be very helpful! See a great example from the Container Store in the pics below.
Take a breath, and have a smooth moving day!
Here is another strategy that worked for us on our recent rv trip...
Meet the collapsible crate by Tontarelli (CleverCrate also makes a larger, very durable version). It is my new favorite thing! This crate is super versatile and folds down to take up minimal space. We used it inside the rv to contain all of our shoes. We minimized dirt tracking inside, and were always able to locate the shoe we needed. You can see in the photo that it fit snugly behind the front passenger seat. After our trip, we folded it down and put it into a duffel bag that we then used as a carry-on for our flight home. This post is in no way sponsored, I just really love how helpful this product was.
What would you store inside this crate? I would love to hear in the comments below!
Yes, we are nerdy and named the rv we rented to drive from the Seattle area to Chicago. This is one similar to ours.
You may already be aware that I LOVE a good packing cube. And, they did not fail me on this roadtrip. It turns out that they are also an excellent way to keep clothing accessible and contained in a swaying RV. Keep these indispensible tools in mind on your next roadtrip!