Now I’ll start off by being entirely honest. I am most certainly NOT the most perfectly organized person – and I am certainly not the cleanest person – however, here are some simple tips and tricks that I use to try and keep my life just a little bit more manageable and serene.
Having a dirty house and a to do list a mile long can make a woman feel like a failure. While I always try my best to keep up with the laundry and put food on the table at a reasonable hour, some nights it just doesn’t happen. For a long time these things really got to me, I would stress all day about what to make for dinner and cleaning the house to the point where when I got home I would just say forget it and curl up in my bed to watch my favorite “at the time” Netflix series. (Especially in college when not only were my household chores waiting for me when I got home, but hours worth of reading/writing/studying/etc.)
Thank god the school stress is behind me but the “homework” still never ends. It’s just different. So in reference to that literal “HOME-work”, here is where our organizational advice journey begins.
After being in the true 40 hours a week “adult world” for these short past 4 months I have learned a lot. Most importantly, I have learned that it’s important to prioritize. Prioritize the things that HAVE to get done vs. the things you’d like to do. (I tend to flip flop these sometimes because the “like to’s” tend to be easier or less stressful.) I am the Queen of, why do it now when I can just do it tomorrow. And sometimes that’s okay – but if you do that everyday before you know it you haven’t done laundry in a week and you noticed when you ran out of underwear (oops).
Make a list of the things you have to get done on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and schedule out the best time to do them. AND STICK TO THAT SCHEDULE! Are you thinking, “Well how will I ever remember when to do all this stuff at the same time??”
That brings us to our next piece of advice…
USE AN AGENDA
I know what your thinking.. “Really? An agenda? You mean like the pen and paper old fashioned kind?” Yep. You’ll thank me later.
And let me just say, while a great back up, using your phone for a calendar is not the best most efficient way to go. Yes, you always have it with you. Yes, it is a wonderful, beautiful, god-sent device that makes our every day lives easier. But what it doesn’t do is allow yourself to get away from the crazy, busy, technological world that we live in.
I find it so much easier when I have a hard copy planner that I can sit down with and look at to plan out my week, birthdays, weekly meals, upcoming trips, etc. You never know when that cell phone attached at your hip is going to take a nose dive. With an agenda, as long as you remember to actually use it, it won’t ever “die” or “break”.
Now if your anything like me, make sure to get an agenda that you LOVE. You will be carrying it around for a year after all. And yes I know you think this sounds like a hassle, lugging around a big planner, but trust me, so worth it.
If you are looking for a planner and aren’t quite sure where to start, you can find the one that I use HERE. In that past I have also used the Favorited Kate Spade planner which you can find HERE or the gorgeous Lilly Pulitzer planner seen below.
There are all different kinds, shapes, colors, and sizes – so be sure to find one that suits you… and use it!
Try to form habits of when you do certain tasks. Like mentioned above, when talking about prioritizing, create habits of when you do laundry, meal prep, etc. Try to do these tasks on the same day/days every week to keep you on schedule. This will make it easier for you because not everything will pile up at once.
One of my best habits is – I always pick out my next day outfit the night before. This really helps me feel more put together in the mornings when getting ready. Not to mention it saves me about 5-10 minutes of wardrobe changing. Let’s be honest, I’m not a morning person and this little tip allows me an extra 10 minutes of sleep everyday. (WORTH IT.)
In utilizing this tip, when I say pick out your outfit, I mean lay out EVERYTHING. Clothes, socks, shoes, underwear, bra, anything you will need for this outfit. Decide what you want to wear and stick to it – this will make getting ready in the morning a breeze, not to mention you won’t be bummed out when you realize those black skinny jeans you really wanted to wear are actually still in the laundry that you were supposed to do yesterday…. oops.
Habits also include your animals. (This one’s for you my fur loving friends) So you have an animal, maybe even ten, make sure that they’re on a schedule too! Try to feed/walk them at the same time every day. There’s nothing worse than already being late for work and then remembering you still have to walk and feed your dog… (Yikes, sorry boss I’ll be another 15 minutes late). If you have a spouse, roommate, significant other that you live with make sure you are both aware of the schedule so you don’t end up feeding your animals multiple times. (Or even worse, not feeding because you thought your roommate did it). Create a schedule and keep the fur babies fed!
MEAL PLAN. MEAL PLAN. MEAL PLAN.
Now don’t confuse this with meal prepping which is when you precook all your meals so that you can just pop them in the microwave. Meal planning simply means sitting down and figuring out the weekly schedule. Deciding what nights you can cook/can’t cook/don’t want to cook and then choosing the meals you are going to make based off that. This way when you go to the grocery store you will have a plan, (Yes – make an actually grocery list), that you can stick to. Studies also show having a grocery list saves you money in the long run. (If you only buy what’s on the list that is.)
I like to sit down on Sundays and plan out all my meals for the week. I generally write my self a list and figure out which coupons I can use for that weeks shopping trip – and also use the sales to figure out the cheapest meals to make that week. (I will have a post coming at a later date to introduce you to the beauty that is couponing and bulk buying)
Now in meal planning be PRACTICAL. If you know that on Wednesday you have a meeting and won’t be home until around 7, don’t plan to make a labor intensive meal. Plan something quick and easy like home made pizza. (Another blog post for a later date!)
In your planning, DON’T FORGET BREAKFAST. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post about the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon, breakfast is the absolute most important meal of the day. So do you really want to feel organized and together? Make sure you don’t go through the entire morning starving. That will make you much less motivated. Check out my post on Over Night Oats for an easy go to breakfast that will help you stay organized and full.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running a marathon or running errands – breakfast will fuel you through it, allow you to think more clearly, and make you feel more energized.
ROOM TO BREATHE
While all these things are very important to help you find an organizational stride, the most important thing is to leave yourself room to breathe. Find something you enjoy doing and make sure you create time to do that. I enjoy blogging – this allows me to relieve any stress I may have had throughout my day and just write. So don’t forget to schedule some “me time”. This is very important, not only for your mental health, but also your physical health. Your body gets more exhausted than you realize.
I hope these tips and tricks will help you feel a little bit more together. I am no where near perfect but you’ll never get there with out trying! Just be the best you that you can be and strive for a better tomorrow.