Okay, I know I’m not the only one who struggles feeling like they can’t keep up with life… between long hours of working, time hanging out with friends, trips to go on, responsibilities at home, and constantly being bombarded by hundreds of notifications. So how do keep things going smoothly without letting anything give too much? By implementing these simple habits, I can’t even tell you how much more organized and calm my life has been.
Organize Your Meals
I’m definitely still growing in this area, so I don’t have it down to a science, but I am making steps in the right direction and it’s making my life easier and cutting down on the time I spend grocery shopping and cooking. I don’t know why, but the kitchen is still kind of an intimidating place for me so I’ve tried to start slow. A great place to start is to make an “always stocked list” and list out the things you always like to have on hand. Next write down a few dishes that you enjoy often and the ingredients each recipe calls for. Now write down a couple of pre-prepared options you can get from your local supermarket for when the week gets a little too busy.
Every couple weeks try something new. Here’s my routine: ideally, I cook twice a week. I make enough food for a few days, then when I’ve finished it, I cook a second night. For breakfast and lunch, I eat fresh food. The kitchen is always stocked with my go-to items.
Give Everything a Place
Marie Kondo talks about this in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The clearest illustration of this is how she describes her daily routine. She comes home, takes off her jacket, hangs it up, changes clothes, puts her day’s clothes in the laundry, puts her shoes in the proper place, empties her purse and work bag, and hangs them up. Nothing about the tidiness of her home changed because she entered it. The way she describes it is almost romantic actually. You read it and you think how amazing would it feel if my life looked exactly like that? It would be so wonderful.
This one little section of the book is what changed everything for me. If everything down to your receipts and bobby pins had a specific place? That sounds like a happy life to me. So to some degree, I’ve started implementing this way of thinking. Every. Last. Thing. Must have a place. And when you start to think that way, you’ll really begin to find your freedom.
Pick Up After Yourself
Now if everything has a specific place, this part is easy, it just takes a little intention. For almost my whole life I’ve been terrible at this. Let me tell you, I’ll do it later is the number one enemy of a tidy home. The second I realized that, the easier it became. Every time I catch myself thinking I’ll do it later I stop myself and say, no, you can do this now. You have the time, so do it. Pick up as you go, — after you cook, after you change clothes. Every time the procrastinator in you starts to come out, shut it down.
Automate and Delegate What You Can
It’s hard to balance everything. Take advantage of automation and delegation to help you stay organized. Forgetful when it comes to bills? Set up autopay. Bad about saving? Download an app that will automate that for you. Same for investing. Don’t have time to cook? Try out a food delivery service. Hate cleaning? I do. Especially since I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to win the war against dog hair on my own. So what have I added to my wishlist? A robotic vacuum. You can set this thing on a schedule to vacuum every single day. All you have to do is make sure you clean out the little dirt bin. Thought about hiring a housekeeper? Do it! You’re getting some of your time back and supplying someone else with income. That’s a win-win. Some other ways I’ve automated tasks in my life? I have Willow’s dog food on auto-ship (Amazon Prime is a lifesaver), and I switched to an online pharmacy that pre-packages all of my medications and supplements according to when I need to take them during the day. It’s awesome! One less thing to worry about.
Do you ever get caught in a pinch with last minute plans? That was a problem I used to have pretty frequently. You schedule a meeting the day of, and as you’re leaving, you realize that your car’s on empty. You’re out and about and your friend needs a ride, but your car’s a mess. You have a friend drop by with five minute’s notice, and when you offer her a drink, you’re embarrassed that your fridge looks like it’s about to explode.
These situations inspired me to schedule certain chores on a daily or weekly basis. Every night, I round up any wandering cups or dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Then, I get all my things out of the living areas and spend a few minutes tidying my room. I take care of everything car related once a week, usually on Friday. I clean out out that doesn’t belong, gas up, and vacuum it out. Hearing wow your car is so clean is a good feeling. Saturday I wash my bedding. For the time being, I try to vacuum on Sundays — until I get my hands on one of those robotic vacuums. Monday I clean out the fridge before I take out the trash. Each task just takes a few minutes, and I get to really enjoy a clean tidy space.
Learn to Say No
The less you have, the easier it is to stay organized, right? Well the same thing goes for our schedules. I think a big part of the problem for a lot of people is our innate need to people please. Some of us say yes all the time. Whether that comes from a place of seeking acceptance or genuinely wanting to help other people, because of it, we feel way too busy and stretched thin. Say no. Say no to debt, say no to things you don’t really want to do, even say no to things you think you need every now and then. With a little distance, you might find you don’t actually need cable. Experiment. See the freedom you feel when you say no. You’ll have more time to say yes to the most important things.
For more tips on staying organized, check out How to Make the Most of Your Space.