Organizing Your Chaos Blog
Organizing Your Chaos Blog
If you didn't know it by now, I love to organize paper! My first job that I had in high school was in a business office. My job was something that most people didn't like...filing paper into filing cabinets. Yes, it wasn't exciting, but I didn't mind it at all. I liked putting the papers in date or alphabetical order. I didn't know then how much I like having a sense of order to my life. The simple act of organized paper can eliminate unnecessary stress and frustration.
Now, thirty years later, I am helping overwhelmed women gain peace and calm in their lives by organizing bins, boxes, and bags of paper that overwhelm not only our spaces, but our minds as well.
I've had the opportunity to work with Lisa Kelly Woodruff for over six years. Lisa owns Organize 365 and has created easy to follow solutions to organizing your home and your paper. Her new book the Paper Solution is being launched today!! You guys, THIS is the most comprehensive book on getting your paper organized! If you want to tackle your paper, this handbook is for you. :)
Did you know that there are two basic kinds of paper? Actionable and Reference. Lisa explains what to do with the two kinds of paper that you have. With easy step by step solutions, you can get out from under the paper mountain that threatens to bury you.
I've learned that as we get our paper organized, we begin to gain peace and calmness in our minds as well as our homes. The cost of living in an unorganized home can be high. It can cause family and emotional stress. I'm here to tell you that this can be changed! If you ready to get your paper organized, the Paper Solution is the place to begin!
As a Professional Organizer, I know that it's possible to find what you need in 3 minutes or less. It may take time, but it can be done. One step at a time.
Let's Do It Together!
We have all labeled ourselves. We identify as being a “night owl” or “early bird”, for example. Some people work best in the middle of the day. This is something that I know has helped me when I decide when I want to tackle something.
Our bodies are wired to function differently. Some people naturally jump out of bed early, eager to take on the day. They start their day full force and get a lot accomplished during the day and then are out of energy in the evening and “done.” Others need a lot of time to wake up and get moving. They need time to think about their day, and may like to wake up slowly with their favorite beverage. (Mine is tea!) And others are neither morning or night people. They accomplish a lot and focus best during the middle of the day. This is what is called your Prime Time. Your Prime Time is the best time of day for you to do focused work and use your mental energy for its greatest success.
Understanding your prime time will make a difference when you have things to do that need focused energy. For example, if I am working on paying the bills, I would not choose to do this in the evening or anytime after dinner. I will usually focus on this between 9 am - 2 pm. This is my Prime Time. This is the time that I can do my focused work and not become distracted - and my brain isn't fatigued! I choose to fold laundry in the evening while I am winding down and watching a recorded show on tv. Since it doesn’t take much brain power to fold the laundry, I do that late in the evening before bed.
You may be more of a night owl and gain your focused energy later in the evening. If this is you, then do the things that take less brain power when your kids are around and you’re managing your household tasks. You may like to do those focused energy tasks later at night when your family is asleep and the house is quiet.
When you look at the things that you need to do, I’m encouraging you to look at the things and decide if it takes more focused work or not. You may want to create two categories. The things that take more focused energy should be plugged into the time of day that you are at your peak. The things that don’t need a lot of brain power can be plugged into the time of day that your focused attention isn’t needed. This will eliminate frustration when you are going through your weekly tasks if you are matching the task with the energy needed.
Let’s Do it Together!
We all have things that we need to do that make our world go round. Everything from taking care of your family to what you do for work. How do you know what all you need to do? How do you remember where you need to be? With all the things that swirl around in our heads AND our responsibility to take care of our families, it’s no wonder we can get emotionally exhausted!
I have used a calendar for a long time. Raising a busy family of 8 has had its challenges. I knew that there would be no way under the sun that I could remember all the things that needed to happen in our family. So I’ve been using a paper calendar for years. This was the only way that I knew to make sure that we were at the right place at the right time. If it wasn’t written down, it wasn’t going to happen!
When the digital calendar became popular, I added it to my tool box. Adding the digital calendar (I use Google calendar) was extremely helpful because I was able to assign a color to each member of my family, and I could easily see who needed to be where. And, the bonus was that on my digital calendar I added the notification reminders. The “ding” gave me ample time to regroup and move on to the next activity.
As soon as something is scheduled, I add it to my digital calendar. If I’m at my desk, I use my computer; if I’m out, I add it to my phone. This has eliminated the need to keep the reminder cards for a doctor’s appointment, for example, or papers with dates on them. I have less paper piles and know where I need to be.
I use my paper calendar to see my week as a whole. This helps me see what pockets of time I have when I plan out my week using my Sunday Basket. I’ll never remember everything in my head, and I doubt that you will either. There aren’t any prizes being given out even if I do. :)
The tools I use to manage my family and my business are:
I would love to hear how I can help you. Feel free to email, I’m happy to support you!
Let’s Do it Together!
Do you feel like this?
This was me about six years ago. I kept telling myself, “I’ll clean my closet when I have time”. I was busy, tired, and overwhelmed. Managing our six kids, a business, and life. I knew that I had to STOP and take care of my closet. This had become a place where I tossed stuff until I had time to put it away. But, it didn’t happen. Not for a long time. I realized that I needed to take the time to declutter and organize.
I spent one whole day decluttering my closet. I sorted through my clothes and eliminated everything that I didn’t like, fit, or wear. Then, I took the things out of my closet that didn’t belong there. And finally, I looked at the way I had it organized and I rearranged the areas that needed it.
I felt AMAZING and RELIEVED after I was done. So many things that were in my closet went out the door; either to the trash, donation, or back to who it belonged to. The “less is more” phrase is so true! Less stuff = more freedom. Freedom from the things that don’t serve me. Freedom from the feelings of guilt I had because I “didn’t have time”. Freedom from the frustration I had when I couldn’t find something that I knew that I had.
Does your closet serve you well, or do you need to take a day and deep dive into your closet? I would encourage you to set aside a day to tackle your closet. Supplies that I suggest before you begin:
I’d love to see your before and after photos!
For more inspiration, The Ultimate Closet Design and Organizing Guide.
Let’s Do it Together!
The laundry will keep coming, no matter what is going on in the world today. The coronavirus season will either increase or decrease the laundry in your home. I say this because as our activities change during this season, you may have more time right now to focus on your laundry area.
Some people who are not going into their place of work and working remotely from home may not need to “get dressed for work” and could possibly reduce the amount of laundry that is created during the week. Others will discover an increase in their family’s laundry because more people are home.
Whatever your laundry situation is, if you need to work on your laundry area, this may be a good time to jump into this project! Begin by evaluating what your laundry area is being used for. Is it only a laundry area, or is it a multi-purpose area? Has it become a dumping ground for things because you’ve been “too busy” to slow down long enough to create easy to use systems and maintain them? This season of life that we are all looking at right now may be just what you need to make some changes in your laundry room!
Do you have an easy and functional way to corral the dirty laundry that needs to be washed? How do you manage the clean laundry? Who does the laundry - is it your or is it a family group effort? Can the laundry room be simplified?
Some people like to do all their laundry on one day of the week. If this is your preferred way, how do you contain it until it needs to get washed? We have bins in our laundry room that are designated by color or type. These are the bins that we use in our house: special (hand wash/hang dry), towels/sheets/blankets, colors, whites, and dark colors. Our family has used the same laundry baskets for 19 years! They just stay in the laundry room. The dirty laundry gets put into the correct basket, and when it is full, it gets washed. I know that a full laundry basket is one load.
Others like to do laundry throughout the week. I have done 1-2 loads of laundry every day for years when everyone lived at home. (This year we are down to 4 out of 8 people). There was no way under the sun that I could do it all in one day. Now I am able to do laundry just a few days a week. I prefer this method to the all in one day method because I can easily fold the laundry at the end of the day before I go to bed.
Once the laundry is done, it’s time to fold and put away. This is where a lot of people stop. They just don’t like to fold and put away laundry. This leads to piles of clean clothes that sit unfolded - getting wrinkles - and potentially getting mixed up with dirty clothes. I’ve seen this happen. Then there is so much more laundry to do when you don’t know what’s what.
Creating a simple system is key to making doing your laundry easy. Whoever folds the laundry in our home puts the clean clothes in each person’s assigned spot. Then, everyone picks up their clean laundry from the laundry room. It’s an easy delivery system for us.
Maybe you keep laundry baskets in each bedroom, and send them back with clean clothes. Perhaps your family members do their own laundry. If this is the case, assign each person their day of the week to do their laundry and put it away. My family members now do their own laundry, and I just keep up with the laundry for my husband and myself, sheets, and towels.
I'm encouraging you to use this season as an opportunity to dig into your laundry room and make changes that will help make it easy!
Figure out what works best for you, and I’d love to see what your laundry room looks like!
Let’s Do it Together!
How many times have we said “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time” as a reason or excuse for not taking care of household projects? How many times have we told ourselves “I’ll do ____ when I have time”? We are moving into a period of time that will allow you and me to dive into household projects. We will have time because the world as we know it is slowing down. This doesn’t mean that everything will come to a screeching halt. However, with the restrictions that are being imposed, we will be at home much more than we have been.
Eating out in restaurants, for example, has been eliminated in many states. (I do, however, encourage you to continue to order from your favorite restaurant via carry-out.) Not spending time with family and friends at sporting, music, theater, and social events frees up time that you would be away from home. You now are given the opportunity to use this time to focus on the various home projects that you have put on the back burner due to being “too busy”. Here are some ideas of what you can focus on while you are home.
Declutter, discard, and then organize. As you tackle this area, you will not only see visible results, you will feel the stress that the disorganization created fade away. I promise you will have a spring in your step!
Prioritize the above areas, and work your way around your home while you have the time! This may be the only time that you are encouraged to stay home! Kind of like a big “time out.” Embrace this opportunity to deep dive into your home spaces.
Imagine how you will feel when the restrictions are lifted and your home is organized. The relief of getting those projects done is priceless.
What area will you focus on first? Let’s encourage each other. :)
Let’s Do It Together!
I needed to get regular groceries, and with the coronavirus rearing its head, I also purchased some back up groceries and a few other supplies. This started the domino effect. I now needed to make some room for extra food and supplies. So, I started this week with my refrigerator.
After discarding food, I cleaned it out. It’s nice and shiny on the inside and out! I had some labels that needed to be re-done. They were coming off the shelves. Yes, I label my shelves!
I originally labeled my refrigerator at least 6 years ago after I’d “HAD IT” with the frequent complaints that my kids couldn’t find things or claimed that they weren’t in the fridge. Nine times out of ten, they were there. The people in the house didn’t want to take the time to look. I decided to label the shelves and drawers so that everything would have its “home” in the fridge.
I decided to label the shelves and drawers so that everything would have its “home” in the fridge.
I called my family to the kitchen and gave them a tour of the refrigerator. This is important when you organize any area of your home. The people who have access to the space need to know how you want to function. This also applied to our family refrigerator.
After they stopped laughing at me, yes, they did! I gave the tour, explained my expectations, and it was MAGIC! This revolutionized the hub of the kitchen.
As you may have more people home and food to manage while we are beginning this era of the coronavirus, you may want to take some time to empty your fridge and make it easier for your family to use by labeling it!
I’d love to see how you have organized your refrigerator. Share your photos- you may have just the idea that someone else is looking for!
Let’s Do it Together!
The idea of time management can sometimes sound overwhelming and technical. However, when we take the time to think about what needs to be done in our lives and plan when those things will get done, we will usually get most of the things done as well as having less mental strain in our brain!
Planning can be the key to not only getting things done, but also eliminating mental stress. I encourage people to take time each week to look at what activities are coming up, errands that need to be done, and things that need to be purchased. Look at your weekly schedule and determine when the best time will be to get these tasks done.
Can you make phone calls while you sit in the car line after school? Can you take care of several errands on one day? Can you delegate to someone else in your family? Answers to these questions before your week begins will surely allow you to rest easy knowing that these things are already planned. No more waiting until Friday to discover that you forgot to do something.
Another thing that I know has helped me is to have a Desk Day. On Desk Day I sit at my computer and get things done that are on the internet. I make phone calls, and even pay bills. Setting this time aside each week helps me to focus on the tasks at hand. I usually plan this at the beginning of the week. I would much rather get things finished at the beginning of my week instead of leaving them to the end of the week. I call this Front Loading my week. Since we don’t know what may happen that will derail our plans, the sooner things get done, the better!
The tool I use that has literally changed my life is the Sunday Basket. This system has changed how I look at all the things. I don’t worry about losing papers…or my mind! This weekly planning time allows me to enjoy my week, get it done, and eliminates me trying to remember all the things I have to do!
Enjoy 3 Tips to help you manage your daily schedule:
Happy New Year! We not only are embarking on a new year, but we are also moving into a new decade. I wonder what we will all be doing ten years from now! This new year is a time for us to dream. Dream about what we want our lives to look like. And in order for changes to happen, we have to take action, and this involves planning.
Have you thought about what you want to do this year as well as what you don't want to do? You can either look at 2020 as a year to try new things and see what works. This means that this year can be an adventure! In order for this adventure to go anywhere, what steps to you need to take to try new things?
I would love to hear what area of organization will make the most impact for you. Is it organizing your home, your paper, or your time? I would love to hear what you would like support with this year so you can take a new adventure. :)
Email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's to A New Adventure!
Let's Do It Together!
The calendar has turned, and November is here. This means full speed ahead into the holiday season! It might seem like its too early to start think about the holidays. A few tips to consider for the season.
Do you ever feel like you’re in the midst of holiday frenzy and you don’t know when you will get all the things done? The cooking, holiday meal planning, holiday shopping, gift wrapping, parties, and all the rest. Now is the time to make a plan so that you aren’t flying by the seat of your pants. Grab a warm drink and your calendar.
Prepare your calendar. At this point, there probably isn’t much added to November and
December, so this is the best time for you to “save the dates”. Pick days that you want to go
gift shopping, or cookie baking. Don’t try to squeeze it in. Create the time to make the
memory. Create the time to enjoy your family. If you choose dates now, you will not feel
This is a great time to ask your family what holiday traditions are important. What things are must-dos, and what things can go. There isn’t enough time to do everything. Ask your family members to choose the one thing that is most important to them. Make sure you create the time for those things to happen.
Prepare your winter wear! Before it gets too cold, make sure the winter coats, hats, gloves, and boots fit. If you have growing children, they will probably need a bigger size. Give away what doesn’t fit. This will save space in your closet and prepare someone else for the cold season.
Declutter. This is a great time! We all know that during the holiday season we can accumulate all kind of things. Make room so your space doesn’t become overwhelmed. If you’re not sure whether to keep or toss, put it in a bag and check the bag in January to see if you still need it.
Let's Do It Together!
I coach busy, tired, and overwhelmed women who struggle with "winning at work and losing at home". We work together to transform your life from chaotic to calm. De-cluttering your home, paper piles, and over-flowing schedule will you the confidence, time an energy to do what God created for you to do.
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