1.Clean Your Purse or Wallet!
Take out the receipts. Throw them where you keep receipts or in the trash if you can. Remove all the old rewards cards you'll never use. Get rid of expired coupons. When you get to the dusty bottom, dump the crumbs and dust bunnies into the trash. (Doesn't everyone have crumbs in their purse, or is that just me?)
2. Tackle Your DROP Zone
That spot where you drop your keys, the mail, the clutter - TACKLE IT. Sort the mail. Throw out the trash. File away the receipts. If you have an organized drop zone, maybe you don't have a mess to tidy. If you DON'T have an organized drop zone, how can you make one? Hooks for keys. A hanging mail holder. My favorite - a family command center. That way, at least all the paperwork is in one spot.
3. Clean the Counter Tops
I don't mean clean of clutter, although that helps, but clean of spills and crumbs. Make sure your counter tops are as clean and clutter-free as you can before bed. Waking up to a tidier kitchen can get the whole day started on a better note.
4. Create a Spot for Paper
You need a spot for all incoming paper. School notes, receipts, to do lists, mail, ALL OF IT. My solution that is working amazingly for us is The Sunday Basket. Click the link to learn more about the Sunday Basket method, but it is a great cheap way to get everything in one place. You just need to make sure you sort through it all and stay on top of it. It's a game changer. If it's not for you, it helps to have a box, drawer, file for all that miscellaneous paperwork until you can go through it later. It just helps to have a spot where everything goes.
5. Take Stuff With You When You Leave a Room
This is a big one that helps me stay a bit more on top of cleaning around the house - if there's something that doesn't belong in the room I'm in, I take it with me when I leave. Even if I don't put it away, it's that much closer to being put away and I didn't even do any extra work. When I go upstairs, I take a few toys the kids have snuck into the living area. When I go downstairs, I take the kitchen cloths that my husband folded in our room but didn't put away. When I go downstairs, I take the full hamper of dirty clothing even if I don't put it in the washer right away. It saves time later.
6. Have a Planner or a Calendar
I currently use both a Happy Planner and the Google calendar on my phone. All schedules, appointments and school reminders are in my phone. Anything that has a specific deadline or time. In my planner, I sometimes will write some of this same info so I know not to plan much for that specific day, but mostly it's a running list of things I need to do and what days that week I plan to do them.
7. Routines and Systems
If your life is chaos like mine has been, you NEED routines and systems. But you need to stick to them. My biggest challenge has been sticking to a chore/reward system with my older kids, and therefore not giving them enough responsibility. I've also found that having an after school routine for the kids (hang your stuff, empty your lunch bag, wash your hands, do one chore, etc) has helped immensely with having to repeat myself to get all this stuff done. It's printed on the fridge and now they almost always do it without a word. It doesn't need to be fancy - write a list by hand and put it on the fridge. There are so many routines and systems you can set up to help organize your life and make tasks easier, especially when children are involved.
8. Quick Tidy Before Relax
Some say do a quick tidy before bed but I KNOW once I sit on that couch to watch a little Netflix before bed that I won't want to do a thing afterwards. As soon as the kids are in bed, I do a super quick tidy. I make sure all dishes are either in the sink or dishwasher. There's no lingering trash in the kitchen. The backpacks and lunchbags are where they need to be for the morning. There are no toys to trip over at the bottom of the stairs. The little things.
9. Create a To-Do List the Night Before
I struggle with having too much to do, but not knowing what to do when I finally have the time to tackle something. One of the best tips I've ever heard about was listing a few 10 minute tasks. Things you can quickly do while the kids play, or while you're on hold with the cable company. Either way, listing what needs to be done the night before, has you ready to tackle it the next day without having to think about it.
10. Think About Your Goals
This sounds cheesy, but take a minute and THINK about your most cluttered area - how do you want it to look? Think about your goals for work - what do you want to accomplish? What's a routine you think would help your family? What's working? What's not? Make a mental plan then write it down.
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