What helps you stay organized? Whether it's a special coupon binder, calendar app or color-coded closet, we want to know all the little tricks and products that help keep your life organized. Please share a photo if you have one.
What is this word? Or. Gan. Ized. Never heard of it.
I'm one of those slightly neurotic people who have to be organized. I wouldn't say I'm OCD or anything, I can walk away if there are a few dishes in the sink and I'm just too tired to do them. I can't however stand to be disorganized and cluttered.
I came across the idea to do an organizational binder from Pinterest and took that idea and ran with it. I have to say I'm mildly obsessed with my binder. I have everything we could possibly need in it for any emergency or scary situation, and it has ALL of our super important documents in it. It is literally everything you could possibly need at your fingertips how could anyone resist? I use to have it lying around then Hubby pointed out that it has our bank account, s.s. numbers, and birth certificates in it and I was testing fate by leaving it out on the counter so now it's hidden but still within a moment's reach because I look at it at least once a day.
I have everything broken down into tabs:
1.Week at a Glance
2. Week of Meals
5.Family Yellow Pages
6.Important Family Documents
7.House & Home Documents
8.Banking and Bills
It really will put your mind at ease to get everything you could need together in one place. There is no stressing, or digging it's all there and you can feel accomplished and smug when you need to find a receipt and you know EXACTLY where it is. Visit my blog for a breakdown of the tab PLUS all of the free printables I use with it.
I have a color coded basket system I use to de-clutter the house. Each person gets their own basket, and we go room by room and pick up all the random odds and ends that don't belong (like books in the kitchen, toys in the living room, etc). Everyone is responsible for taking their own things to their room and putting it away. The best tip I can offer for organization in the house is delegation!
We also have chore chart checklists for each room. For instance, "Living Room" has dusting furniture, putting away movies and games, vacuuming etc. This way, the room is cleaned to Mom-Approved standards, nothing is "forgotten" or overlooked! I laminated the lists, so they can be used over and over!
We are super busy family and are always on the go after I pick the kids up from school. I have a son and daughter and their activities after school are very different and each of them has down time to complete their homework prior to getting home. This allows more family time once we get home!
I created a portable homework station that stays in the car so that we have everything at hand to get assignments completed while on the go! The homework station is filled with pens, pencils, papers, sticky notes, dictionary, thesaurus.... you get the idea! Everything has its place, including their class schedules, teacher contact information, and anything else that might be needed! It is a true lifesaver for this mom who lives in her car after 2pm!!
I am a huge fan of baskets, totes, storage bins, etc. I make labels for them so the kids know what belongs in each basket. I also color coordinate, pink for my little girl and blue for my son! I use shelves to store the baskets on. I even have a shelf in my laundry room with labels on each bin so the kids can learn responsibility by putting their own clean clothes away. I have lost the battle on their drawer organization. Pick your battles, I do not have to look at them everyday so therefore I am able to keep my cool on this one!
I'm an app-aholic. I'm addicted to apps. Evernote is one of my faves.
I have a 3 ring coupon binder that helps keep all of my coupons organized. I add coupons as they come in and organize them on the 1st of the month to remove expired ones. I also have a separate binder where I keep sale papers and printed coupons that I may have not had a chance to clip.
When it comes to budgeting and paying bills on time, I am VERY old-fashioned. I have a notebook where I keep handwritten checklists with dues dates. As I pay each bill, I place a checkmark in the appropriate box. It sounds like an ancient approach, but it works for me - us. I've tried software and online apps, but I prefer the pen and paper route for clarity and efficiency.
MY main go to strategy for organizing, is Sort, Catagorize, and Contain. I LOVE containers, bins, baskets, and pails of all shapes and sizes. I will use them to hold EVERYTHING from desk supplies, to make up, kids toys, toothbrushes, you name it!! I find most of my containers at the DOLLAR store and re to REPURPOSE containers from food products and other items already in the home.
The most important thing moms can do to stay organized is take their calendering system online. iCal, Outlook or Google Calender work great for not only putting your calender but also creating calenders for your kids - and then displaying them all in one place. You can even send out event invites to family members - and it will show up on their calender. And when you have tweens/teens - you can help them set up their calender online so they can start to manage it on their own.
I've been using a home binder for several years now and it really does help! I have to re-vamp my folders periodically, but the bones of it have stayed essentially the same because I use my clutter as a guide for what types of things need to be stored or kept at my finger tips
It's called my iPhone!!! I'd be lost without it.
My date book/calendar and my iPhone. Without both of these to keep me on schedule and keep me from forgetting an appointment I'd be lost--and LATE!
cozi.com it's a free online calendar (you can pay if you want the ads removed, but they are ok.) You can color code each person or activity AND it will send emails to designated person(s). I always have appointments emailed to myself and hubby a week to two weeks in advance. LOVE it. You can set reminders for paying bills, birthdays, appointments etc.
I have a TON of apps on my phone that have been very helpful in my saving money process, as well as parenting. My Sweet Pea was always at the low range in weight and I was constantly monitoring it while I was breastfeeding and I had an app for that. :)
I have MC app on my phone to keep track of my menstrual cycles because for the LIFE of me I can never remember when I go to the doctor PLUS it gives you a guesstimate to let you know when you are ovulating, I have the Gerber app (now the Toddler 2+) so I can keep up with Sweet Pea weight plus it will send you a reminder to take a photo everyday, and then I had an app when I was breastfeeding that help me keep up with Sweet Pea's diapers so I could make sure that she was getting enough milk.
I have a variety of apps to help with my weightloss journey including my fitness pal which I LOVE.
But I have posted about the apps I think are handy fr frugal moms.
I am a chronic list writer! I have a list going everywhere. The kitchen counter, my iphone, calender on the desk, calender on my phone and computer. We have a whiteboard and chalkboard in the kitchen and I always have a post it in my pocket!!
I have To Do Lists and worksheets for everything.
I have ADHD and I have four active kiddos. I don't delude myself into thinking that I can get organized any more. I still make attempts here and there, but "getting organized" is just too stressful for me. I reprioritized and realized that I just need to be able to function and keep up with daily tasks, which seem to fall into two categories: appointments and feeding time.
I keep two calendars. One hangs in my kitchen and the other is with Cozi. I keep both calendars up-to-date and make it a policy to look at it at least twice a day. I have a pencil-only policy on my wall calendar because plans change so frequently at my house. I usually interact with Cozi through an app I have on my tablet.
I synced my Cozi to-do list with FlyLady, so if I should decide to accept one of her missions, it's already pre-loaded in the app and I don't even have to use the computer or check my email to get it. For those of you willing to relinquish control, FlyLady is a great resource to get your house in order and keep it that way.
Cozi also has a great menu-planning feature available online. I can plan my meals and the ingredients and I can easily add them to my shopping list. Also, I keep a perpetual shopping list on my Cozi, so I'm not constantly adding and deleting things. I just have to check or uncheck them. This helps me streamline my food purchases and keep my grocery budget to a minimum.
These things are the backbone of my home-organization. I'm not super organized--I still have to dig for spices and occasionally misplace an important piece of paper and have to hunt for it--but maintaining these two things makes my distracted, flaky life manageable so I'm not dropping every ball or stressing out about our busy lives.
Staying organized is an ongoing process. It cannot be achieved in a day. Being a working mom of a toddler and a husband who travels 100%, life can be chaotic in a heartbeat. I take extra 5-10 minutes every night to tackle a small organizing task so that nothing becomes a huge burden down the road.
As a family, we stay organized by making sure we are cleaning up any messes we create immediately. I started training my 18 months old very early about what goes on the trash, where her toys need to be at the end of the day and helping her clean up any clutters that she creates. I also create lists; be it a shopping list or a todo list through out the week so that nothing skips my mind.
For social get togethers, daughter activities, doctor appointments, etc. we use calendar apps to ensure a work meeting or something else is not going to conflict the schedule.
Staying organized is not a one time task. Someone cannot organize a closet, or a binder once and not strive to keep it up on a timely fashion. Also, there is not a cookie cutter solution for all. Each individual and family will need to work together to find out what works for them and their family.
Large families require a variety of organizational systems. In our home I use a number of different approaches to keep everyone on task, organized, and on schedule. I use the calendar on my phone to schedule all of our appointments, I use a Neat device to scan and organize the mounds of paperwork that our homeschool and home business generates, and I maintain a home binder system for all of the important paperwork that I need at my finger tips. Every family and personality will work best with something different but this is what works for myself and my family.
I am self employed, a wife, a mom of two including a brand new 3 weeks old baby, and a blog to manage staying organized isn't easy but its a must. First of all I manage my whole life using Outlook - I segment and color code each activity. Outlook helps me to keep track of all my personal events, side by side with my business events, from appointments, to chores/tasks, to webinars, to my blog's editorial calendar, to emails.
The key is to tackle the time pending activities first, use time blocks, and if you work from home actually set a work schedule (ex 10am - 5pm). I even type my email responses and schedule when I want the email sent, as for my mail I store them in a organizer and while watching TV I go through them.
Of course with a new baby, it means frequent feedings and diaper changes - so to keep from getting too burnt out I schedule some down time for my self (this is when daddy takes over).
I have To Do Lists and worksheets for everything.
I have a monthly list to make sure I get the big chores done and the workload spread out over the entire year. On my To Do List I also track categories of items that are on sale that month, so I know that if I need more towels January is a good month to get them on sale. You can see my January To Do List : http://organized31.blogspot.com/2013/01/january-to-do-list.html (February's To Do List is coming tomorrow).
We're in the military and move all the time. I've made 3 different worksheets I use to help us choose where to live and which house to select. You can see all 3 worksheets: http://organized31.blogspot.com/p/moving-tips.html
I like to keep all of my ziploc bags/ tin foil/ plastic wrap in a file folder holder, it keeps them perfectly neat and all in one place. Plus this way I don't have to take up a whole drawer in my kitchen with them.
It drives me nuts when the junk drawer in my kitchen gets absolutely out of control. However, I don’t want to spend money on a drawer organizer.
Here is a simple way to utilize those containers that luncheon meat comes in or extra plastic containers that might be missing lids.
Simply place like things together in containers in the drawer. Items like tape and glue go in one, batteries in another, and another box might contain twist ties or clips for chips.
This also helps me throw away trash or donate the things that I really don’t need any longer. And, it is a green way to organize and up-cycle.
I absolutely LOVE the Daily System products from Pottery Barn! I have a setup in my kitchen that is my lifesaver when it comes to organizing mail, keeping track of appointments and even making sure our keys are always in the same place. Best. product. ever.
Between the 6 of us, we're always going somewhere and need to take something with us. I wouldn't say we're super-organized, but we're getting there.
Calendar - I use cozi.com for an online calendar - everyone can access it, it sends reminders to the appropriate person's phone or email, its color-coded. And its easy to use. I also use a regular, old-school datebook that you actually write in, too.
Schedule - I make a spreadsheet of our standard activities and post that for general reference.
Misc. - I've started using my cell-phone to maintain some order in my head. The camera function is great for shopping, organizing, being inspired. Oh - and taking pictures of the kids!
More on my scheduling efforts - http://slackermomof4.blogspot.com/2012/08/keeping-track-of-family.html
I would not call myself the most organized person, definitely not a type A. But there is one area that I try to keep very organized- my coupons. The way to be most effective with your coupon savings strategy has to begin with being able to find the coupons in the first place! I utilize a binder system with baseball card sleeves. I also recently started to use a file box as well. If you find the right coupons organization, that works for you- the savings are so worth it. Check out this video that describes my system and implement pieces that work for you: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S2vbW0eDBw8
My kids love seeing what our weeks will be like with the Weekly Calendars that I made. They can see "Every Week", "This Week" and "Next Week"
I use a pencil case hanging from a key hook by the front door to store my son's EpiPens and other meds. Since they are with our keys, it makes it much less likely that we will leave without them, and we always know where they are when we are at home, in case of emergency.
The best tools are sometimes the simplest. We have a lot of travel and events that we coordinate around so everything for myself, my husband, my toddler and our nanny goes on one big calendar where you can see the whole month at once and it's kept centrally in the kitchen - that way, we all know where everyone is! Good old-fashioned paper but it works!
I love this app/resource Online grocery list management - http://www.grocerywiz.com is great free tool for managing your grocery list. Easily set up an online grocery list management system or save the list of items you buy regularly and print and keep on the fridge so you just have to highlight or mark the item you need. Never forget milk again!
I rely on a multitude of organizational techniques to keep our family of five on the right track. Here are some of my top tips for staying organized:
Calendar - I use the Cozi family calendar and app. I love how it's color coded for each family member and that I can download my kids' school calendars into it. Every member of the family can also get a text message reminder about appointments, practices, etc.
Closet - Our closets and drawers get cleaned out four times a year. I call it the quarterly closet cleanse. I use the Cash, Trash, Stash method that I invented. Things that we no longer wear or have grown out of go in the Cash box to be sold or donated. Items that are damaged or no longer wearable go in the Trash box. The Stash box is for everything else that we want to save (hand me downs) or put into storage. This keeps our closets current for each season and helps me fill in the gaps for our family's clothing needs.
Meal Planning/Grocery Shopping - Each Friday morning I sit down and plan our family's meals for the following week. I first plan our main dishes and then decide upon side dishes for each. Some of my favorite sites for meal ideas are www.eatingwell.com and of course, Pinterest. I also pull out any relevant coupons from my binder for that week's grocery shopping trip.
Bill Paying - I keep a spreadsheet with each month's bills broken down by week. On Friday morning's, I use our bank's online bill paying service to fire off all of our payments. All of our accounts are set up online so I never have to mail a check or worry about a payment being late.
Self-Care - Each day I write out my own personal schedule. In addition to my work, household and family responsibilities, I also schedule time in for my daily workout and time to get showered, dressed, put on makeup and fix my hair. Even though I work from home, it's important to me to feel put together and look nice, even if it's only for myself.
I found a great way to organize my cookie cutters...in the scrapbook section of the craft store. The 12x12 bins meant for holding scrapbook paper turn out to be absolutely perfect for my cookie cutters. AND they're fabulous for storing/stacking keepsakes from each school year. I buy one for each of my girls each year, label with the date, teacher, and school, and stow away keepsakes from the school year as the treasures come home. It's compact, stackable, and absolutely perfect for the purpose.
Staying organized is definitely a never-ending battle! To truly be organized, you must be vigilant each day and stay on top of things or else it's easy to get behind. I've included a post below with some tips for getting (and staying) organized in the new year!