Do you want to learn how to organize everything in your life and love it? I have been an organized freak my whole life, and not because I was trained that way. My mom was a single mom for years and did the best she could raising three daughters. Even after she remarried she was never really organized. First of all, she didn’t have a lot of stuff to organize. We grew up quite poor, although I didn’t realize we were poor until I was married for several years.
When my girls were young we had one dresser for all four of them. We had one toy shelf we built so they could put their toys away every night before going to bed. I hung hooks for them to learn to hang their jackets, coats or sweaters on when returning home from school or errands. I felt the need to help encourage them to put things in their place. They each had about five outfits. My grandkids have about 55 outfits each. Boy, has life changed. I have never seen so many clothes. They all trade with siblings and friends. It’s a great idea, but here again…I think they only wear about five outfits each! LOL! They organize everything in buckets.
Today I am going to share a few tips with you that might help you get organized a little more. If you have some ideas I can add to this post please share them. I learn a lot from my readers. You might be thinking “why is this food storage mom talking about being organized”. Well, let me explain why I think we must all be organized in some or all areas of our lives. Some areas are easier to organize than others. I am going to share some of my very own tips I have used for years to be organized and love it at the same time. As an example, if we organize our budgets for one we will have some money for food storage when we need it. This will become a way of life for you…..cut back and stay out of the stores. There are a few pointers below to get you started.
Before we get started talking about what we can do, gather some large clear bags for donating stuff to your local thrift store. You will need black bags for the stuff you do not need and is basically trash (stuff not worthy of donating). Grab a box for things you need to “think about” before deciding to donate them. Oh, and you might need to do it when the little ones are at school. Just giving you the heads up here. You will have everything organized in no time.
Organize Everything Relating To Your Bills:
Make folders with labels using titles like rent/lease/mortgage, car payments/repairs, utilities, banking, receipts, warranties, children’s files, medical files, insurance for cars, housing, etc. Everyone is going to have different files because we all have different stuff. I prefer all my payments be made by ACH (automatic deduction) so I never have to worry about bills being paid on time. When tax time comes around or you have questions on any bill…you know right where the answers are…in your files.
Organize Everything In Your Budget:
Take a piece of paper and on the left side write down your take home pay, or estimated pay if you are self-employed. Be sure and put your annual expenses divided by 12 so you don’t get caught without the money when the payments that are due once a year comes around. On the right side put your expenses, starting with monthly due date schedules for rent/mortgage/lease payment, car payment, savings account, church obligations, utilities, etc.
Let’s try an experiment. Take some envelopes and label them with specific things you pay for each month. Not things like your house and car payment, but things like the beauty salon, movies, haircuts, pizza, golf, etc. If you have LABELED envelopes with small bills you know that is what you budgeted for these things for the month. Remember to have other envelopes is for food, entertainment, soccer game fees, dance lessons, date night, etc. You will want a receipt when paying with cash of course. When the envelope is empty you are done for the month in that area. You have set the amount for lessons you have budgeted for so it will work immediately if you follow your budget. The first month might be hard because you don’t realize how some small dollars and cents add up over the course of a month. I suggest cash for a month or two just so you can see where the money goes and if you are realistic about what it costs to run the household each month. Most of us use a checking account to pay for things, and that’s a great way to manage funds. You can use an inexpensive program like Quick Books to track where funds are going if you take the time to break out each payment to the proper expense account. I’ve known people you act like there are still funds in their checking account since they still have blank checks to fill out. Not a good thing.
We just went to dinner at a friend’s house and they mentioned that their brother and his wife spent almost $3,000.00 a month eating at restaurants. If you think about it, they spend about $100.00 a day. Well, over 30 days that really adds up. They are both working and justify it because they are too tired to prepare meals. If they don’t pay off their house before they retire they may have to work for a very long time.
Organize Everything In Your Tax Returns:
Make a folder to incorporate W2’s, 1099’s, 1098’s, 1095-A, other income, last year’s tax returns, bank account numbers for the deposit of your refund, record of estimated tax payments made, itemized deductions, education expenses, child care expenses, business expenses and assets acquired, educator expenses, postage, charitable contributions, vehicles, homeowners/mortgage interest, IRA/retirement, moving expenses, alimony, child support, health care expenses, first time home buyer credit, last years tax prep fees, etc. It is much easier to collect and file these things as the year progresses rather than waiting until the end of the year. It’s good to do it while things are fresh on your mind. Don’t be bashful about calling your accountant if you have questions about what should be saved for future reference. It’s good to understand “why” you need this information since it may prompt you to set different priorities or make purchases at key times.
Organize Everything In Your Important Documents File:
Birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, concealed weapon permits, social security cards, church documents, school documents, graduation certificates, military documents, copies of debit or credit cards (front and back) are all documents that are critical have available on short notice, not only in case of emergency, but just to keep the daily flow of life’s decisions easier to make because you know where everything is. Keep these in a secure and safe place.
Organize Everything In Your Mail:
When you bring in your mail touch it once and only once. I stand by my recycling bucket and toss the items that I will not read or use. I have one stack for the shredding machine in our office. All my bills are online payments so I never need to worry about my bills being late. I prefer online statements to save on junk mail. Make sure your mail has a home for instance, the garbage, the recycling center and the bill center if you have your statements mailed to your house. Purge what is not necessary to keep. If you have a mail command center, it keeps your kitchen organized for the whole family. Keep a pencil/pen/highlighter container next to your center.
If you are too busy, make an INCOMING MAIL file. No more paper piles all over the counter. WooHoo!
Second, make a file for OUTGOING BILLS. You can fill out the check if not paid online and date the envelope when the bill is due to be paid and mailed.
Organize Everything In Your Food Storage:
Make a list of the foods you have stored. You can also make a list of items you need to replace if removed. I tend to buy at case lot sales. I move the old ones out and put the newer cans in the back. Rotate, then eat what you buy and store. Check out case lot sales. Buy a few #10 cans of dehydrated and freeze dried foods. Practice making meals without electricity. Make sure you have a great can opener.
Organize Everything In Your Emergency Preparedness Items:
I ordered the rolling shelving racks from Costco Online because we do not have a car big enough to haul anything home in our little car. They are 72 inches tall by 48 inches wide and 18 inches deep with extra heavy duty wheels with locks. They are not available in the stores, only online. I store all my preparedness items on several of these. One is for cooking items, one is for solar power, one is for cooking pans for outside, like Dutch Ovens. One is for all paper products for eating, etc. We have our 72 Hour Kits on a shelf, our C.E.R.T. bags on a shelf, and so on. I always know where everything is.
Organize Everything In Your Sewing-Craft-Quilt Area:
I hired my friend to come over and organize my sewing/craft/quilting area. I think she came for about four hours. It was the best money I ever spent. It is still organized to this day. It was kind of organized but with working I was getting behind on things. I called her because she does this professionally and her prices are very reasonable. She is a really fast organizing chick. It was so overwhelming to me and she walked me right through it with such ease.
Organize Everything In Your Wallet or Purse:
Pull everything out of your purse and toss what you don’t need. Use ziplock bags to organize your antibacterial soap, chapstick, tape measure, makeup, etc. It seems like I throw stuff in my bag that I don’t really need every day. I have a friend who carries the following items in her purse: nail clippers, mints, mirror, toothbrush and toothpaste, aspirin container, extra pair of socks, pen and sharpie, post it notes, Dramamine, diapers, extra underwear, lotions, band-aids, breath mints, coin purse with emergency small bills, etc. Of course, you can go to the dollar store and pick up some cute bags to use instead of baggies. I don’t carry all that stuff in mine. At least she can find things when needed.
Organize Everything In Your Cupboards:
I added additional shelves to my cupboards and pantry because they never seem to have enough shelves. You can tell builders don’t usually run a household. I did it myself with a saw and a drill. Some had the holes drilled, others did not. I did have the shelving cut at a local cabinet store because my car is too small to carry an eight-foot length of shelving.
Organize Everything In Your Closets
Make a schedule and say for the next 6 weeks all my closets will be organized, and stick to it. Ask a friend to come help you. They would gladly love the help at their house to do the same thing. Pull everything out of your closet. As you pull out the stuff, have three bags ready. Have one clear bag for donating and one black bag for trash. The other bag is a “maybe” bag where you put things you may keep or may donate. Make a pile to move stuff to another room before purging. Sort and purge is what it’s all about. Next wipe the shelves and then vacuum the floor. Now the closet is ready for you to put back the stuff you really need. Hang your clothes in sections. Short sleeves, long sleeves, pants, shorts, skirts, Levi’s, etc. Now look at the shoe pile. What shoes can you purge? Which ones can you donate? If you are really OCD like me put all the colors in the same area.
Organize Everything In Your Bedroom:
Make your bed as soon as you wake up. Every room needs a hamper for dirty laundry. Organize everything on your nightstands and dresser every day to keep on top of it. Think about getting baskets that match where you can store odds and ends if you have limited space on a dresser.
Organize Everything In Your Garage:
I am a clean garage addict, I swear. I can’t stand my garage to be messy. I can’t find things if things are not put back in their place. I have labels on everything. I even labeled the huge standing red metal tool chest my husband uses. It bugs me if I have to open 15 drawers to find some plier or a hammer. It is awesome for my husband as well. I like to organize everything in the garage. The vinyl lettering was for his Father’s Day gift one year. It was really for me, but he loves it!
Here’s the deal, look around your house and set a timer for 15 minutes a day. Promise yourself you will organize one closet today for 15 minutes. Tomorrow you will do another closet for 15 minutes. Remember the clear bags are for donating and the black bags are for the trash. You can do it! Once you learn how to organize everything in your life it will be more peaceful. Please remember it can take you months to organize everything. Take your time.