10 Tools That Fight Disorganization

August 30, 2010 | 254 Comments

Chronic disorganization can affect every aspect of your life. The wasted time and money caused by disorganization can leave you stressed and unhappy. Disorganization is a very unpleasant way of life, but not a way you can’t work to change. Using the following tools faithfully will get you well on your way to a happier and more organized lifestyle.

1. Calendar/Planner

Find a calendar that works for your family. It can show a day, a week, or a month at a time. Just make sure there’s enough room to include everyone’s activities, as well as birthdays and anniversaries. Everyone’s activities should be placed on the calendar as soon as they are scheduled. To save space you can use small stickers or abbreviations for things like doctor’s appointments (dr.), meetings (mtg.), anniversaries (ann.), etc. Just be consistent with your abbreviations to everyone knows what they mean. Your calendar can also be color-coded with each person having their activities and appointment in one color. If your schedule is in red and your spouse’s is in black, it much easier to glance at the calendar to quickly find your activities. This system is especially helpful as you add busy children’s schedules to the mix. It is important to check your calendar at least twice a day: once before bed to plan for the next day and once first thing in the morning to see what’s going on that day.

2. Notebook and Pen

Don’t try to keep all your thought in your head. You’re bound to forget them. Writing things down makes them more concrete and much harder to forget. A small notebook is a great place to write down your To Do List, Grocery and Errand Lists, or even just short notes about things you don’t want to forget. If you don’t like the idea of carrying a notebook around with you when you’re out and about, check your cell phone. Most cell phones have a program (often called Notepad) that allows you to type and save notes on the phone. The only downfall to this method is that it may not be as easy to you’re your shopping list off to someone else in the family. Whichever method you choose to use will give you the benefit of having all of your notes in one place which makes it much less likely for you to misplace important notes.

3. Laundry Basket

A laundry basket can be used for more than just carrying laundry. Take a laundry basket around to each room with you as you straighten up the house. Any items that do not belong in the room are placed in the basket to be removed. As you enter rooms for which your basket contains items, put them away. More decorative baskets can serve a similar function when placed at the top and bottom of a staircase. Items that are upstairs but belong downstairs (and vice versa) can be placed in the basket by the stairs. As you or another family member passes the basket on their way to the stairs, they can grab the items and return them to their proper places.

4. Box for Receipts

Your box can really be anything from a shoebox to an attractive photo box. Every time you buy something from the grocery store, department store, or small retail shop, put your receipt in the box (except for high-ticket items, which should be filed in your filing cabinet). By keeping all of your receipts in one place, it will be easy to find the one you need when something needs to be returned. Just remember to weed out the box periodically so it doesn’t get too full.

5. Timer

Keep everyone on schedule when getting ready in the morning. If bathroom time seems to be an issue, allot a certain amount of time per person. When the timer goes off, it’s time to switch. Young children (and some older ones) benefit from “racing the clock” for each morning task. Be sure the timer is set for an age-appropriate amount of time for each activity. They should then try to get dressed, etc. before the timer goes off. You can also benefit from using a timer while you work. Set the timer to go off every 15 minutes. If you’re still on task when the timer goes off, great! Reset the timer and keep working. If you’re off task, reset the timer and refocus yourself on the original task. A timer will also help you keep your breaks in check so your 10-minute break doesn’t inadvertently turn into a 20-minute break.

6. Garbage Can and Donation Box

Clutter often causes disorganization. Too much of anything can slow down your morning routine and cause things to be lost. Go through your items and get rid of unnecessary things by either throwing them away or placing them in a box to be donated to a local charity. As you come across things in your daily activities that you do not need immediately place them in either the trash or your donation box. A donation box can be stored under the bed or in the closet so you can add to it whenever you find something you don’t need. The items in the box should be donated on a monthly basis to ensure the box doesn’t get too full.

7. Label Maker

As you organize your house, label each box, shelf, and drawer. You and your family will be able to quickly find items that are needed. The labels will also rid your house of excuses like, ‘I don’t know where it goes.’

8. Bill Paying System

You can create your own system or use one like the Easy Bill Paying System. It should consist of some sort of filing system for unpaid bills and paid bill categories (utilities, auto payments, credit cards, etc.). You should also keep all of your necessary items for paying your bills (pen, envelopes, stamps, etc.) with this system. As soon as you receive a bill in the mail, place it in your bill paying system. Then on the same day each week (or every 2 weeks) sit down and pay all of your pending bills. After the bills are paid, place the bill summaries in the proper categories of your system so it’s simple to look up information when necessary.

9. Filing Cabinet

Your filing cabinet should contain both hanging file folders and manila file folders. Each hanging folder should be labeled with a general category such as Insurance, Bank Statement, Warranties, etc. Within those folders you may want sub-categories like health insurance, auto insurance, etc. These sub-categories should be labeled on manila folders that are placed within the hanging folders. File papers into the proper folder as you receive them and it will be easy to find them as needed.

10. Commitment

I know this isn’t a physical tool like the rest, but without a commitment you’re likely to fall back into your old disorganized ways. You have to commit to being less disorganized. Commit to using the tools daily. Commit to getting a system in place and giving it a try before making modifications so it works for your entire family. Finally get your family committed to the system as well. Without their support, even your best efforts to have an organized household will fail.

Source: www.GetOrganizedNow.com


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