Get ready for winter – and the upcoming holidays – by throwing some thought (and hopefully only a little effort) into organizing a few things. I am a fan of the small projects that can make a big difference.
- Break it off in small chunks. You can hold your mouth open at the dentist while they scrape the gunk off your teeth for what seems like an eternity, so certainly you can devote 10 minutes a day solely to organizing. Set the timer and pick one thing to jump into.
- Put your money where you can find it. Invest in a money management computer program that allows you to budget, plan, pay bills, monitor transactions and see where you are spending your money.
- Two words, and neither one of them is “pile”. Put every single piece of paper into either the “read” or the “file” category (“file” could include “circular file” as well). Use your 10 minutes every few days to assign all papers to one of the two and make sure you have a storage system that works for you.
- Find a safe place for your “must contain at least one capital letter, one number and cannot include your name” information. The sticky note next to your computer does not constitute a safe place. LastPass and KeePass are examples of online storage solutions.
- The 4-1-1. Keep the family schedule on track with a central information station where everyone knows they can find the times, dates, phone numbers, etc. to know in a glance where everyone is and/or is supposed to be. White board, special calendar, shared calendar on the family’s smart phones. Just pick one you’ll use.
- Back it up. You don’t realize what a pain it is to lose something (or everything) stored on your computer, until it happens to you. Legal docs to pictures, back em up with online storage like SOS or Carbonite. There are more, so shop around.
- Keep no prisoners. Be honest with yourself. If you have a pile of “someday I’ll fit into these again” clothes, pitch em and free up the closet space. If you ever do get to that size again, treat yourself to some new clothes. Also anything that’s been sitting in there needing to have the hem fixed, the stain rewashed for the fifth time or since parachute pants were all the rage gets tossed.
- Date night. Spend some time in your medicine cabinet and your fridge. If the “use by” date has passed, pitch em.
- Thinning the herd. If a part of a matched set has lost its mate, send it out the door and on its way. This isn’t dorm life. No need to settle for the forlorn mismatched stuff anymore. Pillowcases, hand towels, sheets. It’s not shabby chic, it’s just shabby.
- Climbing the photo mountain. Organize your pictures on your computer. That could mean scanning old pre-digital photos or going through CDs or just rooting around in old folders. Break this project up in 15 minute increments of its own a couple of times a week or month. It could take awhile, especially if you’ve taken 37 million pictures of the most beautiful child in the world, like me.
Start now and by the time Thanksgiving arrives, you’ll be thankful for the extra space, the sense of accomplishment and the calm that comes from having things organized.