For all who follow our blog, it should be no surprise that I am the most organized sister of the three of us. I proudly accept this title and do my best to help Carrie and Katie develop organizational skills. And as we head into the new year, I want to help you, too! So check out my top tips, and let’s get organized together in the new year.
How to Get Started
Organization and I go way back to my childhood. My mom loves to tell the stories of how I lined up my shoes perfectly at the age of 2 or color coordinated my school books using highlighters, while my twin Katie threw toys, shoes, homework, and clothes everywhere. For some people, organization just comes naturally. For others, it’s very hard work.
Having said that, I do feel there are some basic organizational skills that anyone can work on to make life easier.
So today I want to share some basic organization skills that help keep my life less chaotic and more relaxed when I have some free time. Some of my tips may seem obvious. And some may only work for me. But just one small change and a little effort can make a huge difference to get yourself organized this year. Let’s get started!
1. Old School Planner
I am not going to lie. I get made fun of for this one on the regular. With iPhones, e-calendars, and all the technology at our fingertips, I still use a tangible old school planner.
Because I can see everything laid out in front of me more clearly. I review my planner on Sunday to see what my week looks like so I am not surprised by an upcoming meeting, due date, birthday party, or “to do” task.
This routine helps prevent “OMG, I forgot” freak out sessions and unnecessary stress. (Katie, take notes!)
2. Notes on Your Phone
I love this function on my iPhone. It’s most useful for storing usernames, passwords, and addresses. With all the online accounts, wireless networks, email accounts, and everything else, this tip makes it easier to have all the information stored in one place and easily accessible.
Use the same concept with addresses!
Remember, if you are going to have private information on your phone, make sure to use a security code. I recommend using your notepad to remember things like favorite restaurants, places, products, and recipes.
You can also keep your goals organized for the year this way too! I love looking back to see what resolutions I actually accomplished or to remember an old restaurant I wanted to revisit but forgot about.
I always have a random list sitting on my desk with things I need to do. I recommend keeping lists on your desk, in the laundry room, or on your refrigerator – in a place you always look, and where you can easily jot down notes.
Random thoughts always come to my mind throughout the day, and if I don’t write them down, I usually forget. My lists have solved that problem. My lists are mostly a backup to my weekly planner, but sometimes the lists are just more readily available.
Amazon has been the biggest game changer for me. I recommend everyone set themselves up with an Amazon Prime account.
My goal in life is to never have to run errands.
My sisters make fun of me because they think when I am not at work, I’m being a homebody. And they are right, so laugh away Katie and Carrie!
I order everything on Amazon – toilet paper, cleaning products, diapers, shampoo, wipes, sippy cups, makeup, presents…okay, you get the point. This tip has allowed me to not waste my time running to Target, Walgreens, or Home Depot, but rather spend that valuable time at the park with my family, on a play date, relaxing by watching TV or spending time with my husband, having lunch with a friend, or working out.
5. Plan Your Meals, and Make One Weekly Grocery Trip
This tip is another game changer for me. Years ago, I started meal planning for the week, and it significantly reduced my trips to the grocery store.
Even better if you can get your significant other to perform this chore!
My husband, Rob, has taken on this task and enjoys his weekend trips to the grocery store with Luke.
So make one master list on Sunday with meals and supplies for the week, and send your hubby to the store or order it for delivery. Pepperplate has been huge in organizing my weeknight meals, grocery lists, and preparing me for the week.
When you have children, you end up attending so many birthday parties every month. To keep the birthdays organized this year, immediately RSVP with an invitation, place the event in your planner, and order a gift on Amazon (I told you it’s my favorite website of all time!).
These tips guarantee you’ll be ahead of schedule and not running around for a birthday gift last minute. I also keep my house stocked with wrapping paper, cards, tape, and ribbons. I sometimes even have last minute gifts lying around.
One company I love and highly recommend is stickerkid.com. I have pre-ordered stickers ready to go on gifts that say “Happy Birthday! Love, Luke.” For family and friends’ birthdays and anniversaries, I use the app Birthday Alarm to remind me of the upcoming dates. The moment I get a notification of someone’s birthday, I order a gift and make sure it’s in my old school planner.
7. Morning Rush
The only tip I have to offer here is to prepare ahead of time! We prepare lunches and pack backpacks the night before school.
That preparation saves so much time in the morning.
I also try to wake up half an hour earlier than the kids so I can sit and have my cup of coffee, practice yoga, read, watch TV, and get my mind ready for the day. Giving yourself that time before your day begins helps you start on the right foot and puts you in a better state of mind.
8. Keep an Organized and Stocked House
I get made fun of a lot for this one. I buy things in bulk, and I LOVE it! Nothing bothers me more than going to get something and being out of it…ugh, I HATE THAT!
Amazon even has a program that automatically ships items monthly or bimonthly, which is helpful.
Another great tip is to keep your home organized so when you need something, you’re not spending a lot of time searching for it. I organize my drawers, garage, and laundry room every 6 months or so, usually after I spend 3 hours looking for a thermometer or some tape!
Getting organized for the new year will 100% save you a lot of frustration and stress.
9. Have a Backup Plan
As much as I would love it to be, life is not always an organized, perfectly laid out road map. Especially with kids, emergencies and last minute things always come up.
So I always have a backup plan in case of emergencies. Who will pick up the kids if I’m running behind at work? Or who will cover me at work if I need to duck out?
Planning for emergencies has been so helpful for me. Think of a list of people close to you who can help in a pinch. And don’t forget to thank them!!!
Final Thoughts on How to Get Organized in the New Year
Everyone has crazy busy lives, and we’re constantly trying to keep our heads above water. I do not have it all worked out – not by a long stretch. But I hope some of these tips on getting organized in the new year help to make things less stressful for you. The best moments in my life right now are spending time with my family and watching our children grow. I do not want those times to be clouded with stress and last-minute responsibility. I love hearing what others do to keep their lives in order, so please feel free to comment and offer your own wisdom and suggestions!