Ungiven certificates, stuffers never tucked into stockings, and other gifts hidden too well appear throughout the post-holiday season. We missed a few decorations when refilling the attic. Despite fervent shaking, the bulging junk drawers cannot hold one more replacement bulb. The chores we’ve put off loom together as one insurmountable task. Trinkets and trash multiply under the mounting piles of clutter, while the treasures we pursue giggle just out of reach. As January slips away, millions of Americans dig through impossible paper mountains to gather tax receipts. We swear next year will be different. Just as we declare our moment for organization has arrive, an alert rings to remind us of an urgent task. Shuffling to the door at the last minute, we return to the question most common to all who’ve experienced disorganization.
Where are my keys?
A more organized 2016 lies within reach for all of us. We don’t need to gape at the mountain of tasks. In fact, endeavoring to conquer everything at once will leave us in a frozen state we know all too well–overwhelmed. The path to our dreams begins with a single step, and small achievements propel us with the needed momentum to succeed. We’ll break our tips into doable sections, leaving two weeks between suggestion lists. This will offer time to try out the hacks and post comments to garner support or troubleshooting help.
So, let’s take on a few bite-sized objectives to improve our lifestyle efficiency. Let us know how these work for you, or if they needed adjustments. Together, we can make 2016 the most organized year ever. One little change at a time.
Here are the first five hacks toward conquering the chaos.
1. Become a basket case.
Instead of experiencing an emotional breakdown, use baskets to break down your clutter into types. Drop all incoming paperwork into decorative bins or baskets instead of piling it onto your catch-all spot. As you bring in mail or school papers, take one minute (or less) to sort them immediately into the trash can or appropriate container. Bills, memorabilia, coupons, home repair records, school information, etc. get thrown into a pretty basket. Only place things on the counter if you must respond to them within one day, such as a teacher reply form. I sort my bills by due date later. At first, just toss them into the respective bin.
2. Give yourself a clean start each day.
Take a few minutes tonight to bless yourself tomorrow. By cleaning the dishes, counters, and sinks before bed, you get to enjoy breakfast without feeling behind. Set clean-as-you-go rules for your household and be sure to enforce consequences for those who load you with their work. Children as young as four can place a cup in the dishwasher. Older kids need to learn how to live well with others, so don’t let the teaching opportunity slip by. A kitchen that stays under control doesn’t become a hub of chaos, but offers a warm gathering place for relationships.
3. Morning wipe-outs rock.
After skin care, use the cotton pad or washcloth for a three-second wipe of the bathroom sink and vanity. We face ourselves here at least twice a day, so keeping a minimum gleam in this space offers us a refreshing emotional boost. And when the weekly deep-clean arrives, it won’t feel as overwhelming.
4. Set your email to organize itself.
Identify tasks you repeat and look for ways to automate them. Many emails can automatically be sorted into folders. Set this up to save time during tax season and throughout the year when seeking information sent from school or employers.
5. Date yourself.
Schedule a brief planning date for yourself each week. Set aside thirty to forty minutes for the first few weeks. Once you get into a rhythm, planning can take as little as fifteen minutes. Five minutes to list each day’s tasks increases your day’s efficiency by more than five minutes. The same principle works on a larger scale when applied to the week.
I look forward to reading your comments regarding these tips or others you’ve tried. May your next two weeks launch you into an optimized 2016.