Inside: 50 simple ways to organise your life, starting today.
We live in a world where time is precious. Whether you work, stay home with the kids or do a mix of both, our days are full to the brim with thing after thing after thing to do. And the more we have to do, the more stressed we become and the less time we have to actually enjoy the life we are living.
For me, organisation is key. If my mind and my home are tidy, I am able to think clearly and get things done. I can then focus on the important things in life – my friends, family and myself. If living in lockdown has taught me anything, it is that people are what is most important, not stuff.
50 Ways to organise your life
If you don’t know how to be organised then hopefully the following ideas will help you get started. Some of the points involve making physical changes, but some are about making mental shifts to help you think differently.
Building new habits
- Make a list every day
Make yourself a list each morning (or even the night before) of all of the things you need to get done that day. Writing them all down relieves the pressure from your mind and stops you worrying that you might forget something.
I actually use bullet journaling to help me stay organised – it sets everything out in a way that lets me know exactly what needs doing, from booking appointments to washing my hair!
- Make a must-do list
If the above list is your master list for the day then you also need to have a must-do list for the day. These are your top 3 things that absolutely MUST get done. This helps you to focus and prevents you from putting them off for another day.
- Create a morning routine
This is a set of daily practices that you do as soon as you get up. For me, that is making my bed, wiping down the sink and putting a load of washing on among other things. The more things you can do on autopilot, the more time you free up in your mind. Take a look at my morning routine video to see what mine looks like.
- Do a load of washing every day
You know full well that if you leave it for a few days you end up with a clothes mountain. Stop it getting to that point by putting a load of washing on every single day. I promise you, you’ll see the bottom of your wash basket by the end of the week.
- Do a 15 minute tidy
Short on time? Set yourself a timer for 15 minutes and see how much you can get done. It is surprising how much you can achieve when you are up against a timer.
- Do a weekly meal plan
By making a plan of all of the meals you will eat as a family, not only do you stop any food waste but you make it much easier when it comes to doing the weekly shop. I regularly upload weekly shopping hauls with meal plans if you’d like to take a look.
- Make your bed
There is something about making your bed that really sets the tone for the day. Do it as soon as you get out of bed and it will kick start your morning. Plus, it is always nice to come to bed when it is nice and neat.
- Tidy as you go
Going upstairs? Take that pile of stuff up with you. Just finished breakfast? Take your bowl out and put it in the dishwasher straight away. The more you can do as you go about your day, the less is left for a big tidy up at the end.
- Plan outfits the night before
First thing in the morning can be a busy time, so get your clothes out the night before when you have more time to think about which pieces go well together.
- Write a gratitude list
One of the biggest things that puts a halt to our days is a feeling of getting nowhere. The overwhelm leaves us feeling down and this results in a lack of motivation. Gratitude journaling keeps your feeling positive, which in turn helps to keep you moving forwards each day.
Each day, write down 3-5 things that you are grateful for. And not big things like “I’m grateful for my house”, I mean little things like “I am grateful for my daughter holding my hand on the way to the park”.
- Unsubscribe from emails
How much time do you lose scrolling through your emails when half of them are junk? From now on, whenever you receive an email that you are no longer interested in, unsubscribe straight away. The more you can get into the habit the more control you will have over your inbox once again.
- Forget multi-tasking
It is a myth actually. By multi-tasking you actually split your focus, meaning nothing gets done to your best ability. Instead, focus on one thing at a time (using your must-do and to-do list as a focus) and it will mean you actually get more done each day.
- Clean out your fridge weekly
Not only will you end up with a nice clean fridge but it will mean you don’t buy unnecessary food when you are working through your meal plan.
- Delegate to the kids
You are not the only one who lives in your house, nor are you the only one who makes the mess. It is never too early to get the kids involved – check out my handy age-appropriate chores list to get you started.
- Say no.
This is a tough one. But just think of the time you’d save if you said no to all of the time-sucking events that you usually agreed to! Do it! Be brave!
- Clean as you go
I mentioned tidying as you go, but cleaning as you go is just as important. Made a mess making lunch? Wipe up the spills. Got toothpaste on the sink? Wipe it down straight away. Shower screen looking grubby? Wipe it down while you are in the shower.
- Leave plenty of time
Rushing around has to be the biggest stress-inducer. So block out longer than you need for each event so that you don’t need to rush between. Need to pick the kids up at 3? Plan to do the previous job until 2.30 – leaving you half an hour to get there. You don’t need to take the whole time but you won’t be rushing either.
- Get up early
Don’t grimace. Just think, you can get up before the kids and enjoy peace and quiet before madness descends. Take the time to do something for you or use it to get ahead on the daily chores.
- Visualise the day
It might sound a bit wacky but hear me out. If your mind can visualise what the day will bring then it will help you to actually achieve that goal. It is a bit like map reading – if you glance over your journey before you set off you’re more likely to have a successful trip than if you try and read it as you go.
- Prepare lunches the night before
If your kids need a packed lunch or you need to pack one for work, make them the night before and keep them in the fridge until morning. One less job to do when you’re trying to get the kids rallied.
- Wash up straight after dinner
As soon as you have eaten, put the plates into the sink or the dishwasher to be done immediately. No backlog, no piles on the side. Everything is kept neat and tidy.
Whether it is walking to and from school, going for a run or doing a home workout – move your body and lift your mood. The more you move the better you feel, the better you feel the more motivated you are to get stuff done.
- Fold laundry before bed
It is all too easy to swipe the laundry onto the floor at bedtime, but when will it ever get done? No, make the decision that you will put everything away before you slip under the covers. Your future self will thank you.
- 10 minute tidy at bedtime
Before you get the kids ready for bed, get into the habit of putting on some music and setting a timer for 10 minutes. Everyone helps to tidy up the downstairs so that it is neat and tidy for you as adults for the rest of the evening but also so that it is nice for the next day.
Good Practices to start
- Keep a weekly planner
Trying to remember appointments, after-school clubs and playdates is enough to send you crazy. Have a family planner where everyone is able to find it and keep a note of everyone’s plans. Look at it at the beginning of each week and each day as you write your to-do list. That way, nothing is ever forgotten – unless you forget to add it to the planner!
- Keep duvet sets in the matching pillowcase
If you have multiple sets, multiple sizes and just constantly lose parts of each then you need to start doing this. As soon as you have washed a set, fold up the sheet, the duvet cover and spare pillowcases and pop them all inside the matching case. It will keep everything together and also neat for stacking in storage until they are needed again.
- Set goals
I don’t mean small goals for the end of the week – those belong on your to-do lists. I mean big life goals. What is it that you want to achieve in your life? Have you done anything lately that is going to get you there? Sit down and think of 10 goals you would like to achieve. That could be this year, the next 5 years or in this lifetime. Now every single day I want you to write them down again. By writing them every single day you are hardwiring your brain into believing they can happen. You are 5x more likely to achieve them too because you will be motivated to become that person, today.
Watch my goal setting video here.
- Create a family control centre
A control centre is where the letters go, the forms from school, the party invitations, the shopping lists – everything that a family needs to stay organised. And yes, the planner goes there too.
- Have a place for everything
If you find that you are constantly tidying up and randomly shoving things places then it means you need to do one of two things; invest in some more storage or get rid of some of the stuff. I actually think the latter is the way forward – adding storage can just mean you hide away stuff that you don’t actually need. But sometimes, the right storage can mean your house stays tidier for longer.
- Do a weekly Power Hour
On one day a week, set yourself a timer and blast through all of the jobs that you normally put off. You might want to do the same jobs each week; changing beds, emptying bins, mopping floors etc… or you might want to dedicate the time to getting deeper jobs done like sorting through your wardrobe. Either way, that hour a week is an hour well spent!
Watch my power hour here!
- Have a bowl for your keys
Always losing your keys? That is because they don’t have a home. Remember – you need a place for everything! Add a pretty bowl to the hallway table or a hook by the door and you will soon get into the habit of placing them there when you return home.
- Do housework in zones
Breaking your house into zones helps you to focus your time better. If you know that week 1 means you are in zone 1, you can focus your energy in that space to get it looking tip top! Take a look at my cleaning method here.
- Declutter your entire house
It isn’t an easy job but it is well worth the effort. The more stuff surrounding you the worse you will feel. You won’t get on top of the housework as the house will be getting on top of you. You won’t be productive because you’ll feel suffocated. So, set aside half a day a week to sort through a cupboard, a drawer, a toy box… until every space in every room is done. You can see my decluttering journey here.
- Buy in the sales
Save yourself time and money by getting birthday gifts and Christmas gifts ahead of time while the sales are on. If you are super organised you can do this in the January sales. I know some people who buy and wrap all of the gifts which means they can enjoy a stress-free December!
- Keep a master shopping list
How many times have you forgotten to write something on your list or have to go back around the shop as you missed something in an aisle? Too many times! By having a master shopping list for your local supermarket you can save yourself so much time. Have a look at my master shopping list here.
- Take part in decluttering challenges
Sometimes you need outside input to get you motivated. Thankfully, there are always a tonne of free challenges running at any given time to help you. I regularly run them in my Decluttering Motherhood Facebook group – you are more than welcome to join the community.
- Know your limits
We might want to be superwoman but real life gets in the way of the cape! Don’t be hard on yourself if you forget something or don’t have the house looking like a showroom. None of us have it all together – trust me. Know what you are able to achieve each day and be proud of what you can get done whilst also looking after a family.
- Keep your car tidy
If you have kids then you know the struggle. You tidy it one day and the next it is full of wrappers and coats and toys and I don’t even know what else! And it is always so filthy. Cleaning out the car needs to be a weekly process and then that way it never builds up to be so bad.
- Declutter your apps
Our digital world is just as important as our physical world. We spend so much of our lives staring at our phone screens so we may as well make sure they are tidy. Do an app purge to get rid of any unused apps – you’ll free up visual space as well as some space on your phone’s memory!
- Keep your bag tidy
The amount of time wasted searching for my keys at the bottom of my bag full of receipts and mouldy breadsticks could be spent on so many other more interesting things! Again, once a week tip everything out and get rid of all the junk!
- Organise all drawers
It is very easy for a tidy drawer to become a junk drawer if you don’t organise everything inside. I like to use compartments to keep everything from becoming one big jumble and it stops me from shoving things in and ruining the harmony!
- Keep track of your finances
It is easy to sweep your finances under the carpet and pretend they don’t exist, isn’t it? But keeping track of your ins and outs really helps you to stay in control, stop yourself getting into debt and may help you to start a pot of savings.
- Automate everything
If you can automate menial tasks and those that are so regular that you know to expect them then you’re productivity in other areas will increase. So don’t waste time paying bills manually – save time by setting up direct debits.
- Create a household log book
Do you know when you bought your washing machine? Do you know the number for your insurance company? What’s the name of your plumber? What is your medical number? By creating yourself a home folder you will write down all of the important telephone numbers for your family business.
Here are the main things to note down:
- A list of emergency numbers, these being gas, electricity & water companies, insurance provider, bank, electrician, plumber, CORZGI-registered gas engineer, doctors, dentist, chemist, vets and local taxi company.
- Useful numbers eg. cinema, swimming pool.
- Vaccination renewal dates for pets
- Service & MoT dates
- Numbers for regular service people eg. window cleaner
- Inventory of appliances and their service numbers
- Utility companies
It is also worth spending a month or two making a note of all letters that come through your door. That way, should you ever move house you will know who to inform.
- One place for laundry
This is a divisive opinion but I don’t agree with having a wash basket for each person in the house. What ends up happening is you lose track of how much you actually have to do. By having a central basket you know exactly how much washing there is to do and you can keep on top of it with your load a day.
- Keep a birthday book
As soon as anyone tells you their birthday, make a note of it in a birthday book. Adding it to a diary means you need to transfer it each year and adding to your phone may mean you lose all of the information at some point. By having them all in a book you know they are safe and you can look at the month ahead to see who’s birthdays are coming up.
- Cleanse your wardrobe
So many clothes and nothing to wear. Apparently we wear 20% of our wardrobes 80% of the time. Is that true for you? Pull everything out of your wardrobe and look at each item in turn. Do it make you happy? Does it fit? Will you ever wear it again? Not only will you end up with a good pile of things to donate but you’ll rediscover some items of clothing that you’d forgotten all about! Bonus!
- Organise your clothes drawers
If you are familiar with Kon Mari then you will know that Marie recommends folding your clothes into neat squares that stand up. If you can follow this rule then you can fit each item of clothing in different compartments according to type. That way, all of your clothes in your drawers will be neatly stored away rather than merging into one big pile that you have to rummage through.
- Schedule appointments in advance
If possible, schedule them for the entire year. Hair appointments, car services, dental appointments – anything that regularly happens but organising them takes precious time.
- Make yourself a priority
You will never be organised and productive if you don’t look after yourself. Set aside time to do things just for you, whether that is reading a book, taking a bath or going for a long walk to clear your head. Look after your mind, look after your body and you will be able to take on anything.
I hope you find these useful. They are all of the things I have done over the last few years while trying to take control of my life again.
Let me know how you get on!