Creating Your Home Office Filing System (Life Organization File)

Creating Your Home Office Filing System (Life Organization File)

The Life Organization File: A step-by step guide to Creating Your Own Home Office Filing System

If you are anything like me, you have a million “notes to self,” and every once in a while, a little piece of paper can get lost in your shuffle. (Or let’s be honest – all the time.)

I have found a very simple system that can help even the most hopelessly unorganized amaze her friends and family with clever holiday ideas and on-time birthday greetings, (as well as getting the bills paid on time.)

The Life Organization File is based on the tickler file system. Here are the items you will need (most of which you probably have on hand):

 

 

Materials Needed for Your Home Office Filing System

 

How to Create Your Life Organization File

On each of the tabs of the 43 folders write one of the months of the year, (January – December) and, the days of the month (1-31) (Or you can download the label templates linked above to make it extra cute using Avery Labels #5160.)

Using your home calendar, write the names and important dates of events in your family that reoccur annually on the inside of the folder. For instance, the June folder in our house looks like this:
 
 

 
12 – Grandma Connie’s Birthday
25 – Our Wedding Anniversary
30 – Kimberly’s Birthday

For one-time events (graduations, baptisms) or holidays where the date changes annually (Father’s Day), write the information on a post-it note and place it on the inside of the folder along with the annual events.

 

How to Use Your Life Organization File (LOF) Home Office Filing System

Once your file is put together, the hardest part is over. Now all you have to do is begin
using it.
 

For Everyday Life

 
Paperwork Day
One day a week, I set aside some time to file any paperwork that needs to be filed. Say that my paperwork day is Monday and the next Monday is the 14th. Any paperwork that I need to file, pay or take care of goes in the file on the 14th. When Monday the 14th comes around, everything I need to file is right there in that folder. I also use that time to deal with the rest of my paperwork.

Suggestions:

  • Make your meal plans.
  • Make your grocery list.
  • Make your list of errands.
  • See what sales are coming up (because you put all your sales flyers in the 14th folder).

Kids’ Stuff
This is also the folder where I drop all the information the kids bring home from school. I would check any notices to see if I can (or must) take care of it immediately. If not, I drop it in the Monday folder.

Mail
I have a place in the kitchen where I put mail as soon as it comes in the door. But when it’s time to deal with the mail, I always do it with my recycle basket, calendar, and LOF right next to me. Dates get entered on the calendar, papers are recycled, and forms, bills and important paperwork are dropped into the LOF to be taken care of.

Coupons and Store Cash
Is there anything more frustrating carrying around Kohl’s Cash for a month, just to check the date and realized it expired yesterday? When I get a coupon or store cash that is valid at a later date, I drop it into the date it starts so I have the best chance of using it.

Projects
If I’m working on an ongoing project, when I finish up each afternoon, I will put it in the next day’s folder so it’s not cluttering up my desk and I’m sure to find it the next day.

To Dos
If I need to call the doctor’s office and it’s after hours, I will just drop a note into the next business day’s file as a reminder to do that as early in the day as possible.

Errands
If you have a regular day you run errands, put a post-it note on that day and drop in any coupons you plan on using. Plus, this is a great place to store your printed-out shopping list to be able to add to it.

 

For Special Occasions

 
About the 20th of each month, I pull next month’s folder and note upcoming birthdays and special events.

If you don’t have a card or a gift already for the event, you have at least a week to get that together. If you have been dropping in cards and gift ideas as they strike you throughout the year, you should have most of the work done in advance.

With your address book and stamps handy, address cards and notes and get them in the mail. (If the birthdays are later in the month, I just stick those cards in with my bills that need to be mailed about the same time.)

Here is the really great part. You know how you see a really great recipe for Christmas cookies, and it is January 15th? Clip out that recipe and drop it in your December file. It will be waiting for you next holiday season.

Have vacation plans for Thanksgiving? Place the tickets in the November file and you will be able to find them when it’s time to go.

Find the perfect Maxine card for your sister, but her birthday is still months away? Buy it now (saving you an emergency trip to buy a card!) and file it her birthday month’s folder.

See a great article on the net on flower pot painting and want to try it out when you visit your mom in May? Just drop it in the May folder and you will remember to take it with you. (And your mom will think you’re a genius!)

 

Some additional tips:

Once a year I go on a greeting card-buying spree. I buy cards that are “just right” for the people in my life, and some general ones to have on hand. When I get the cards home, I address them and stamp the envelopes, but do not sign them until I am ready to mail them. I want my greetings to be fresh and interesting.

This makes a great gift for an older family member who likes to send cards. Show them your file first to see if it would be something they would use. (Some of my relatives in their 90’s have better memories than I do and have no need for a file system!)

When I look through a catalog and see a gift idea, I rip it out and put it in the appropriate file. Even if I do not end up purchasing that exact item, it is nice to have ideas.

I also have a selection of thank-you, thinking of you, get well and a few sympathy cards on hand for last-minute notes.

The files are a great place to store directions to events such as weddings, and parties. You can even keep tickets to future events in the appropriate month’s file (instead of hanging out on the fridge for four months).

 

How to Keep Up Your Life Organization File

The most important part of this system (besides filing all your papers) is to check that day’s folder, every single day.

One of the tricks I played on myself when I was first trying to get used to using my LOF was to get four $5 Starbucks cards and have one of my kids randomly drop those cards throughout the 1-31 files. For four days a month, I got Starbucks just by checking my folders. $20 is a small price to pay for not being late with bills, remembering birthdays and generally killing it organizationally.

Set one day a week to do all your paperwork. If it is Monday, and this week Monday falls on the 14th then all that week, just drop any paperwork into the folder marked 14th. I will stick a giant Post-it on the Monday folder, so it’s easy to drop papers into for review. Once I’m done with that Monday, I will move the Post-it to the next Monday.

By using the Life Organizational File, you’ll be amazed at the amount of paperwork lying around your house that you can now organize and store in your files.

If you struggle with paperwork, this will solve 90% of your problem. Promise.

 

Tell me in the comments the biggest source of paper struggle in your home. I may feature your question in an upcoming post!

Declutter Before and After: Heather’s Story

Declutter Before and After: Heather’s Story

Get motivated to declutter YOUR home with this declutter before and after story.

Heather Prong started 2017 completely overwhelmed and knew she needed to simplify her life. She struggled with depression and felt like the walls were closing in on her. When she sat down to relax, she was filled with anxiety because all of the stuff around her. She saw a Facebook ad for the Clutter Free Lenten Bible study and ordered the book. Little did she know what was in store!

In the beginning Heather faithfully read and learned some strategies. Knowing she was not alone in the struggle against Clutter was a relief, and some of the shame and guilt slowly faded.

The turning point came on a March morning when she thought she didn’t have a lot of time to declutter before leaving for work, but decided to do something.

She started with the front room where she sat to watch TV.

I thought I’d just straighten the speaker and chair sitting right in front of me. It felt so good, so I kept going each day choosing small sections — a table, a shelf, a drawer — something I could compete in a small amount of time.”

Friends, this is what small wins look like! Can I get an “Amen!”?

 

A Strong Why Helps Clutter Go Bye-Bye

About a month into decluttering, when Heather had seen some success and had a bit of momentum, she and her husband got a call from family members who were moving back to the United States. They needed a place to live for a few months. She says, “I knew my ‘why’ and was able to pick up the pace so we could help out our family.” In Clutter Free, Kathi talks about the importance of connecting to your “why,” the dream or goal that motivates you to get rid of clutter.

Heather started in February, and by June she and her husband had cleared a ton of clutter out of the house and built a room in the basement for family to move in. That’s incredible progress, and a huge change from where she started. You can do this, friends!

Heather said, “We were also able to donate at least fifty boxes of things we weren’t using to some of our favorite charities, and honestly, I haven’t missed anything.”

Heather took a lot of before pictures to remind herself of how far she’d come, but this photo of her chair and speaker represents the moment she was able to overcome that feeling of too much stuff, and start the magic of consistent, small decluttering.

 

Declutter Before and After

declutter before and after

BEFORE

 

declutter before and after

AFTER

She says the process wasn’t always easy, “but I kept my love of helping others front and center to keep myself motivated and loved the encouragement from the Clutter Free Academy Facebook group.”

Heather has come a long way from where she began her journey to getting Clutter Free. She feels so grateful to have found Kathi and the Clutter Free Academy group, which celebrates her ongoing progress. “This year, I’m so much more relaxed and am enjoying some hobbies that I didn’t have as much time for when I was feeling so overwhelmed by stuff!”

What are you missing out on because Clutter is overwhelming you?

 

Check out more Clutter Free Success Stories HERE.

How to Stop Arguing About Clutter

How to Stop Arguing About Clutter

Learn how to stop arguing about clutter and enjoy a stronger marriage. 

My grandmother’s Norman Rockwell figurine is permanently placed on top of the piano. My father-in-law’s collection of watches will always fill a corner of Rob’s dresser drawer, dead batteries and all. We both hold on to keepsakes the other doesn’t value or understand.

Over our 25 years of cleaning, organizing, and shuffling possessions from one address to another, we’ve had our share of conflict. We don’t always see eye to eye on what to keep or purge from our house.

As we face this inevitable conflict, it can be positive or negative. On the up side, we can choose to value each other over our stuff. We can practice problem-solving as a team. We can open the door to sharing ideas and knowing one another better. And we can be challenged to be our best selves—listening, working, and putting each other first.

Yet conflict can also bring out the worst in our nature, stirring up anger and driving us apart. We’re not just fighting about material things, we’re fighting for our identity and sense of “home.” Before we can solve any dispute about what to save or throw, we have to eliminate the “clutter” keeping us from coming together.

 

How to Stop Arguing About Clutter

Here are five tips to clear the way to agreement and unity.

 

Kill the bunny.

When we start to tackle conflict, it’s tempting for the discussion to rabbit-trail into other issues and complaints, but it’s important to keep the main thing the main thing. Focus on the one keep-or-throw question at hand instead of trying to reinvent your entire relationship dynamic or five-year financial plan.

 

Play nice.

You might think your husband’s grade-school clay sculpture is stupid, but he’s not stupid. Your wife’s affection for vintage salt shakers does not compete for her affection for you. Keep insults, sarcasm, and criticism out of your conversation. Avoid remarks you know will push your partner’s buttons. It’s impossible to resolve a thing when you’re too mad or hurt to see straight. Attack the problem instead of each other.

 

Face forward.

Keep the past in the past. Dragging old mistakes and tensions into the now will push you farther apart. It will feed discouragement, stealing hope for tomorrow. Declare confidence in your relationship by pressing on to work it out. Cast a vision for a peaceful space you both can enjoy together. Give yourselves the gift of change you can look forward to.

 

Clear the decks.

Dedicate time to talk through your differences. Give yourselves the benefits of privacy, quiet, and energy. Don’t fight about sex in bed after midnight, argue over parenting while your little darlings can hear you in the next room, or wrangle out your budget in front of the car dealer. Don’t start sorting and cleaning when your garage sale starts in two hours! If your conversation becomes heated, show respect by taking time to step away and cool off. Do what’s needed to finish the hard work of resolving your issue.

 

Count the cost.

Is it more valuable to win the debate or win your loved one’s heart? Let go of your need to have the last word. Be willing to listen, compromise, and honor each other’s perspective. If you walk away feeling one of you lost and the other won, you both lost.

 

One of the greatest benefits of resolved conflict is the intimacy it can bring. You can celebrate your tenacious marriage. You experience a fresh sense of unity. You hold hope for the future, knowing you’re strong enough to overcome any battle. Let God use your conflict to deepen your love and commitment today so you can stop arguing about clutter.

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” (Philippians 2:1-2 NLT)

 

Giveaway

Win one of these beautiful gifts from Growing Home Together!

To Enter to Win:

Leave a comment below telling us one of your “prized” possessions that you’ve had trouble decluttering.

 

Giveaway Rules 

-One entry per household. A comment on THIS post only constitutes an entry.

-Prize includes one of the three items pictured above from Growing Home Together..

-Contest ends July 26, 2018.

-3 winners will be randomly selected from the comments on THIS post using third party software and will be notified by email.

-Prizes will be shipped by Growing Home Together.

 

Thank you to Growing Home Together for sponsoring this giveaway. Please see our disclosure policy for any questions.

 


Joanna Teigen and her husband Rob have celebrated 25 years of marriage and are loving life with five awesome kids, plus a beautiful daughter-in-law. They share an addiction to coffee, bookstores, and Christmas music. They’re a neat-freak married to a mess, an explorer to a homebody, and an introvert to a ‘people person.’ But they do agree that their vows are for always, children are a gift, and prayer is powerful. Over the years Rob and Joanna have lived in five states as they made their way to West Michigan. They look forward to meeting you at www.growinghometogether.com, supporting your pursuit of God and the hearts of your loved ones. They can’t wait to grow together with you.

Why Clutter Is Like Every Bad Boyfriend You Ever Had

Why Clutter Is Like Every Bad Boyfriend You Ever Had

 

My friend Sarah (not her real name,) is out there. “There” being the dating world. And after hearing about her adventures out there, it makes me doubly grateful for my husband Roger.

Because while Roger is one of the good guys, there are a whole lot of bad guys.

A whole lot.

Like the guys who told her, “Oh, I thought maybe you’d lose some weight since you took your profile picture.”

A whole lot of bad guys…

But as she was telling me some of the worst points about the guys she and her friends have dated, it started to feel oh so familiar.

“He’s never around when I need him.”

“He’s lazy. He just sits around. I never get to do what I want to do.”

 

Since writing my book Clutter Free, I’ve heard every complaint about clutter, but for the first time, I started to see the correlation between the things that women say about bad relationships and the clutter that is ruining their lives.

“I can never find anything when I need it.”

“I would be able to get so much more accomplished if I didn’t have to deal with so much clutter.”

 

And when we start to see our clutter in the light of a bad relationship – the need to break up with it becomes oh, so much clearer.

 

Clutter, wants to make sure you know that you’re not good enough for anything better.

That boyfriend discouraged you from going for your degree or getting a better job. “You don’t have enough time for me – what makes you think you’ll have time for that.” He kept you from dreaming about the better life you could have and wanted you to settle. Clutter does the same thing. It convinces you – YOU! – you bright, intelligent, passionate woman, that you can’t handle your life and that you should just settle.

 

Just like a bad boyfriend, your clutter is constantly jealous.

Clutter doesn’t want you going out – it wants you stuck at home, tending to it. Clutter is lazy, and wants you to do all the work.

 

Clutter is a liar.

Clutter calls you lazy even though your coworkers always tell you what a hard worker you are. Clutter tells you that you will never change. Clutter says you’re not creative, not smart, not passionate. Clutter lies to you every chance it gets.

 

Your friends and family hate it.

My mom hated my first boyfriend. Hated him. I spent less time with my family and my school friends, and started to change my personality to accommodate him. Clutter makes the same demands – isolating you and making you bend to its will.

 

So how do you break up with clutter?

Here are a couple places to start:

 

Get as far away as possible.

It’s so easy to revisit your clutter- putting it in a box to look at later. Putting it in the garage so it’s out of site, until you can turn around in the garage… Make a clean break from your clutter. Don’t just put the donations in the back of your car, drive straight to the donation station and dump that clutter (anything that would be useful to someone else, but is no longer taking care of you, that is.)

 

Refuse to let clutter come through the door.

The best place to stop clutter is in the store- don’t buy it in the first place. Know your clutter weakness areas – the Dollar Store, the office supply aisle at Target, thrift stores, antique malls – and make a plan with exactly what you’re coming home with.

 

Get some accountability.

Have you ever told a friend, “Ask me every day if I’ve called him!” Well it’s the same with clutter. Have a friend ask you what you brought home that day- or better yet – what you got rid of! Challenge each other to get rid of 100 things (and no fair checking out each other’s stash to see what you may want to bring home.) Get rid of it, once and for all and celebrate each other’s success!

 

I would love to hear your story of how you’ve broken up with some of your clutter- give us specifics – we need some hope from those of you who are living free!

 


 

Break up with Clutter in just 14 days! Get Kathi’s Kickstart to Clutter Free eCourse today and kick that clutter to the curb sister!

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Why Kickstart to Clutter Free?

  • Find peace in your home
  • Feel comfortable inviting people to your home again
  • Guaranteed results
  • Guaranteed results (money back guarantee!)

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How to Build Your Daily Routine: The Morning Edition

How to Build Your Daily Routine: The Morning Edition

I have one job in this post – to convince you that creating your daily routine is possible.

Even if habits are not your thing.

Even if you are not a morning person.

Trust me. This is possible.

We’ve all tried to create habits that would make us be more efficient, keep our homes clean and clutter free, and would get us out the door in the morning and into bed at a reasonable time.

Here is the first thing I want you to know: I am the least “routine” person you’ve ever met. My approach to each day was fresh and new (read random and chaotic). So, if I can do this, your daily routine is totally within reach.

The second thing I need you to know:  I have never been a morning person. My mom, when signing me up for kindergarten, told the teacher if I didn’t get into the “Late Birds” group, we would have to change schools. There would be no “Early Bird” class for little Kathi. She didn’t want to physically drag me out of bed every morning.

But as an adult, I realized that if I want to get stuff done in life, I need to get up before the rest of the world. (Or at least my kids.)

I really believe having a morning routine is one of the most powerful ways to not just change your day, but change your life, because we give ourselves more permission to go deeper in the morning than we do at any other time.

Having a morning routine means deciding in advance what you’re going to do, so you can spend your mental energy focusing on what’s really important for the day.

 

How to Create a Daily Routine for Mornings

Here are six steps to creating your morning daily routine.

 

Make a list of everything you do in the mornings.

Go into detail, and leave nothing out, no matter how small. Here’s an idea of some things you’ll want to include:

• Brushing teeth
• Showering
• Making breakfast
• Finding car keys
• Getting kids ready
• Quiet time
• Making coffee
• Putting on makeup
• Laundry
• Getting dressed
• Eating breakfast
• Packing your computer bag
• Making lunches

 

Evaluate your list. 

The next morning, if you remember things that aren’t on the list, write them down. I want you to get an accurate reflection of what you can accomplish and see where the stress is in the morning.

Are you a morning person? Awesome! Load up your mornings, but load it up with the most important stuff.

Are you a night owl? Do everything you can to prep the night before so you can get the rest you need. I will do a whole other blog post on having an evening routine, but the bottom line is…PREP, PREP, PREP.

If it’s not working, brainstorm ways to make it work. Maybe you need a longer prep list the night before, or you might even need to plan earlier in the week. Making a big pot of oats to heat up in the microwave or putting together your outfits for the week can make your mornings go more smoothly. I’m a big fan of a prep and plan day to set you up for success for the rest of the week.

 

Set Up a Staging Area

This is everything when you are trying to get out the door each morning. Staging is the act of having everything ready to go when you are. Putting everything by the door will save you tons of time and stress. You could even place a chair or table there for that purpose.

Items to place in your staging area:

  • Lunch boxes
  • Jackets
  • Keys
  • Computer Bag
  • Backpacks
  • Homework
  • School or work projects
  • Travel mug or water bottle
  • Cell phone
  • Dog Leash

You can even have a list of the things you need to take in that area so you are sure not to forget a thing.

 

Complete Tasks By Location 

This is one of those tiny tricks that will absolutely save your mornings.

As much as I need to get in the steps on my Fitbit, I was all over my house as I was getting ready in the morning. Going up and down the stairs a dozen times was taking up a huge chunk of my morning.

So now, I break up my morning by location.

When creating your daily routine, I want you to think about what rooms you use in the morning (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, upstairs, downstairs, etc.) and figure out all the things that need to be done in that room.

Kitchen:

  • Make breakfast
  • Make coffee
  • Pack lunches
  • Unload dishwasher
  • Eat breakfast
  • Have quiet time
  • Load dishwasher

Bedroom/Bathroom:

  • Shower
  • Dressed
  • Makeup
  • Sort laundry

Front Door:

  • Keys
  • Computer bag
  • Travel mug
  • Handbag
  • Cell phone

I’m a “go downstairs first thing” kinda girl, so I get all my kitchen stuff done, move to my bedroom, and then, if I’m leaving the house, move to the front door and prep to leave.

 

Time yourself to see how long things actually take.

We are time optimists.

We think it takes five minutes to put on makeup, but it really takes ten. Time yourself so you know where you can save time, and where to schedule more. You’ll have a realistic idea about how long your morning routine takes and reduce your stress level getting out the door.

 

Print out your list so it’s easy to follow.

Put it up in the kitchen, your bathroom, the bedroom, or wherever you’ll see it. Practice, practice, practice.

When I did this, I learned more efficient ways to get my list done faster. Since I normally eat oatmeal for breakfast, I got to where I could unload the dishwasher in the 3 minutes and 33 seconds it takes to cook in the microwave.

The first couple of weeks are discovery. After that, it’s execution.

 

Adjust as you go.

By sheer accident, I discovered that my oatmeal turns out just as good if I only cook it for 3 minutes, so I had to think of new strategies to unload the dishwasher 33 seconds faster.

Sometimes you’ll have to change your routine as circumstances change, like for a new job or school schedule. Keep adjusting your routine so that it continues to work for you.

One of the best things that will come out of this is you’ll continually be thinking about how to save time and make your daily routines more efficient. Here are some of my favorite tricks:

  • For the dishwasher, I learned that loading things in groups (plates, drinking glasses, knives, etc.) saves me time in unloading.
  • Set up your coffee the night before. I want to hug myself when I come downstairs and smell coffee.
  • I leave my walking shoes by the front door so when it’s time to exercise, I don’t need to go upstairs to get them.
  • I leave my computer charging downstairs so it’s ready to go in the morning (and fully charged.)
  • I make lunches the night before, and have bought these great salad containers so we can prep the night before (or even two nights before. They are that good.)
  • I have a hook in my bedroom where I hang the next day’s outfit.
  • I sleep in a cute pair of leggings, a tank top, and a sports bra, so I’m ready for exercise the next morning.

 

One More Tip

By the way, there’s one other thing that can keep us from a happy morning: Clutter! (You knew I had to go there on a Clutter Free Academy blog post.)

If you haven’t already joined our growing community on Facebook, click below to find an encouraging, shame-free place where you’ll get the support you need to get the clutter out of your house.

 

CLICK HERE TO JOIN NOW!

 

Peace is possible in the morning, I promise!

 

How to Not Lose Things: 7 Ways to Keep Track of Absolutely Everything

How to Not Lose Things: 7 Ways to Keep Track of Absolutely Everything

Learn 7 simple ways to not lose things so you can stay organized.

 

My contention for years was that I am powerful, I am amazing, and I can change the world – if only I could find my car keys.

I was a loser.

I would constantly lose things: keys, headphones, purse, phone, cash, important papers, and one time, a $900 check. It had slidden down the back of a desk and landed, upright, on a ledge against the wall, like a magic trick. (It was missing for months.)

After being late for lunch with my own daughter because I couldn’t find my car keys, it was time to take bold action. I researched how to stop losing stuff all the time and actually be a grown adult who could find things on the regular.

 

How to Not Lose Things

And now I share with you my best tips for how to get organized so you won’t lose things.

 

Minimize

You knew I was going to tell you to declutter at some point. Having less stuff means that you have less to keep track of, and you won’t lose things in your mess.

I had a friend who owned three sets of keys so she would always be able to find them when she needed them.

(What!?!)

The problem was, she could never find any of them. Ever.

So much better to have just one of what you need and not worry about having backups of backups (which, by the way, just cause more clutter).

 

Become Basic

For years, I was trying to come up with clever new systems to store my stuff so I wouldn’t lose things. I had a little drawer for my keys (so they would be out of sight and not mess up the look of my house) and a shoe rack behind my couch that you actually had to be a troop member of Cirque du Soleil if you wanted to be able to put your shoes away.

I would “stash and dash” my stuff when people were coming over to all my favorite hiding places.

The problem?

Things were so well hidden that I could never find them again. Two years later I’d be cleaning out a drawer in the coffee table and find the Bed Bath and Beyond gift card that I knew “I put somewhere.”

It’s time to stop living such an exciting life. Routine is the key so you stop losing things once and for all. You must have a place where you put your basic items every single day so they won’t go missing.

Here’s my list:

Keys: In a basket by the front door

Handbag: On the coat closet doorknob

Phone: Charging on my nightstand

Laptop: Charging on my office desk

Journal and pen: Under the coffee table

 

The beauty of being basic is that you eventually start to get uncomfortable if your stuff is not in the correct place, and that’s a great thing. You want to feel a bit of discomfort at things not being where they should be so you can stop losing things.

You know you’re hitting master-level organization when you pause a TV show and go put your keys away because that’s the only way you can truly relax.

 

Find the Perfect Containers

I have containers that are THE PLACE to store THE ONE THING.

Let me give you some examples:

  • The bookcase in my office: books I’m using for work and studying
  • The bookcase in my bedroom: my “fun” books (memoirs, fiction, journals)
  • The Rolodex in my bedroom: all of our gift cards
  • The desk in my kitchen: mail to be sorted
  • A labeled bucket in my laundry area: batteries
  • A shoe box on the top shelf of my closet: travel-sized toiletries and packing cubes
  • In a drawer by the front door: pet bags

 

Having a place for everything so that anyone in the family can tell you “That goes THERE” will go a long way to help find things when you need them.

 

Develop a Long-Term Storage System

Back in the 90’s I attended a seminar on how to keep track of all the things you put in long-term storage. There were binders and tabs and cross referencing.

My head exploded, and I decided that my method would be much more like “throw everything into boxes and pray we never need it again.”

That is, until I found the magic that is Duck Pack and Track Moving and Storage Labeling System.

What!?!

This is the best thing ever. Seriously. You guys? How have I never had this in my life before?

I fill up a box, put a label on it, scan the label with my phone, and then list the contents.

When I want to find my ski parka, I just type “ski parka” in the search function of the app and it tells me exactly what box it’s in and where that box is.

Magic. (And couldn’t we all use a little more magic in our lives?)

Check out my post Organize me Now! The Ultimate Storage Organization Guide and enter to win the Duck Pack and Track Gift Pack.

 

Make Your House Like a Giant Kindergarten Room

I believe in labeling absolutely everything.

Everything.

(OK, I don’t have a label on my label maker that says “Label Maker” but I’d lie if I said I wasn’t tempted.)

Why?

1. It helps you find your stuff.

2. It helps other people find their stuff.

 

When you have more than one person in your house, where people should put stuff away is obvious – to one of those people. (Trust me. As someone with two kids who combined households with someone else who had two kids, well, let’s just say the Battle of Waterloo was more peacefully negotiated than where to keep the Scotch Tape in the Hunter/Lipp household.)

Don’t be afraid to label where everything goes. Think like a kindergarten teacher. She wants the kids to be able to easily put away the books, games, puzzles and puppets at the end of the day.

Even though some of those kids can’t read, there are picture labels so that the kids know where everything goes. That way, it’s not one person (teacher/mom) who has the secret of where everything belongs and is ultimately responsible for putting everything away.

 

Make Technology Work for You

My Roomba is the best thing that’s happened to me since my husband proposed. I love Rover (our Roomba) more and more each day – and not just because I have lines in my carpet every morning when I wake up. Rover also forces me to pick up our living room each night to make a clear path to do its magic.

This means, the sneakers I kicked off? Go by the front door so I’m ready to walk the dog in the morning. My bag I threw by the front door? Gets put on the doorknob so I can actually find it the next day.

Being on a routine yourself — and having your tech on a routine — help greatly so you don’t forget anything. When I need to pack a lunch for the next day, I tell Alexa to remind me of it in the morning.

 

Create a Front Door Launch Pad

Having a space by the front door – a table, a chair, a basket – where you put everything you will need the next day – is the best trick I know to get out the door in the morning. I will put my coffee cup (so I don’t forget to fill it up), my computer bag, my purse, my sunglasses, my jacket everything on that table so I don’t forget anything.

The one thing I don’t put there?

My keys. I put those in the fridge.

Hear me out.

If I’m taking breakfast or lunch the next day, I’ll get it ready, and then I’ll put my keys on top of the lunch box. That way, I can’t forget my lunch. (I also do this with guests who are taking leftovers home – I’ll grab their keys and put them in the fridge on top of the leftovers they are taking – works every time.)

At your front door launch pad, you get bonus points if you have a charging station there so you can charge your phone, tablet and laptop overnight.

 

You can stop being a loser. Set up systems in your home that work for you so you can stop losing things (and your mind), again.