Does that feel like the truth at your house? Once you have your house picked up and organized, how do you keep it that way? Real life will inevitably break through your beautiful organizational system but there are a few things you can do everyday to keep your world organized.
#1. Put it away! When you are finished using something, immediately put it away where it belongs. Teach children this habit too. Your house will stay neater and more organized just by putting things away when you are finished with them, even if you don’t do anything else on this list!
#2. Open it! Get the mail everyday. Throw out the obvious junk and catalogs (who needs those when we can shop online?). Open anything left and sort it immediately into bills, filing, and trash. Put the bills away in your bill organizer, file the papers that need to be filed, and throw everything else away. This applies to “mail” from your kids’ school too. Go through their backpacks and folders everyday. Deal with things immediately. This will save time and fret later on because no one will be scrambling for a permission slip or wondering why you didn’t know today way Spirit Day.
#3. File regularly! You will come across a lot of papers that need to be filed, whether in memory boxes or your financial records. Deal with these regularly. Designate a place to put all those papers (we have a drawer on our landing strip but an inbox or basket will work as well). Then assign the chore of filing one day of the week on your weekly chore list (our day is Friday). Go through all the items to be filed and get them in their proper place once a week. This will cut down on the paper clutter. Also, anything that can be scanned and filed digitally should be. (See #4.)
#4. Digitize it! Kids produce an unbelievable amount of paper, from schoolwork to art projects. It is impossible to keep all that paper, so go digital. Take a picture or scan your kids great test score, report card, or drawing and save these memories digitally. You can fill up a USB drive or SD card and put that in your kids’ memory boxes. This way you keep the item without filling the house with paper! Use this method for much of your own paper filing too. Keep hard copies of receipts and tax records, but go digital with medical records, bank statements, bills, and insurance records. Many companies will even do this for you, sending you electronic bills and statements. Everyday as papers come in that can be digitized, scan then. This will take you less that 10 minutes a day and keep clutter under control.
#5. 10 minute tidy! Every night before bed have everyone do a 10 minute pick-up. This can include bedrooms and common rooms. Even small children can put their toys in the right bins. Older kids can help straighten kitchens and living rooms. Have everyone do a 10 minute pick-up blitz nightly to catch anything that has been left out during the day and to set out anything needed for the next morning. We have a family of 5, so for our 10 minutes we actually get 50 minutes of work. Think about how much straightening and cleaning you can do in 50 minutes! As you follow steps #1-4 you will find that this won’t even take you 10 minutes most nights.
What strategies do you follow as part of your daily routine to keep your house and family organized? Share your ideas in the comments!