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Jodie
xox

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Five Ways to Get a Little More Organised

Over the past six months or so, I've really tried to get a little more organised at home.

Life is chaotic enough when small children are involved, so keeping a routine has been rather a challenge for this mum over the years!

However, I'm slowly but surely finding ways to get more on top of things. Here are five things I'm doing that are certainly helping, and that you can do too (if you're not already, that is)!

1. Deal with the incoming mail. Just inside my front door, I have a hall table. On that hall table, I have a small basket for incoming mail. Whenever I collect the mail, I throw it in there. That way, Hubby can see what has come in, and it's up to him to then move the mail to where he can find it. Once I open my mail, I either action it straight away, or diarise for it to be followed up.

Often, Hubby will open the mail while standing at the hall table. Underneath the hall table, I have another basket for paper recycling (we have further recycling bins in the kitchen). I put the basket there some time ago, because I found Hubby would open the mail then stack all the opened envelopes on the hall table. Messy! Hence the basket for those envelopes - as well as any brochures we receive in the mail that we don't want to go through. (The hall table is across from the bathroom, so I can throw the finished toilet rolls in there too!) Outgoing mail I simply place on the hall table, as it leaves the house pretty quickly.

2. Create folders for each family member. My friend, Jen, gave me this idea, and I noticed Nicole in her book, Planning with Kids, does a similar thing. I keep a folder for each family member. In each person's folder, I put any notes/bills that relate to that person: school notes, party invitations, class contact details, quotes for work around the home etc. It's really handy, because after I've returned a permission slip for, say, an excursion for one of the kids, I place the remainder of the note with all the details in to that child's folder and can refer to it later when the excursion happens. (In the past, I'd put it 'somewhere', and could never locate the darn thing and had to call Jen for details!) I keep the folders on my hall table in yet another basket (a big fan of the baskets!), together with a pen for signing those permission slips! The basket is easily removed and put away if we have guests and I don't want it sitting there. ;)

3. Create a 'Borrow Basket'. Yup. Yet another basket. This one sits adjacent to the hall table and we place anything borrowed in it. For example, the kids' library bags for school go in there, as do books borrowed from the local library. (If I have a lot of books, I simply lift the basket up and take it to the car. Easy.) If we borrow a DVD or book from someone, it lives in there too until we return it. It makes those mornings when the kids have library at school far more relaxing knowing where their library books are!

4. Draw up a cleaning routine. A while back, I read the book Speed Cleaning. The main thing I took from the book was a developing a Cleaning Schedule. I developed a schedule after the 4yo was born to help me keep on top of the cleaning, however it eventually fell by the wayside after he started moving. However, after I purchased my iPhone, I downloaded an app called HomeRoutine, which is ok, but I don't find it particularly useful for me yet. I think I prefer a hard copy piece of paper where I can view all days. Therefore, I have an A4 sheet of paper with my schedule printed on it that I have put up on the inside of the cupboard door above the fridge.

I allocate rooms for each day of the week (weekends are for outside)! On Monday, I allocate to clean the front porch, entry and hallway. On Tuesday, I clean the kitchen bench tops, floor etc and the bathrooms and so on until all rooms are covered. Then I have days allocated for washing. Tuesdays I do a white and dark wash, Wednesday an all colours wash, Thursday is towels and tea towels, Fridays is for sheets. Sundays I do a white and dark wash again, ready for the new school week. However, I often do washing most days. There's always something!

Even though I don't always follow my schedule completely, I at least have an idea of what I need to get done during the week. The idea is to break down the house over a period of a week to clean it gradually. It's a great idea if you're time poor, and of course, you can cater it to suit what days you have more time to clean in. I can't tell you how many times in the past I've gotten to Thursday night and thought, 'Oh no! I haven't washed the school shirts for formal wear day tomorrow!'

5. Create a register and folder for all paid household bills. I always remember Mum entering information about every bill she paid in to a red book she kept in a drawer in the kitchen. Just before the 9yr old was born, I started one of my own (which is also red)! Whenever I pay a bill, I register the date I paid the bill, the payee name, the amount paid, payment type, payment period and the receipt number for payment in to my book. That way, if Hubby asks, "Hey, when's the Home & Contents due, my gorgeous wife? (Ok, he might not add on that last bit.) How much did we pay last year?" I can find that information for him straight away.

I read somewhere once, that rather than have a folder in your filing cabinet for every single company you pay, (ie, electricity, gas, telephone), have a small expandable folder for such bills that you don't need to keep for a long period of time and can clean out regularly. In my folder, I keep my electricity, gas, water, council and telephone bills. It makes it really easy to locate the bills quickly.

I'm sure I'll have some more stuff to share with you at some stage, but there's five ways at least to get you started if you're looking for ways to get more organised.

Do you have any organisational tips to share?





Top image: We Heart It
Main post image: We Heart It

10 comments:

Kellie said...

Some great tips there! We have folders too, one each for our personal stuff (mobile bills, tax stuff, car + rego stuff etc) and one big red folder for joint stuff like our utilities, Foxtel, internet etc.
I write on each bill what we've paid and when, so it's easier to keep track and because I divide everything monthly its kept neat and tidy and I can throw it out at the start of every year.
As for the cleaning, well I have a whiteboard on the fridge that has our meal plan, shopping list, to-do's and reminders so I will leave myself a note each night reminding myself the bathroom needs cleaning (or whatever). That's as far as I've been able to get so far!

And oh how I wish we had room in our shoebox for a basket system *sigh!*
x

Gemma @ My Big Nutshell said...

I am loving your style!

Han & Moo said...

Loved this! Thanks so much for sharing! X

Susan @ Reading Upside Down said...

I'm inspired by your organisational excellence. Maybe I should get you to guest post on my new getting-myself-organised blog. :-)

Instead of individual folders for notes etc, I have a few plastic sleeve clipped to the side of a kitchen cupboard. One has all the ongoing school notes (canteen price lists etc), another has all the temporary notes (school excursion details, temporary changes to timetables etc). I clean through the temporary bundle once a week and the permanent one at the end of each term. Another sleeve has any notes about the kids that aren't to do with school.

Thea said...

And again...excellent tips! Thank you. :)

Wanderlust said...

Oh, these are great tips. I feel like I need a whole book of tips (pity Planning Queens book is not for sale over here). One thing that works well for me is keeping all our financial information in a database like Microsoft Money. I have checking accounts, auto loans, mortgage, investments, etc. I have a record of all payments going back years, can pull reports for taxes and can see my overall financial situation at a glance.

River said...

Quick question. How big is your hall? (all those baskets...)

I found the best thing thta helped me was "if you're finished with it, put it away". Along with clean as you go.
I had only two washing days even with four kids, day one was all clothes, day two was sheets and towels.
The kitchen was cleaned daily, floors vacuumed daily,(it's not such a chore if the dust etc isn't allowed to build up), surfaces "wet" dusted a couple of times a week. Flicking a feather duster around only rearranges the dust....
Kids were responsible for their own rooms, all books had to be on the shelf and toys in the basket before getting into bed.
I used to have one of those expanding file thingys, but since getting a computer, all records of bills and receipts are kept in "my documents". Utilities bills are received and paid online. anything else that has a b-pay or online payment option is also paid online wih a copy/paste action for the receipt.
Teach your oldest how to run the washing machine, dishwasher too if you have one. He might even find it fun to make patterns in the carpet wit the vacuum cleaner!

MaidInAustralia said...

These are great ideas. It's when I lose the folders or overfill the baskets that it all goes to hell!

MaidInAustralia said...

These are great ideas. It's when I lose the folders or overfill the baskets that it all goes to hell!

MultipleMum said...

I missed this post! So great Jodie! I like the 'mail' basket idea (ours is always getting lost in a pile somewhere) and the 'borrowed' basket especially. I use a 'household' folder rather than in individual one and it works a treat too. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas x