I'm a neat freak by nature. I get very very stressed when I don't have all my ducks in a row. I really like to be organized. The trouble is, no matter how many organizational tutorials I happen to have published on Contributor Network or Socials Moms, I don't really know how to be organized (but go read my stuff anyway...).
This is where Pinterest and an old dresser door came in handy. I'm the sort of person who lives and breathes by to-do lists. On any given day, I have sticky notes all over my house. Without them I have no idea what needs to be done that day, what I need to buy at the store, or even what my kids' names are (ok, I'm not that bad - usually). My brain is just that scattered. However, sticky notes aren't a very efficient way to track my to-dos. They keep getting lost, or wet, or chewed on. What I needed was a sturdy, reusable to-do list that would follow me around the house and wouldn't disappear the second I turned my back.
Then I got my personal laminater in the mail. Pretty sure I'm obsessed. Keep an eye out for a review soon. And it gave me an idea. What if I made a laminated 8.5x11" to-do list that I could scribble all over with a dry erase marker and then wipe clean to start over the next day? I LOVE IT! I rushed to my Pinterest boards and came up with this amazing organizing site. I printed out her personal daily docket (trying to customize just made my head hurt) and it's been working like a charm!! It breaks down the daily chores into tiny little bite-size tasks, but also leaves room to write down the incidentals of the day (like meal plans, blog ideas, ministry projects) and even has a slot to track your working out and water intake. The site also offers shopping lists, chore charts, cleaning lists (daily/weekly and monthly!) and more - all easily downloadable and printable. Amazing. My house has quickly gone from disaster area to relatively tidy. The sink is usually empty of dishes. The laundry has been broken down from 1 8-load marathon day to a manageable 1-load-a-day schedule. The floor gets swept, the counter tops are wiped, and we do a total 'reset' of the house (toys picked up, table cleared, etc) before nap time and before bedtime each night. I cannot tell you how much calmer I am living in a tidier house. The "stuff" and mess don't stress me out, so I have more energy to spend lovingly with my kids. No more cranky Mommy!
If you'd like to attack your to-dos from a slightly more Biblical but slightly less concise standpoint, this website has great weekly and daily planners (I also laminated this daily planner - but my marker is too fat for its slots :p).
In terms of the long-term organization of the house, I've found this site to be most helpful. It offers a 12 month downloadable calendar with super quick and simple tasks to complete each day of the year. Tasks can be as easy as "declutter a shelf" or "wipe down fridge" and if you keep on top of them, your house will stay tidy and organized year round! I think I can handle that. I tend to find myself thinking "oh man, I need to hire a sitter for a week so I can clean this house top to bottom" - but in just 15 minutes a day my house is already starting to shape up nicely. A Bowl Full of Lemons also offers a 21 day organizing challenge to help you tackle some of the most common clutter catchers in the house. Several of my friends have completed the challenge with great success.
As for the dresser door, well, take a look!
The dresser we bought (second hand) for our oldest had a weird hinged door on the front that we found useless and in-the-way. We removed it and it has been sitting around our house for years. I always thought "this might come in handy some day" but never knew what for. One day I found myself craving a pretty 'weekly planner' board for my kitchen - somewhere I could keep track of the week's menus and chores. I pulled out the dresser door with its lovely beadboard look, sanded and painted it, stuck on some adhesive dry-erase vinyl, and stenciled on some letters. Voila! Brand new weekly planner that sits right by my stove so I always know what to cook and what to clean/water/pay. Some day I'll get around to adding a verse to the top - someday...
So - that's been my journey thus far toward "getting it together" in 2012. I've always thought it was a hopeless battle because the changes I'd need to make to get organized seemed so HUGE. But with a couple of helpful tools and some tiny tweaks to my routine it's really been so much easier than I ever imagined.
I hope that some of these resources will be useful to you, too. And if you have any brilliant sites or tips to share, please feel free to leave a comment!