If you’re always losing your sunnies every morning, yelling down the halls of the house looking for them, or perhaps guessing when the last time the bed sheets were changed and then thinking “meh, they’ll last another week”; this post is for you my dear internet friend.
And whilst some don’t like the process of being more organised, rest assured, everyone appreciates the outcome.
Being more organised doesn’t start with buying 50 new containers from Kmart. Or copying a pantry image to the letter from Pinterest.
And whilst the umbrella of organisation does cover having a ‘home’ for all of your stuff, in reality, being more organised is more about keeping on top of the living that goes on in the household.
Being organised is much more than simply putting stuff away. It’s all the ‘boring’ admin-y stuff that you do everyday. The stuff you kind of have to do as an adult human being.
Like getting out the front door for work and school. Keeping the household fed and watered, including yourself. Cleaning. Washing. Homework. Projects. Entertaining. Calling mum. You get it.
To start being more organised, you will need to identify the key tasks that are the most annoying and frustrate you. It could be something super simple (like ironing work shirts each week) or something that requires a fair bit of effort (like cleaning the whole bathroom).
Once you have identified a few key tasks that bug the living daylights out of you, your job is now to create a system that does the thinking for you.
Create systems that think for you (put your home on auto-pilot)
Systems take the decision-making and guessing out of tasks as you simply follow the steps, rather than either an internal or verbal debate about what should be done. It’s effectively putting your brain and your home on auto-pilot (the next book I am working on!). It means less complaining about stuff never getting done or tasks only being half-done.
Creating little systems that do the work for you will cut through the mental workload.
To create a system is fairly easy. You lay out the steps, checklist style, and get cracking.
To tweak and find what works for your home is the harder bit, although it’s not rocket science.
Creating systems that work for your home is really something only you will know how to do.
Here are two examples of systems to cut through the mental workload. I have chosen these two specific examples as I have never met anyone who actually enjoys these two below tasks!
- System for changing bed linen
- Agree to strip/wash and make the beds every Sunday
- If you can’t do Sunday that week, do Saturday or Monday
- Agree what gets washed each week (Just sheets? Doona covers?)
- The whole household will eventually get used to the beds being changed every Sunday
- Whoever is home pitches in to help strip/make the beds together
- No complaining allowed as you will have to do it next week, and the week after etc
- Know how many loads you need to wash and pop on a timer accordingly, so you can process and dry that day
- Everyone gets snuggly clean sheets every Sunday night
- What better way to start the week?
- System for cleaning the bathroom
- Define what ‘cleaning the basin’ vs. ‘scrubbing the shower’ vs. ‘cleaning the whole bathroom’ means for your home. You will need them at different times.
- Agree how to clean (eg. scrub, vacuum, mop)
- Define when is “too dirty” or agree a schedule for cleaning. This is when you dive in and clean it. Glass looking a bit cloudy? Pink mould showing? Guests coming to stay? Or will we clean every 2nd Monday?
- You need to decide and agree with the other humans under your roof
- No passive comments that “it never gets cleaned” if the criteria isn’t clear enough (tweak as you need)
Teach the others in your household how they work (true 101 teaching and not assuming or skipping steps) and your life will automatically have more flow.
Test out systems that are tailored for YOU
There’s no point agreeing to clean the house every Saturday morning if you know you love your sleep-ins or are rarely home. You can always start somewhere, but if you are simply ending up being constantly frustrated by the planned systems never being completed, find a new way.
There is always a way! And if it was super easy, we would all be doing it.
And that’s not to say that the task will suddenly become more enjoyable or fun once you wrap a system around it, but it will mean that you have time to do it and you’re keeping on top of your home, rather than constantly feeling like nothing is getting done.
Tweak and adjust your systems
The biggest complaint I hear when it comes to trying to be more organised is that “I have tried to be more organised in my home, but no one (even you!) follows it”.
I hear you.
To overcome this, look at how it could be tweaked to either make it easier, simpler, or explain to your home team why you have put this system in place.
And when I say simple: I mean basic, level-one simple. You can always build from there.
We all desire different levels of organisation so there will always be someone who wants more organisation and someone who doesn’t care as much. It is about meeting each other half-way and finding what works for everyone.
To do so takes time, baby steps and observation.
Something as simple as having a wash basket without a lid means that the washing actually ends up in there. Sure, it may be hanging off the sides, but it’s better than the floor. Or having one large toy basket that just gets tipped out each day, rather than 12 little organised ones that are always out.
Choose your battles.
It’s also critical to acknowledge if a system isn’t working, to take a step back and see what’s changed. Work hours increased? Kids started school? Teenage growth hormones kicking in? Boss adding way too much stress?
I am all for 50/50 with the division of labour in the home. But rest assured that being part of a family means pitching in and helping out sometimes. Life happens and always changes. Being aware of when something not only isn’t working but may need a completely new approach – even for a month or two – and can save everyone’s nerves.
Once you have a system, the eye-rolls + complaints disappear
Well, almost. But once you know that every Sunday you do the bed sheets and will be instantly rewarded that night with fresh linens, the whole dragging feet and eye-rolling seems to taper off almost completely. Even for the most pessimistic among us.
I don’t know if it’s simply growing up #adulting, but having little systems means that there is a whole lot less arguing and finger pointing in the home. It’s more matter of fact “that’s what we agreed” or “how do you suggest we make it better?” than dealing with the empty, tired complaints.
So if you’re keen to get more organised, look at the stuff you do on the regular that is “boring”. Wrap a system around it so your brain goes into auto-pilot.
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