Organising Tips



Let them know we can cope

  • Are you constantly losing things?
  • Do you have trouble remembering everything?
  • Does your life feel out of control?

Join the club! The majority of parents out there say that they do, too. Here are a few simple, life-changing suggestions that will help. Try them and you’ll feel clear and clean and better able to cope. Plus you’ll find you have more free time to spend with your kids.

Here are my top tips for keeping your life and home in order.

Make sure everything has a home and donate what you don’t want

When it comes to finding a home for everything, ideally aim to keep like with like, in one place, unless you have a very large house or live over many floors. So keep all tools with other tools and all desk and post supplies together. Same with crafts, games, sporting equipment, haberdashery items, gift wrapping, single bed sheets, double bed sheets, bath towels, hand towels, etc.

This sounds so simple, but setting it up in the first place can be time consuming and tricky while you figure out what do to with everything. It might help if you try:

  • Organising one cupboard or drawer at a time
  • Designating a temporary place for all the things you don’t know what to do with
  • Making frequent trips to your local charity shop to keep the clutter at bay while you continue to sort

Once you find a home for everything and get rid of what you don’t want, it will become obvious what to do with the majority of what’s left over and things will start to fall into place.

TIP: Labeling where you keep things can also help.

Tidying up toysOnce you’re organised, make sure things are put away

The other tricky bit is making sure everyone in the house puts things back where they belong, especially if you have lots of children. It takes training up younger children and explaining things to older ones, so they all understand what you expect of them and why. I’ve found that houses follow the Broken Window Theory: once everything is tidy and organised, everyone makes a bigger effort to tidy up after themselves. Same thing in the kitchen: once one person leaves a dirty dish in the sink instead of putting it in the dishwasher, it’s a dirty-dish free-for-all and the sink is instantly full of them. A tidy start will ensure that the home stays more sanctuary than squat.

Make sure important information and paperwork has a home

The same is true of paperwork: everything needs a home and like should be kept with like. Things that are important and you need to have at hand, like emergency contact numbers, should all be easily accessible in one place; bills you need to pay and things you need to do should be kept together; and files you need to keep longer-term, including passports and birth-certificates, should also be kept in one place so you can find them when you need them. When things are scattered around, you can’t find anything quickly and things get lost.

Try keeping a box for receipts, separated by months. That way if you need to know how much you’ve spent or need to return something, you can find receipts easily.

Have a simple filing system

The thought of organising a filing system may seem daunting. But all it really is, is a way of keeping like with like when it comes to paperwork: bank statements with bank statements, electricity bills with electricity bills, children’s school information with children’s school information.

Start by gathering all the bits of paperwork that need to be filed and go through them item-by-item with a fine-toothed comb. Be selective and throw away anything you don’t need or you don’t believe you will need in the future. Whenever a new piece of paper comes your way, make sure you deal with it immediately, either filing it or chucking it out.

TIP: If you’re worried about throwing something away you can always scan it into your computer and delete it later.

Tackle the mess bit by bit

If there is a lot of mess in your home (welcome to being a parent), start by focusing on the one area you want to organise first. Once you’ve conquered this, move onto another area until, eventually, your whole house is in order.

I did a whole sort out of the downstairs over the Christmas holiday (such fun), but still haven’t made it upstairs to do the bedrooms. I hope to get there. Some day.

Put some routines in place

Whether doing the laundry, running errands or paying bills, having a routine can be more efficient. That way you don’t have to spend time re-thinking through what you need to do when.

You can save yourself endless hassle if you know you do grocery shopping on a Monday and Friday and you plan meals before you shop. You won’t be under pressure every night to think them through because you’ll already have everything you need. You can also say goodbye to endless trips to the shops.

You can organise it so if money comes in on Fridays, bills are paid early following week.

Having a Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Quarterly Household Cleaning Schedule can really help keep your house organised.

TIP: Sticking to a routine can feel like having a noose around your neck. But knowing what needs to be done when and getting things done when you plan to, actually frees you up so you have more free time to do what you want.

Clean as you go

Instead of going into blitz mode and doing all the cleaning all at once during the day, you may find it suits you best to do it as you go along, bit-by-bit. That way you won’t feel like you’ve run a marathon by the end of it. You might prefer doing the dishes as you use them or making your bed the minute you get out of it, so there’s never a designated cleaning time. Things are done and dusted as and when needed.

I’m a morning person, so this doesn’t work as well for me. I find my best time to clean is early; I can make breakfast, clean the entire kitchen and get the laundry going and hardly realise I’ve done it!

Have a place to put things so you don’t lose them

This is ideally a drawer where you can leave your keys, glasses, wallet, loose change, gloves and anything else you may need when you leave the house again. That way you can put an end to last minute panics when you’re late and you can’t find things.