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How to stay organized when you are crazy busy but want to maintain a clean and organized home!
You spent so much time getting organized and you feel like you’ve finally gained control of your home.
All your items have a place, your home is clutter-free, and everything is running smoothly.
But then — life happens.
Your spouse just came home from work and threw his stuff everywhere. The kids mixed up all the books on the bookshelf and now none of it is organized. You were in a hurry to cook and now the spice rack is a complete mess. Your to-do list is piling up, causing you to return to your old habits and your home to turn back into the unorganized mess it once was.
These are daily struggles for me, and if you’re here, I’m assuming you’re struggling, too.
The good news is, it is completely possible to stay organized when you are crazy busy and life is getting in the way. I was so tired of organizing my home just to have to do it all over again, so I put systems in place to make sure I could have an organized home even when I am busy.
The hardest part of getting organized is actually staying organized. If you would like to learn how to stay organized when you’re busy, keep reading!
How to Stay Organized Tip #1: Make a To-Do List
When I was teaching, making daily to-do lists saved my life and my sanity. Once I got into the habit of making to-do lists at work, I started implementing them at home, and it has made all the difference.
The most important part about making a to-do list is finding what works best for you! This could mean doing a daily to-do list or a weekly to-do list. I recommend doing both. Every Sunday night I pull out my best friend (aka, my planner) and write down all the tasks I would like to get accomplished that week. This means things that I need to get done, and things that I want to get done. I try to put them on the days I think I could accomplish those tasks, but as you know, a mom’s schedule is never set in stone.
This is why I also make a daily to-do list. I look at what I wrote on Sunday and see if it’s still feasible. If I can’t accomplish a task because something came up, I remove it from the list. If I need to add something more pressing, I do that as well. The number one tip I can give you when making your to-do list is to make your list small, manageable, and realistic. If you try to do ALL THE THINGS, you are going to get overwhelmed and end up binging Netflix shows and snacking on junk food…or maybe that’s just me!
I like to make my daily to-do list the night before. I write down my top three priorities for the day, and maybe one or two items if I feel like I have the time.
1. Make a habit of filling in your planner.
Another reason I like making daily to-do lists is that it keeps me in the habit of constantly using and checking my planner. I used to buy planners, use them for a week or two, and then shove them in my purse or a drawer somewhere, never to see the light of day again. Now that I use my planner every day, I can’t imagine being able to stay organized without it.
Using a planner can help keep you on track and look at your week at a glance. It will help you better manage your time and remember to keep your appointments. I recommend a planner that you can customize to fit your needs. My favorite planner is the Plum Paper planner, but there are so many options that are paper-based and even digital. The reason I prefer Plum Paper planners is because I am more likely to remember something if I physically write it down. I also like how easy it was to customize the planner with different sections such as:
- Month, week, and a day at a glance
- Fitness plan
- Blog plan
- Brainstorming section
- SO MUCH MORE!
Not only is it easy to organize your entire life in ONE planner, but you also have the ability to customize the cover as well. They have so many beautiful options for you to choose from. I find that a beautiful cover actually motivates me to use my planner even more! If you would like to see the planner I recommend, check out the Plum Paper website. I am not an affiliate nor is this post sponsored. I just love their planners THAT much!
2. Set Reminders
While I personally do not like to have a digital schedule, I do set reminders on my phone. This is perfect if you are someone who forgets as easily as I do. This helps keep me on track and reminds me to do my most important tasks. It also helps me remember the little things such as taking my vitamins and/or medicine, preparing something for the next day, etc.
Whenever you are making your to-do list, it is so important that you prioritize your most important tasks. When making your to-do list, write down the top three things that MUST be done, then fill out what you would LIKE to get done. Be sure to cross off your “must do’s” first. That way, if time slips away from you, it’s not the end of the world.
How to Stay Organized Tip #2: Use Your Time Wisely
I am always trying to figure out how I can maximize my time, stay organized, and still enjoy my day. These are my top tips for making sure you are spending your time wisely.
1. Set Deadlines
You may have a problem staying organized if you are spending too much time on a task. If this sounds like you, remember the mantra:
“Done. Not perfect.”
In order to avoid striving for perfection and spending too much time on something, set a deadline for yourself. Give yourself only 30 minutes (or however much time you need) to finish a task, and vow to put it away after that time is up. Or, you could tell yourself “I will have ‘x’ task finished by the end of the week.”
Giving yourself deadlines is a great way to motivate yourself to stay organized and on task. If possible, tell someone of your plans. This will help hold you accountable!
2. Stay Focused
Staying focused is something I still struggle with, and a mindset I constantly have to shift in order to stick to my plan. I used to start a task only to be completely distracted by something else. So I would abandon the first task, and then completely forget about it later on. I ended up with a bunch of half-finished projects around the home and nothing was truly organized. My home was completely chaotic and I had no idea how they got that way.
Does this sound familiar to you?
My advice to you (and to myself!) is if you start something, stay focused and finish it! Do not move on to another project if you haven’t finished the one you were working on. By staying focused on the task at hand, your home will end up neat, clean, and organized.
3. Set Aside 10 Minutes a day
Try to set aside just ten minutes a day in order to organize or declutter an area in your home. This is a small, manageable time frame with a great return. Those ten minutes will add up, and you will be left with a clean, organized home that you can feel confident in. Some days, that ten minutes will feel like ten hours, so try to make it fun! Blast some music, turn on your favorite show, or promise yourself a reward when you finish. This should help motivate you to power through to an organized home.
I promise, once you are done, you won’t regret it. You will sit down and be at peace, rather than drowning in a sea of clutter.
How to Stay Organized Tip #3: Make Your Bed Daily
Making your bed in the morning is a simple, but highly effective way of making your room look clean and organized. If you don’t make a habit of making your bed daily, I encourage you to do it just once and see the difference. I’m willing to bet your room looks more put together, which makes you feel more put together.
When I don’t make my bed in the morning, I feel sluggish for the rest of the day. I know it sounds silly – how could something so small make me feel so lazy? Not only do I feel sluggish, but I start to let clutter pile up on top of the bed as well. But when I make my bed, I keep it clean and clutter-free, and I have set the tone for an organized and productive day. Your room will look better and you will FEEL better.
I do want to clear something up because I know some of you may be wondering — isn’t it unhealthy to make your bed every day? According to a 2006 study, some scientists found that dust mites in your bed thrive in a dark, damp atmosphere and making your bed prevents them from being exposed to light and dying. I’m not saying that study is wrong – I have no further knowledge on the subject than what the website suggests.
That being said, I still make my bed every day. I do not have any allergies to dust mites and I clean my sheets frequently. If you would like more information on how I view daily bed-making, check out this article.
How to Stay Organized Tip #4: Clean & Straighten Up High-Traffic Areas Nightly
I always start my day by making the bed, and I always end the night by cleaning up the two most high-traffic areas in my home: the kitchen and living room.
Before bed, our family works together to pick up these two areas. My children are young (five and two at the time of writing this) and I still make them help. However, I am lucky to have a two-year-old who LOVES to help his mommy. I do get some resistance from the five-year-old, but she helps anyway. I am a firm believer in asking your children to help with chores, and now that this has become a nightly routine, she has started griping less and less. I ask them to pick up toys that may be in the living room or put pillows and throw blankets back where they belong. Either I or my husband tidies the kitchen and the other one assists the children. This process really doesn’t take us long, and the benefits are wonderful!
Waking up to a clean and organized living room and kitchen puts me in a great mood, focused mindset, and helps me keep the rest of the day organized.
How to Stay Organized Tip #5: Put Everything Back Once You’re Done
This is one of the quickest ways you can stay organized.
If you put in the hard work of getting organized in the first place, then every item in your home has a place. However, it is inevitable to move things out of their new home, so once you are done with an item, put it back right away. You do not want to get in the habit of throwing your items wherever they may land, or you may find yourself having to go through the entire organization process again.
I’m not going to lie – even though this is one of the quickest ways to stay organized, it’s one of the hardest ways. If I’m feeling tired or get busy, my mindset automatically shifts to “Oh, I’ll just get to that later, it won’t take me more than five minutes.”
But then, I repeat that to myself.
“I’ll do it now. It won’t take me more than five minutes.”
So, if it is at all possible, put every item back in its place when you are finished with it. Prevent that five minutes from becoming a whole weekend spent re-organizing your things.
How to Stay Organized Tip #6: Meal Plan
Meal planning is a great way to save time and stay organized. By planning out all your meals for the week, you leave out the guess-work of “what’s for dinner” which often wastes time AND money. You can keep your meal plan on your refrigerator or in your planner! If you decide to go with Plum Paper, they have a meal planning section and a section for you to write down your grocery list. I absolutely love this method and it has saved me from frantically running to the store at the last minute to get an ingredient, which throws my whole schedule off!
Stick to a meal plan that works for you. You have complete control over which meals you plan, and for how long you plan for. I plan for the week, but I know many people who only plan for two days, and some that plan for the whole month! By planning just a few meals a week, you will save yourself time and money!
If you’re like me and don’t even have the time to meal plan, I highly recommend checking out the $5 Meal Plan service. You get weekly meal plans sent straight to your inbox for only $5 a month. The best part is that the meals are also affordable! You can try it FREE for 14 days if you click here.
How to Stay Organized Tip #7: Simplify
The only way you can truly stay organized is by learning how to declutter. The best way to stay organized is by decluttering your things and owning less. I truly believe that you cannot have a truly organized home unless you declutter first. Try to make a weekly or monthly habit of decluttering your home. I have a few blog posts up about how to declutter and I highly recommend you take a look at them! If you are looking to declutter quickly, take a look at my 35+ Quick Decluttering Tips that will get your home clutter-free FAST!
2. Learn to say no.
A great way to stay organized and simplify your life is by learning to say no. I know this can be difficult, especially if you are a people-pleaser and don’t like to hurt feelings. I completely get it, and I know it can be hard. But why take on more work if you are struggling to stay organized already? If you can’t fit something into your schedule or saying yes to something you don’t want to do causes you to stress out, it’s okay to say no. In fact, you should never say yes to something you don’t want to do. If someone asks you to do something and you don’t feel comfortable taking on another task, tell them that you have too much on your plate right now, but that you may revisit later if you have some free time. You are in control of your schedule and you will feel better knowing you aren’t trying to cram 100 things into your tightly-packed schedule. Chances are, the person will be grateful that you are willing to put in your full attention to a task at a later date, rather than being half-focused now.
3. Bring in less.
The easiest way to simplify your life and stay organized is to simply bring in less. You won’t be able to stay organized if you are buying things that you have no place for.
The next time you feel like purchasing something on a whim, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I truly NEED this?
- Is there a place in my home for this item?
- Do I have something just like it already?
By bringing in less, you will keep your home clutter-free. This is KEY when it comes to staying organized. It’s okay to splurge every now and then, so please don’t think I am asking you to deprive yourself! Just make sure it’s something you are actually going to use and know exactly where it’s going to go.
How to Stay Organized Tip #8: Remember your Why
Whenever you feel like slipping into your old habits, revisit all those hours you spent organizing your home. Why did you organize in the first place? Was it to take control of your home? Feel more confident and peaceful and control your anxiety? By remembering why you started getting organized in the first place, you prevent yourself from letting motivation get away from you. Remember all your hard work, and remember your why. This will help keep you motivated when times get tough.
How to Stay Organized Tip #9: Take Care
You cannot pour from an empty bucket. Staying organized all depends on you, and you have to be in a healthy mindset to stay that way! And while a beautiful, organized home is awesome, none of it matters if you aren’t taking care of you.
I know that self-care doesn’t seem like it would have anything to do with staying organized, but it has EVERYTHING to do with staying organized. Life gets crazy busy, especially for us mamas. This can cause overwhelming anxiety when things get out of control and you aren’t able to stick to your plan. By practicing self-care, you are better able to cope with that anxiety and deal with your schedule in a healthy manner. One thing to remember is nothing, including you, will ever be perfect. There will be days you cannot get to it all, and that’s okay. Stop striving for perfection and take care of yourself above everything else.
I don’t want to tell you that you can’t do it all by yourself. There are so many superwomen out there that HAVE to do it all by themselves, and they are noble and worthy of so much praise. But if you have the privilege of someone else living in your home – do not be afraid to ask them for help. This could mean asking your spouse to take care of dishes while you tidy up the living room. It could mean inviting the kids to help declutter their room. If you are financially able, it could mean hiring outside help. If you are able to ask for help, DO IT! If you try to do everything on your own, you may get tired and stressed out. Delegate any tasks that overwhelm you to prevent this from happening.
3. Reward Yourself
You got your home organized. And now, you have the tools to keep it that way. You are AWESOME, mama! Feel free to reward yourself for all your hard work. This will help you stay motivated! Grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks after running all those errands! Take a bubble bath after cleaning the kitchen. End the day relaxing and enjoying time with your family. Do whatever makes you feel good. Life is not all about work. Take the time to enjoy it.
Final thoughts on Staying Organized
Life can be very busy but staying organized is completely possible if you follow the right steps. Don’t let your hard work go to waste! By learning how to stay organized, you prevent yourself from having to constantly repeat the organization process. This saves you time and your sanity. And as busy moms, I know we need BOTH of those things.