“I am a disorganized ‘messy!'” There! I said it.
BUT deep inside I am also a perfectionist. My sister and I shared a room when I was about ten and she was thirteen. I made it such a mess, and bless her sweet super organized heart, she tried to help. It finally came to the point that she just gave up, drew a line down the middle ( I think it was with masking tape) and told me not to put any of my stuff on her side of the line. I was disheartened. I wanted it. I tried. But it really was too much of a job for me to make my side as beautiful as hers. Gradually I simply gave up. Gratefully she still loved me!
I think that the difference was that she was organized and I didn’t even know how to be organized. I actually cared a lot, and had high hopes, but I needed help.
I still am a “messy,” but have learned a few tricks or tips to survive! The way I learned was from others who suffered from the same challenges and learned some recovery skills. I’m not sure that a person who has always been organized can truly understand how to help a chronically disorganized person overcome this challenge. We disorganized people actually often have super high standards and ideas of how to everything SHOULD be, but we just can’t seem to make them happen. We often give up, living in chaos, when with just a few helps, things can turn around and a more organized life can begin.
To start this journey, you won’t need baskets and bins, other than perhaps a waste basket! 😉
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WHAT YOU WILL NEED ARE A COUPLE OF ORGANIZING TOOLS:
You’ll need a really BIG – twelve to seventeen month – calendar with lots of writing space, a magnetic shopping list with optional menu, a simple kitchen timer and a steno type notebook for “to do” lists.
Use a simple steno pad for your daily “to do” list. Each night before bed, list all tasks you want to accomplish for the next day, big and small, then mark them off as you accomplish them. At the end of the day, tear off the old sheet and transfer the remaining tasks to the new sheet. Then throw that old list away. Don’t get discouraged if not much gets done. You can start again tomorrow.
Get a really big calendar and place it where everyone can see it. You all can keep track of everyone’s appointments, practices and events. I really like the “Fly lady” calendar because it is huge and has lots of room for writing. Putting your information into “outlook” may help you not miss an appointment, but it won’t necessarily help everyone else in your household know all the plans for each day. Make sure everyone checks the calendar regularly. You could go crazy with stickers and different colored pens for everyone, but what you need most of all is that simple calendar. Just don’t let your perfectionist self get carried away.
Keep a magnetic shopping list on the refrigerator where everyone can write down the things you are running out of or have run out of, for your next shopping trip. You can find these shopping lists at the dollar store or quickly on Amazon. Tear that list off and take it with you as you shop. As a bonus, get one with an added weekly menu.
A kitchen timer will help keep you on task. If you set it for 15 minutes, and work steadily on the task at hand, you can stop, reset it for 15 minutes to take a break or do something different, and then set it again to get back on task. Doing this several times in a row can help you accomplish a monumental task. I was shocked to find out that it only took three settings of the timer to clear out, declutter, clean and replace the items in three large kitchen cabinets.
IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN CHAOS, START WITH ONE ROOM A WEEK
Determine to work on one room at a time. Set your timer for 15 minutes, and work a little bit each day. When cleaning a room, it works well to start at the doorway and work to the right, or left if you prefer – cleaning and picking up as you go. Toss papers and declutter as you move around the room. Getting rid of stuff is important, and you should do it, but don’t let your perfectionism get you. Spend some time on that room each day, and at the end of the week you’ll be encouraged, and your room will look much much better!
Start a bedtime routine – Load and start the dishwasher, shine the sink and wipe off the counters. Plan what you are going to eat for breakfast and supper the next night. Take frozen items out of the freezer, and put them into the refrigerator, noting anything that you might need to pick up for supper at the store on your way home in the evening. Set out your clothes for the next day – including under clothing, shoes and accessories – help your children do this too. Throw a load of clothes in the dryer. Don’t forget to fill out your “to do” list for the next day. Do a quick straightening of the areas people see first when they enter your home. Put your purse and keys in a place where they will be easy to pick up. Make sure the alarm is set and get to bed early enough for 7-8 hours sleep.
Start a morning routine – Get up, make your bed, or at least pull the bed covers up and smooth them. Shower, do whatever you need to do to get ready, and get dressed using the clothing you have already set out. Start coffee and breakfast, have a quiet time, I like to read my Bible and a devotional, without turning on my cellphone. Help your family to get ready for the day. Then empty the dishwasher, you soon can start to refill it with the breakfast dishes. (If you don’t have a working dishwasher, quickly wash the breakfast dishes and put in a drying rack.) Throw a load of clothes in the washing machine, and if you have time, empty and fold the clothing in the dryer from the night before.
If you follow these two routines every day, they will soon become habits, and will help you immensely on the road to organization!
Know this: A chronically disorganized person needs to keep in mind that these new routines might not come easily, but they are worth it. So don’t give up!!! Keep at it. Start over if you have to, but never give up! You soon will find that you won’t have to worry about someone drawing a line to control your messes!
SIMPLE IDEAS TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR MEALS:
1. Make a list of the foods your family loves to eat, when you need an idea for dinner look there and you can match up what you have on hand. Divide your list by type of food or ingredients. My list is divided into Comfort Foods, Asian, Italian, Fast Meals and Southwestern. You can divide yours into chicken, beef, pork or meatless.
2. If you have trouble coming up with enough meals, start keeping track of what you have eaten for dinner each day on the calendar – at the end of the month you will have a month worth of menus. There is nothing wrong with repeating meals your family loves. Mine would eat spaghetti or pizza just about every day.
3. When you find it on sale, buy a big package of ground beef and brown it up, using a large fry pan, skillet, electric fry pan, or even griddle. Drain on paper towels cool, and scoop into freezer bags. When you need a quick start, you’ll have already completed the first step. A little less than two cups of cooked ground beef equals one pound.
4. Buy chicken breasts when they are priced well. All the Walmart stores near us carry boneless chicken breasts in large packages for $1.99 a pound. Poach in salted water until the interior of the breast is about 140 degrees. Chill and cut in pieces, put in freezer bags and place in the freezer. A little less than two cups of diced chicken equals one pound. Save the salted chicken broth in quart jars. Keep one in your refrigerator and freeze the rest. Use in recipes that call for chicken broth
5. Here are some quick one pot or skillet meals that can help simplify your meal planning.