10 Helpful Hints for Organizing

In my next incarnation, I’m going to be a professional organizer.  I’m already preparing to segue into that profession after I retire!  I’ve always loved putting things in their right place, creating order out of chaos, and helping friends and family pull their ish together.

So when with Ms. Joi at Rx Fitness Lady included a “10 helpful ideas” post as part of her Mini Blog Challenge Party, I began drawing from my own experiences to find organizing ideas that might benefit you all.  

orange organizing

Here are my 10 helpful hints for organizing time, products, and space, at home and at work.

Containerize!  

Group similar categories of items in containers.  I keep bins with cleaning products under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. It’s easier to pull out the bin and take out the product you want than to move out each item to get to the one you really want.  I do the same for makeup, hair supplies, and office supplies.   

containerized11

Schedule it

We don’t have complete control over our days, but some things fall pretty easily within our reach.  Set times to check, respond to, and delete e-mail.  By keeping the e-mail pileup manageable, you make it easier to respond to those who need a quick answer and to attend to others that require more thought.  The same goes for social media; the better your scheduling skills, the more time you free up for other pursuits.

Clean it up!

Guys, clutter is the enemy.  Put away what you’re not using  as soon as possible after you’re done with it.  Keep your surfaces clear.  That includes the desk, the floor, the vanity, and the dressing table.  And car seats.  I’ve seen cars as stuffed to overflowing as some houses!  The less clutter around you, the easier it is to lay hands on needed items.    

Take those ideas captive!

I’m a huge fan of wirebound items to capture notes, ranging from planners to mini notebooks.  It’s vital that you have something durable on which to jot  down ideas and prep your to-do lists.  

wirebounds1

I also keep pens and small paper pads handy in all places, including the bathroom!  I can later transfer thoughts captured on paper to my organizer.  The key is to be able to retain in writing what comes to mind.  You never know when a great blog post idea or plan of action might emerge!

Get cozy with technology

I know the techies among us love programs like Dropbox and Evernote.  I also recommend the Notes app on smart phones for storing blog ideas and other tidbits.  I will say, however, that for someone with a non-American accent like me, using voice recognition like Siri can be a bit challenging.  I once spoke the words “I’ll keep you in prayer” to Siri; she transposed it as “I’ll see you in Korea.” 🙂

Be kind to your groceries

Keep a large insulated bag in your car trunk for groceries, especially in the warmer months.  That way you can keep frozen items cold if there’s a delay before getting home.  

insulated bag1

In addition…

Show some smoothie love to your veggies and fruits

I’m normally in a mad rush in the morning to get out of the house, so I need to have my smoothie ingredients ready to blend.  On the weekends, I create smoothie packs made up of small amounts of my favorite frozen fruits.  

smoothie packs1

So on weekday mornings, I just grab a bag from the freezer and add its contents, along with fresh produce like kale and celery, to my blender.  I keep my kale fresh by submerging it in a dish with water, and celery lasts longer when I wrap it in aluminum foil.  With my ingredients organized and prepped for longevity, I save time and money!

celery kale1

Keep the car prepped

I like to keep a roll of paper towel (not a full roll; it wouldn’t fit, but a half-full roll or less) in the glove compartment of the car.  If you’re eating or need to clean up a spill, you’re all ready.  While you’re at it, it’s good to keep a microfiber cloth in the car for quick-wipe downs.  I also keep a tiny Swiss army knife to open whatever I’m dying to eat and is trapped in a plastic wrapper that can’t be torn open. Oh, and keep some snacks for those stuck-in-traffic-hell times.  My faves are Trader Joe’s Just A Handful of Almonds, Cashews, and Cranberries.  Yum!

Learn to mono-task

My lovelies, multitasking is not your friend. He (yes, it’s a he!) will trip you up, throw you down, and leave you face down in the dirt.  The myth of multitasking has consumed many a well-intentioned productivity hound.  You will get far more done, and your time will be better organized, when you concentrate on one task at a time.  Truth is, there are very few things you can do well at the same time.  But…

Redeem your “down time”

Some tasks can be combined successfully.  I know that when I’m on the phone (thank God for whoever invented the speakerphone!) I can carry out relatively mundane tasks in the house and office (opening snail mail, scanning e-mail, light cleaning, washing up, putting away items).  While driving to work, I use the time to think through items on my to-do lists, or I listen to the audio Bible and other books.  Trial and error will show you what works and what doesn’t.  

Thanks again to Ms. Joi for hosting this week’s Mini Blog Challenge Party. Y’all go show her some love at her blog and read some of the other links by my blogging friends at the party!  I’ve met some great bloggers and learned so much this week. They’ll have tons of other help hints too!

  Which of the hints do you see yourself implementing immediately?  Which ones have you already been using?


Comments

  1. I need my regular calendar along with my google calendar or I would be lost. Scheduling is a must. I am going to try the notes app because I do have great ideas for blog posts but then lose it just like that. I must be getting younger lol
    Kita recently posted..Helping others is the way to goMy Profile

  2. When I am organized, my life is less chaotic, and I have to write every thing day down.
    Veronica @My Finessed Life recently posted..Do Things Better.My Profile

  3. Great list, Alison! I love organizational tips. I need to make some smoothie packs. Lots of helpful information. Thanks for sharing.
    Kimberly H. Smith recently posted..Is My Triple Crown Blocking Your View?My Profile

  4. I consider myself super organized so I love getting more ideas on how to do it efficiently. I love the frozen fruit in individual bags idea! That is super quick and helpful. Scheduling is a MUST! If it’s not on my calendar or “to do” list – it’s not happening!! #MBC
    Allie recently posted..The Group X ListMy Profile

    • Same here, Allie. It’s got to be in black and white or else I will absolutely forget. Hey, even when it IS written down, stuff still slips through the cracks.

  5. My husband always says that multi-tasking is terrible and he encourages his employees to “mono-task” because then they’ll give their all to one thing, and then move on.
    I think you should be a professional organizer. Some of these are things I’d never think about! Although cleaning up clutter feels like Christmas sometimes. It’s funny how I’ll let things sit but then when I decide I can’t handle it anymore, it’s all gone instantly.
    Tamara recently posted..Three Truths, One Lie: Kids Will Be Kids.My Profile

    • Hey, thanks for the encouragement, Tamara! I really feel like professional organizing is an area in which I could do well. Your husband is so right about monotasking. I was a big-time multitasker and one day it hit me: I’m doing none of these things well! LOL I still have to fight the urge to do many things at once, but I have improved tremendously. Like you, when I decide that it’s time to clear stuff out, I’m on a roll!

  6. This is an awesome list Alison!! You wouldn’t believe it girl but I have over 20,000 emails in my inbox…IKR!! I’m a “bin girl” too and I also HATE clutter! I get on my family’s nerves because I’m always throwing stuff out, lol! As far as the counter tops, let’s just say the only things that are allowed are accessories, i.e.(vases, pictures and cute kitchen things from World Market), lol…this goes for the bathrooms also! ALL appliances go in the pantry! I feel so much better…I thought I was the only one who believed in concentrating on the task at hand. I don’t care how important it is, I won’t do it until the project I’m working on is completed. Thanks again for sharing this Alison…have a lovely weekend my friend! 😉
    Michell recently posted..Michell’s Weekly PearlMy Profile

    • Hi Michell! I’m still stuck at 20,000 emails in your inbox. Tell me that you’re speaking figuratively! I am vicious with my inbox. I clean it at least once daily and put the trash out too. And spam.

      So you’re a World Market girl like me! Girl, I get in such trouble in there. That’s why I don’t go too often. But I’m like that at Home Goods too. I too keep appliances in cupboards. The only ones out are the toaster oven and microwave. Less is more, I always say!

      Have a great weekend too. It’s raining cats and dogs here in MD right now. Bed weather! LOL!

  7. I needed the mono tasking reminder. That’s a tough one for me, but I do believe it with all my heart. And the smoothie packets are brilliant!

    Thanks for sharing. Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a lovely weekend.
    misssrobin recently posted..Trying to Find the WordsMy Profile

    • Hey Miss Robin! Believe me, I need the reminder to monotask too! Old habits die hard, but I am mending my ways. I just made my new smoothie packs a while ago. It is so handy and convenient to have them all ready to go at a moment’s notice.

      Have a great weekend too!

  8. You have some great tips. I loved the notebook tips. It seems like I have started notebooks or journals for about everything lately. Thanks for sharing.
    Misty Boone recently posted..Autumn Bucket ListMy Profile

  9. Love that smoothie organization. Thanks for the kale & celery tip. Never heard that. Hate when my celery gets soft because there’s always still a lot left. LOL to Siri. My husband gets aggravated with Siri because she can’t understand him either. He’s from Louisiana but he just says some things “different”. You know I’m the iGeek so I know the iOS7 update inside out now. You can teach Siri your pronunciation now. I don’t know how extensive it is.
    Kenya G. Johnson recently posted..How my family reacts to my blog…My Profile

    • Oh wow! I wonder whether Siri would get MY pronunciation! Worth giving it a try, no? LOL! Oh, you can also put the carrots in the cold water in the fridge and they will revive too. I did that this week and was able to save two that were less than sturdy and use them in a recipe today.

  10. Alison, such great tips. I really want to be more organized. I’m a sucker for picking up new containers with the intention of getting all my stiff sorted out but I have more of those things hanging out on shelves empty than I do taming my stuff. After reading your list, I immediately put the file away I had sitting on my desk. I’m trying to put into action your tips. Hope you’re enjoying a great weekend. And thanks for linking up for The Friday Five Fellowship this week.
    Wanda recently posted..The Friday Five: Blog LoveMy Profile

    • Wanda, I always enjoy your linky. My pleasure to participate.

      I think we all fall into the trap of buying new containers in hopes of corralling all our stuff. The pros recommend cleaning out what you have and making piles of the things you’ll keep and toss, as well as those about which you’re undecided. Once you toss and make up your mind about the “undecideds”, then you should buy containers. Well, that’s the theory. Of course we know that the practice is something else! But it does make sense. Try it!

  11. Great tips!
    Akaleistar recently posted..Sweet LinksMy Profile

  12. You are so wise and organized. I’m only organized when it comes to some things. I really want to do better I just feel like I have so much to do and don’t want to spend my “free time” doing things I should be doing but don’t want to do. Ugh. You’ve encouraged me to do a quick overhaul of some of my drawers. My closet needs me to check in as well. I will set a deadline for myself. Thanks Alison!
    Andrea recently posted..Interview Checklist for the Savvy Business WomanMy Profile

  13. Trust me, I know what you mean about the time commitment, Andrea, but it’s worth it. Go for it! Your closet just gave you a shout out: Help a closet out! LOL
    Alison recently posted..Faith looks up!My Profile

  14. Oh my gosh Alison, your organisation skills put me to shame. A lot of great tips, I particularly like the fruit bags that turn into smoothies. Glad to have you back and thanks for sharing.
    Gillian recently posted..6 Tips to Restarting Fitness – RX Fitness Mini Blog Party 2My Profile

  15. Thanks for the list Alison. I will be placing paper towels in the car, that was like an epiphany, duh! Humm, to the multi-tasking, you have me thinking! I am always multi-tasking but I think you are on to something with that. You and Kimberly are surely friends. She loves blogging about organizing. I will have my ish together reading from the 2 of you!
    Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady recently posted..I Have Some Blogging Confessions…My Profile

    • LOL! You know we’re organizing ninjas, Kimberly and I! The paper towel is a vital item now for me. The other day I was trying to fill my water bottle and then jerked forward when the light changed (I know, I was multitasking… in a car!). Clean-up on aisle five! My trusty paper towel came to the rescue, both for the car seat, bottle holders, and my clothes!

  16. Alison, I need HELP when it comes to de-cluttering. It is so hard for me to get rid of things. I always feel that as soon as I get rid of it, I’ll need it. Please keep writing about this subject. I like the idea of using storage bins, but I don’t always label them – so that creates another problem. Thanks for sharing the idea about submerging the kale in water!
    Trinity recently posted..Meatless Monday #28My Profile

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