Maybe it’s the new year. Maybe it’s the unseasonably warm January temps. Or maybe it’s early nesting as we await the arrival of baby number 4 later this year. Whatever the reason, lately I’ve been consumed with the desire to clean, organize, declutter, and simplify. I’ve spent the past few weeks setting up stations, systems, and solutions for the hot spots in my home.
It’s amazing what a little organization can do to lower stress, clarify expectations, and even shape attitudes and behaviors (mine as well as the kiddos). As humans, we truly are influenced by our environments.
I’ve found that I tend to be an all-or-nothing type of cleaner/organizer, so this year I’m trying to remind myself that it’s really about doing just one thing at a time. Rather than becoming overwhelmed and letting chaos reign (which really would be so easy) it’s the cumulative effect of several small steps in the right direction.
So here are a few of the steps I’m taking to try to bring a little more organization, simplicity, and purpose to 2012:
First, I corralled my paper clutter with a filing system, like the one pictured above, from Lovely Crafty Home. I tend to be a stacker, but with these designated files, mail, birthday invitations, and teachers’ notes all have a place to call home. I also popped a calendar on the front of the filing box by printing these bright, simple, and FREE ones from TomKat Studio.
I completed the station with a home binderfor organizing and recording all the systems that I hope to use to get and keep our home running smoothly. I’ve pinned several inspiring home binders on my organization board on Pinterest (visit it here).
Much of my binder consists of pre-made formsfrom Mandi Ehman of Life…Your Way (available for free from her site here). She’s already created simple, useful forms for almost everything I needed….and a few I didn’t realize I needed until I saw them there!
Included in my binder is my plan for breaking up the housekeeping into small, manageable chunks. I have daily tasks for myself, and chore cards organized for my boys.
I also included this Declutter and Organize Calendar, which takes that huge task of organizing and declutering my whole house and breaks it into small daily duties. Rather than looking at every nook and cranny of my house as one project -and feeling overwhelmed- this list reminds me to do just. one. thing. For example, yesterday I organized my spice cupboard. It took maybe 15 minutes, but if I want a little boost, all have to do is take a peek at that beautiful cupboard. (Nevermind that I’m still putting away my Christmas decorations. Baby steps.)
One more resource that’s guiding me through the baby steps is Simple Mom creator, Tsh Oxenreider’s ebook, One Bite at a Time. Based on the old adage: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”, Tsh outlines 52 projects – one for each week of the year – to guide you to the larger goal of a more organized, simplified lifestyle.
Whether it’s creating an effective morning routine or organizing your finances, Tsh’s ebook breaks each project into manageable steps. (And through January 10th, it’s on sale for just $4! Click here to visit Simple Mom.) It’s organized in such a way that you can follow the challenges in the order they’re presented in the book, or prioritize your tasks and take out your biggest goals first.
It was actually this book that framed my whole perspective as I jumped into this year with a penchant for organizing. Tsh’s reminder that it’s one bite at a time, one step at a time, keeps me from getting overwhelmed and reminds me to just do something today.
Who knows, maybe by this time next year there will only be a small portion of my “elephant” left!
What are your favorite tips and goals for organizing and preparing in the new year?