A utility vest is so versatile. I love this basic jeans and long-sleeve t-shirt outfit paired with my utility vest and some cute booties. Looking good doesn’t have to be hard!
This article is one of a series showing the many outfit combinations I’ve designed from my 24-piece Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe.
Here are the items from today’s outfit:
Today we are sharing how we stay organized. You guys, this is a topic that is so “me”. I literally get stressed and can freak out when the house gets messy. I can take the mess for a little while but, then it HAS to be picked up. My to-do list is the same way – I NEED to get my list done or I feel the stress rising. Over the years, I’ve developed some strategies for organization that help me stay on top of things. Here are my top 5 organization strategies:
1. Use a Routine
As a parent, I’ve found that my children are less stressed when we have a routine and follow it. We have the same steps every night at bedtime, and nearly always at the same time. They know what to expect. Routines work the same for me too. For the last several years especially, I plan an evening routine that I repeat each week. It looks something like this:
Sunday is for rest. Each of the other days I try to spend at least 15 minutes cleaning or decluttering. (I admit that I’m spoiled by my husband, who does much of our housework and nearly all the cooking.)
2. Everything has a Home
Junk drawers drive me crazy! We don’t have one anymore, fortunately, but we do have a desk in our kitchen where random items are deposited by everyone in the family. When the pile gets too bad, I clean it up. Usually I find that the items do have a designated home, but some little boy was in too much of a hurry to actually put the item where it goes. We make sure that each item in our home has a home, and that everyone knows where those homes are. We use the organizer in the drawer below in our former junk drawer.
3. Less Stuff
This quote is my mission in recent years! I have less to put away and organize, when I just simply have less. When we moved in 2016, we donated, sold or trashed SO MUCH STUFF! I have a corner of a spare bedroom where I keep the pile of donations ready to leave the house. When gifts come into our home, at least as much needs to leave. It doesn’t take nearly as long to clean our home as it used to, which means FREEDOM to spend time more enjoyably!
4. Use a Planner
I have so many friends who have used planners for years, but this is truthfully my first year using a spiral bound planner.
Previously I tried to track everything electronically on my phone. It was just too hard to keep track of daily to-do’s, my routine, and our family calendar. Plus I also tried to transfer all the appointments to our paper calendar on the fridge, and my work calendar on my work laptop. It was really hard to keep track of everything. This planner has been a life-saver already, and I can’t imagine going back.
I now only copy down appointments my husband needs to remember on the fridge calendar, and only appointments during the work day on my work calendar, so that part has been so much easier. I’ve also been more productive, since I now plan out tasks I want to accomplish and schedule them across the coming week or two. Right now, I’ve marked down plans to clean out the boys’ bedroom closet, which is just used for storage right now. I want to make better use of that space.
And it may seem silly, but I love the sense of accomplishment that comes with taking a pen and scratching through a completed task.
I have a constant balance between the “I want it done right, so I’ll do it myself”, and the knowledge that I am not superwoman, and can’t do it all on my own. So I’ve learned to let go of my desire to have certain tasks completed in MY way, in order to have the freedom that comes from ME not having to perform that task.
One big example is folding and putting away the laundry. I love a perfectly organized linen closet, with towels all folded exactly the same way and colors separated. But we’ve tasked our boys with folding and putting away the laundry in our home. At 8 and 11, they are completely capable of this task. They need to learn how it is done, and they need to contribute to the housework. And it saves me at least an hour or so a week.
Kevin does so much of the housework, I’m almost embarrassed. Now, I don’t consider this delegation really – it is as much his home as mine, after all. But I still greatly appreciate him for all he does at home. So even when he puts the Kleenex on the pasta shelf in the pantry, I just try to tell him “thank you” and resist the urge to rearrange it later.
Finally, I try to remember that we live in our home; it isn’t a model house for Better Homes and Gardens. Someday the kids will move out and it will be much easier to keep clean and organized. And I try to keep our schedule relatively slow. I have friends who have activities away from home every week night and all day on weekends. I can’t do that. Most weeks, we only have activities 2, maybe 3 times a week max. On those rare weeks where we are booked solid, it is a good reminder why we avoid that craziness whenever possible.