Monday, January 13, 2014

Mama Monday: Organizing in the New Year

The one thing I haven't been able to shake since I became a stay at home mother is the feeling of disorganization. In the past, I would consider myself a Type A minus person. Organized, but flexible. I know what I plan to wear tomorrow, but I probably won't iron it tonight. You know what I mean?

But since May, I haven't been able to keep up with dates. For example, I know we have something going on this or that Saturday, but for the life of me I can't remember what it is. And of course my planner is blank on that day. Or I might go to the grocery store but forget the one main ingredient that is on my grocery list for tonight's dinner, thus creating a need for a subsequent trip.

For a while I blamed it on mom brain. But it doesn't appear that my mom brain is going away any time soon, so I've decided to compensate for it in other ways. Prevention, if you will. Since I no longer have time each day to sit down at a desk and review the needs of the day/week/month as I did when I worked, I need to find a way to compensate.

Here are some of the small habits I'm changing for myself for the good of my household this year.

  • Buy a 2014 planner. I invested in a planner that does more for me than some of the popular ones. I'm using the customizable Russell+Hazel mini smartdate system with weekly planner and monthly tabs. What I love about it is the ability to keep my long and verbose to-do list on the left, with the daily dates to remember on the right. I can keep my meal plan (oh yes, two weeks going strong) there together. I got the gold binder. It's pretty and clean looking.
  • Then actually use it. A planner is only good if write in it religiously and then keep it on me at all times. When I hear a new date, I write it down immediately. If we're home, my planner is open on the counter top.
  • Review the list. To remember my groceries, I'm pausing before the check out line to review my list. This may seem like common sense to most people, but I grocery shop on Monday morning with two children under 3. Usually by the end of our trip, it's time for lunch or otherwise a change of scenery. As my Grannie would say, "they've used up all their good," if you know what I mean. I need to take a deep breath, dig deep for more Cheerios in my bag, and review to make sure I've gotten everything. (I haven't been able to bring myself to be that mom who opens up the box of cookies before paying for it. I'm sure my day will come.)
  • Cut the clutter. I'm committed to ridding my house of the little piles that manage to make themselves at home. Some of that requires finding a new space for it. For example, I need a place for the non-junk mail to reside before it's dealt with. It's been banished from my kitchen counters. All of our bags need a home, and it's not the kitchen floor.
  • Create a master plan. Maybe it's just my background, but even as a housewife, I know I'll benefit from a project plan. I can barely pack a bag for a weekend away without a checklist. Why would I expect cleaning my house to be any different? This month I'm doing a deep cleaning of our major spaces and organizing clutter zones. My craft closet is an absolute disaster. It'll probably be the one I tackle last.

All of these things are obviously practical, common-sensical actions for me. I'm a practical, common-sensical kind of girl (with a few notable exceptions, such as handbags, pink, glitter, and baby girl clothes), and I'm committed to finding my organizational groove in 2014. As we know from all the New Year's motivational words floating around, small changes equal big results. I'm convinced these actions will help me continue to cultivate a wonderful sanctuary in our home--a haven from the busy-ness of the outside world.

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
1 Corinthians 14:33

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