This morning I decided I'd get up early and go for a run. Just hop out of bed, get dressed and get going before the kids were up, explaining to my husband that I'd be back in 40 minutes or so.
And that's what would have happened, except, you know, for everything. Like the fact that I couldn't find the headphones I wanted to use, and instead of ditching them and going music-free, I spent ten minutes looking for them (which I should have done the night before).
Then, when I realized I'd forgotten to put on socks and ran back to our bedroom to do so, one of our dogs - who we keep upstairs until we're ready to take them for a walk in the morning - escaped the gate and followed me back down. So I took her back up, heard the baby stirring and quickly made my way back down before he realized I was awake and about to abandon him. Found the headphones! And did end up going for a run, although a shorter one than I'd anticipated.
As I ran I found myself wishing, as I often do, that I was just a little more organized...more organized in our house, more organized with my work schedule, more organized in general. I've never been the type to go the full force Martha Stewart route but one of the most surprising truths I've learned as I've gotten older and gained more responsibilities is the strong link between an organized home and a an organized mind. It's something I think about a fair amount, and something I've written about more than once.
For me, at least, avoiding situations like last-minute headphone searches when time is short means less stress.
My husband and I are constant optimists on the subject, always excited about "getting organized!" And "decluttering!" We want to do it all, even if doing it all is an ongoing and perhaps neverending process.
He's much more of a student of the organized life than I am, even reading a few books on the subject, always passing on his favorite tips to me. I've taken a few and incorporated them into my life, as well as done my own "studying" which consists of more of a real life trial-and-error type approach than his own, as well as gleaning good advice from magazines and blogs.
Here are a few of my favorite ideas on both general organization and decluttering (which definitely leads to general organization):
- When cleaning/decluttering, have a "deal with it later box" for tossing items to be put away. That way you're not running to each invidual room in your house for every little sock, or piece of mail (P.S. Don't forget to deal with the box later, by the way, and not way later. "Ha, what?! My car registration has been expired for six months?")
- Keep your most-used items in the most-accesible places. Fact: I can never find the Scotch tape, but I can always find the decorative hourglass someone gave us as a gift. We need to work on this one.
- When sorting items to be donated, recycled or thrown away, don't hesitate. Hold it up. Do you use it, wear it or absolutely love it? If the answer is no, toss it - and quick!
- Have an inbox. My husband created an inbox system in our office, with boxes for me, him, one labeled "to be filed" and one labeled "pending." It's easy for the "pending" box to get abused by placing I-don't-have-any-idea-what-to-do-with-this-coupon-we-might-use type stuff in it, but it's better than having it all lying around.
- Be realistic. A to-do list that reads: do the laundry, do the grocery shopping, mow the lawn, run 13 miles, write a blog post, clean the bathroom, paint the kitchen...is, yes, VERY exciting. And never gonna happen.
Your turn! What are your favorite tips for staying organized, decluttered and stress-free?