Putting yourself on the offensive and getting your life organized is a surefire way to place yourself in a position for great success when the opportunity presents itself. Last week, the first part of the Why Not . . . Get Organized? series began by sharing the basic tips on laying the ground work for getting organized.
Today, I will share with you five systems to incorporate into your lifestyle that will save time, help reduce stress and put more power into your hands.
One of the easiest ways to disrupt your grocery budget is to go shopping hungry and without a list. While the first one is simple to alleviate, the second can be done more effectively than simply writing a list of what you need before going out the door. Based on the grocery store I frequent, the first few times I ever go, I make a note while I’m shopping of the number of the aisles and what is found in each. Then on my Excel program on my home computer, I make a list, labeled aisle by aisle of the typical items I might need. This list is copied and one is placed on my refrigerator so that I can circle the items as I realize I need them. There are many benefits to this approach, not only are you clear about what you truly need, but you save time because you know where to find things, and if you need to send someone else to do your grocery shopping, they will know exactly where to find everything on your list.
This tip is absolutely mandatory for someone living on their own, but even when you are married or living with someone, I highly suggest having your own toolbox as my mother still has hers and doesn’t have to rummage around through my father’s gadgets to find what she’s looking for. Purchase a simple small tool box to be placed in a cleaning closet or in your basement that holds the following: screwdrivers (flat and Phillips), hammer, needle nose pliers, wrench, electric drill, nails, hooks, twine, electrician’s tape, heavy-duty glue and anything else that you might need. By having your very own toolbox you’ll be able to take care of the minor things around the house and enable your ability to be independent.
Nothing is worse than trying to schedule a necessary appointment at the last minute and realizing that nothing is available. Whether it is a hair appointment, doctor’s appointment before your new benefit year begins or a pedicure before you hop on the plane to your much anticipated vacation, allow yourself to be organized enough to know what services you will need to have done and schedule them well in advance so you have the pick of time slots. An easy way to eliminate stress and potentially wasted money if you need to tip your hair stylist generously for scheduling after regular hours.
For those of you who commute in your own vehicle, keeping your car clean, free of clutter and inviting to any passengers you may carpool around, makes the task more enjoyable when you have to spend significant portions of your day with your hands attached to the wheel. Consider your car a mode of public transportation. How do you prefer the subway, bus or Max to look when you step on board? Clean, sanitary and free of garbage and clutter instantly comes to mind for me. So each time you park your car in the garage, take out everything with you that you brought in that morning even if it takes extra trips. Plan monthly vacuuming, exterior washes and upholstery cleanings if necessary, and if you have children or dogs that tend to leave reminders of their presence, place a towel or seat cover over your seats to protect them. One more thing you can do to keep the garbage cleaned up while you are traveling is to have a portable garbage sack that wraps around the back of your seat or console for easy disposal when you come to the next rest stop. A welcome sight as you begin your day.
One of the easiest ways to keep your home, car, and office clean, thereby reducing a massive house cleaning session every week, is to pick up as you go about your daily business. Simply by taking your dishes and placing them in the dishwasher after each snack or meal, putting away the mail after it arrives (either in the recycling bin or its appropriate file), folding the blankets up after taking a nap, making the bed each morning and leaving the bathroom clean after getting ready to go out, you save yourself time that gradually accumulates and becomes ever more daunting preventing you from addressing it when you could have initially taken care of it in 2-3 minutes.