Mission Organization: Tips For Organizing Your Whole House
Happy Wednesday guys! I hope you are well! I was going to publish this post yesterday but I didn’t feel like it was quite ready so I decided to give myself a little grace and hold off until I was happy with it. You don’t mind, right?
Before we get started I’m going to ask you a few important questions:
1. Do you find yourself often forgetting things?
2. Do you frequently run late?
3. Do you have multiple to-do lists on sticky notes all over the house or numerous pads filled with notes, ideas and even more to- do lists? :)
4. Does your brain feel scrambled like it’s constantly moving 100 miles an hour?
No? Well you can go ahead and skip on over this post then! Just kidding, keep reading because I believe these tips can even help those who feel like they are completely organized.
Well friends, my answer to all of these questions is (was) YES for most of my life as a mother! What a stressful way to live, right, but I feel like so many of us do (or at least I hope I’m not the only one!) and don’t even realize it. Now, for the first time in my life I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. A glimpse of space being freed up in my brain. Control over the flow of information and commitments in my life.
Hold up a minute though, I’m not quite there yet, but I’m on the path and dare I say headed into the home stretch. I’m collecting lots of information and building a blog post for when I finally feel like my mission organization is complete but I wanted to share some progress and tips with you along the way.
Here is a quick little background to help you understand a little more about my life and where I started. I am a single mom and I adopted my now nine-year-old son in March of 2010. I was pretty happy with myself as I navigated the adoption process, figured out my finances in order to make it work and eased into motherhood pretty seamlessly. There were plenty of ups and downs, but looking back on it overall I felt really good. Then the babes grow up and our lives take on a whole other level of “busy”! Busy with school, with sports, church, friends and so on and so forth.
My life was pretty under control for the early years but the older he got the more chaotic our daily life became. My career shifted as well to include the blog which also added another layer to proverbial the cake. I finally got to a “breaking point” if you will and realized that I needed to take back charge of my life. There were so many things I wanted to do or allow my son to do but we would just too busy. Don’t you hate that word – busy? In my research I have realized that “busy” is merely a state of mind and can be eliminated when we are able to process all of the incoming information efficiently.
I also felt like I was trying to do 800 things at one time and we all know that multi-tasking doesn’t really work. Slaves to our to-do lists. So I set out on a slow journey of home and life redemption. I was going to regain my daily life, my work life, my wardrobe, my finances and most importantly my sanity no matter what it took!
For the past nine months or more I have really been focusing on containing and figuring out how to process incoming information, i.e. paper clutter, emails messages, etc. as well as building a capsule wardrobe, getting my financial organization up to speed and maintaining a working and up-to-date calendar. This post is going to act as a reference post for my strategy and what is working for me as well as the most helpful tips and resources
I have found thus far. I have given myself a loose deadline of 12/31 to have everything organized and all my systems in place but as I’ll explain below, I’m definitely giving myself grace on that date. I feel like that is a reasonable time frame but if I need a little more time it’s not the end of the world!
1. Start slow and easy: I started with my capsule wardrobe first because I knew it would be ongoing and I could do a little bit at a time. This didn’t stress me out so I found it a good place to start. Then I organized the smaller spaces first like a closet here and there, the half bathroom, the laundry room cabinet, etc., then moved on to larger spaces.
2. Set goals: I set manageable goals where I knew I could be successful. No matter how big or small, do what works for you in that day, week or month of life that you are in.
3. Read, research and stay inspired: I have been relentlessly reading books, ebooks, blog posts and perusing Pinterest for inspiration so the process didn’t get stale and I stayed excited about it.
4. Take a break (but set a goal to start back!): If you find yourself tired and frustrated allow yourself to take a break. Push your goal deadlines back but make sure you start fresh when the new deadlines roll around.
Tips For Organizing Your Whole House
1. Do your research: If you truly want to tackle complete and total home/life organization you will need to do your research. I devoured ALL the books and websites on organizing to come up with a plan that worked for us. I found Learndobecome.com’s program for setting up a command central in your home incredibly helpful.
2. Get your mindset right: It’s all in your head and you are your own worse enemy (me included). Basically I’m just saying commit to you end goal. When my brain is jumbled one of the things I struggle with the most is finishing what I start. I literally would start unloading the dishwasher, get halfway finished then move to the laundry mid-unloading. I know, crazy right! So I had to make a habit of telling myself (out loud) to finish what I was doing when I felt my brain start to wander and leaving the task at hand. Another thing that helped me do this was to start using a bullet journal to dump all the random thoughts out of my brain and be able to reference them later if needed.
3. Set goals: I suggest setting small, weekly or monthly goals versus one daunting date to have it all done. For example if you start in July and hope to be finished by November set daily or weekly goals to move the project along and set an overall monthly goal, most likely one room or floor or even all the closets in one month. The beauty of it is that there are no limitations. I didn’t set my completion date until I had already been in the process for nine months and I could see the end. This should not rule your calendar and stress you out if you set simple goals that you know you can manage.
4. Start small: This basically the same point as number three but I can’t stress it enough. Start with one small space per day, weekend, week or month, whatever works!
5. Follow through and check yourself weekly or monthly but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a goal or deadline: Remember this project is self imposed. The world will not come crashing down if you only get two closets clean this month instead of three. The point of it all is to have your home and life run efficiently allowing your brain to calm down and have the space to focus on what makes you happy.
6. Make sure you have systems in place to keep your spaces clean: Setting up a system to manage the flow of information simultaneously with cleaning, purging and organizing your spaces is key. Set yourself up for success by implementing a process that will keep your spaces clean and organized for the long haul. This was the mistake I made several times in the beginning of my process which lead to several spaces having to be re-organized a 2nd time! Make sure you a have a place for everything that comes in and know when things need to go out. Create new daily routines and habits!
These are the most useful resources that have helped me in my mission organization project!
Learndobecome.com – I followed their STEP program for setting up my command central. They offer so many free videos on their website and Facebook page, but they also have a more in depth program if you feel that would work best for you. I highly recommend this site and I probably visit it on a daily basis.
Getting Things Done – I am currently halfway through this book which is what Leardobecom.com bases a lot of their training on. So far so good, I’m loving it!
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – I’m sure you’ve heard of this book but for me it really was life changing. It helped me get in the right mindset (remember my tip above?) and although it can seem daunting I really love Marie Kondo’s philosophy of only keeping what you truly love.
One Year To An Organized Life – This was also a great read that touched on all of the aspects of organizing your life as a whole.
Essentialism – This is a book that I haven’t read yet but is on my list. Learndobecome.com recommends this one too!
Un-Fancy.com – There are lots of capsule wardrobe sites out there but this one is by far my favorite and Caroline has been blogging for quite some time. And you can’t help but like her, she’s adorable!
Coming Clean: A Memoir – I just learned about this book from my friend Emily A. Clark and I can’t wait to read it. I’m saving it for a point when I get really frustrated and need a little extra motivation.
Here is part of our new command central that I have set up and in the early working stages. It includes our family calendar and hanging files for incoming papers that need to be dealt with immediately, within the week or that need to eventually be filed or scanned in our permanent files. I’ll be sharing the other parts of the command central in an upcoming post.
And by the way, these spaces do not all have to look pretty! I care more about how they function for our family than how they look right now. We can always make them look prettier once they are all working properly anyway :)
Click on the images below to shop some of my favorite organizing products!
My office doesn’t need a ton of work (you can see the slightly cleaner version above) but when I originally organized it I didn’t have a system in place for all the papers. Now that I do I need to clear out and process the clutter again.
This is one of my attic spaces that I organized earlier in the year and although it doesn’t look pretty it is in order. I actually let it get filled up again (oops!) but now have it back under control. See, don’t beat yourself up if you mess up, just try, try again!
This is my now organized linen closet and I feel confident it will stay this way.
So, here you can see another space that fell victim to clutter again but this time around it’s going to stick. I have the pantry on my goal list for the month of October.
Earlier this year:
This buffet has not yet been organized and it is on my October list as well as our bench storage in our dining room.
Even my magazines are on the organizing list. I have SO many but my goal is to go through them and cut out images I love and store them to use on inspiration boards in my office. I love this IKEA shoe cabinet though! You can use it in so many ways.
Here is an example of a small project that could be completed in 30 minutes or less. This laundry cabinet is super helpful!
My son’s playroom closet is another space that we just finished. This is a different animal then most of the other spaces in our home as we typically go through it a couple times a year to keep it under control.
This is a space that we organized previously that is not working for us. Book storage in my son’s room has always been a problem but after 3 attempts now I think I finally have a solution. Stay tuned…
Okay guys, I’ve got to stop writing! I’m sure you have questions and there are probably plenty of typos but I promise I will continue the story of the ultimate MISSION ORGANIZATION!
Please leave your comments and questions below!