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10 things to do every day to stay organized

cherry blossoms
source: peter lee

This post was originally published several years ago but continues to be one of our most popular. Start here if you’re looking for simple, effective strategies to get organized!

The number one question I get from my readers is, “help, I’m so overwhelmed with my home, where do I start?”

Maybe you can relate? Probably you are one of the students who always ask people, “write my paper, I can’t handle so much homework”.

Sometimes it isn’t so much about starting with this pile here or that pile over there but more a matter of introducing a few daily organizational habits to help keep the clutter and chaos from becoming more than you can manage.

Here are 10 things you can do today to help you stay organized.

1. Utilize a list notebook.

Often chaos ensues because we are trying to juggle too many things in our brains. We can’t focus on any one thing because we are trying to remember everything, apply bullet journaling shorthand to simplify our notes. It’s exhausting, to say the least.

Grab yourself a notebook and just start brain-dumping all that needs to be done. Be very detailed with this list because the more steps you list out, the less you have to try and remember. It makes a huge difference to your mental clutter, even if you aren’t able to get everything crossed off that list in one day.  Tablet for taking notes will be a useful thing for everyone. It can be very fast to take notes when you need it.

list notebook
source: organizing junkie

2. Update your family calendar.

Now take your list to your calendar (and if you don’t have a central family calendar, get one quick!) Make sure your calendar is updated with appointments, school events, things to bring, etc.

For instance, if you need to bring cupcakes to school on Friday, add a note to Thursday’s square to pick them up or make them that day.

3. Menu plan for today.

You may not be menu planning for the whole week yet, but you can menu plan for TODAY. Instead of waiting until the witching hour (isn’t that the worst!), plan what you’ll eat that night in the morning.

Check your freezer, pull some meat out, look up a recipe and you’re all set. 10 minutes of pre-planning will again allow you to stop worrying about it for the rest of the day and free up all sorts of head space. See the pattern here?

Mental clutter = overwhelmed

4. Never leave a room empty-handed.

One of my best tips for staying on top of clutter is to make sure you take something with you every time you leave a room. Do it as you go…dirty dishes, laundry, toys, mail, you name it. Bring it with you if it belongs in a room you’ll be going to or passing!

5. Assign a task to your children.

Too many moms are trying to do it alone. Get your kids involved. Start today. Assign them each one task off your list to complete. I know it’s often faster for us just to do it ourselves but the training has to start somewhere.

kids chores
source: threeifbybike

6. Create a donation station.

Every home needs somewhere to collect the things we no longer need. Grab yourself a big box, mark it with the words donation station and let everyone know what it’s for.

7. Add 5 things to that donation station every day.

Have every person in your household collect 5 things today to add to that donation station. Set a timer and make a game out of it. See who can be the first to collect their 5 things. Before you know it, that donation station will be full!

8. Create an “I’m Outta Here” shelf.

Similarly, you need an errand bin by your front door. I call it my “I’m Outta Here” shelf, and it’s somewhere I can collect things that need to be returned to a friend, mailed, returned, etc. That way, when I’m heading out, I can easily remember what needs to be done, and tasks don’t get backlogged.

9. Do a 10-minute tidy before bed.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Do a 10-minute tidy each night before bed to set up your next day for success. Plug in cell phones, check and update your calendar, tidy surfaces, make lunches, or whatever needs to be done to start the following day on the right foot. It makes a world of difference!

10. Check your attitude.

Finally, stop beating yourself up! Coming down hard on yourself does nothing except make you miserable. Tomorrow is another day. Celebrate every accomplishment no matter how small.

Happy Organizing!!

What daily habits have you implemented to stay on top of clutter and chaos?

Laura is a wife and mother to three great kids, lives in Alberta, Canada and is an addict of all things organizing. You can find her blogging regularly at I’m an Organizing Junkie, and is the author of Clutter Rehab: 101 Organizing Tips & Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!