Two things about me: I like to get out the door without too much fuss and I like to travel light. When T was first born, neither of those things felt very doable. But, what started as a Mary Poppins’s-sized infant diaper bag has streamlined down to a small toddler backpack.
I have never liked having a lot of “stuff.” Don’t misunderstand me – I like plenty of things – things that are useful and/or bring me joy, and things that have a designated place to live. But things that fall outside of those parameters have always been ripe for the donation bin.
When I started my baby registry, I knew that things were going to have to change.
Over the past 17 months, I’ve had to expand my definitions of usefulness (let’s face it, there are lots of very useful kid products these days), joy (it may not bring me joy, but it brings the biggest smile to my daughter’s face…so, fine, it’s bringing me joy), and designated place to live (these places used to have stricter boundaries…now it’s more of a general corner or an overflowing basket at the end of the couch).
But when it comes to her clothing, I refuse to compromise my definitions. Sure, we only have a designated space of 6 dresser drawers, she has grown into and out of at least 5 sizes of clothing to this point, and there’s a stock of gifts where people “sized up” just waiting for wear. But, I’m happy to report that I have taken control of the clothing, and with a little vigilance, I can keep it that way.
Step 1: Empty the contents of the dresser and as you’re doing so, sort it into clothing categories that make sense for you. Weed out all the items of clothing that no longer fit. With kids, this is obviously an ongoing process – keep an open bin somewhere nearby to quickly toss things that don’t fit as you realize it. When I try to get a shirt on Tess and it won’t go over her head, it goes directly into that bin.
Does the idea of getting organized leave you feeling overwhelmed? It’s easy to think of each project as a multi-day affair – and really, who has that kind of time? Each day you don’t address the issue, the area continues to collect more and more clutter, and the project feels even more insurmountable in your mind. Here’s a secret – you don’t need days or even hours to take control! Here are 7 things you can do RIGHT NOW to get organized, enjoy peace-of-mind and prevent clutter from piling up in the future.
The Beauty Bean’s Alexis Wolfer needed help. Chaos Theory to the rescue!
Read all about our organizing session and solutions at TheBeautyBean.com
Ok, I admit it. This morning, I let the stress get the better of me. I stood in the doorway of our bathroom staring at our enormous armoire and wondered:
- When will I pack all of the contents?
- How will we get it out the door without breaking it? (there was a necessary incident with a hammer when we moved it in….)
- When will we find the time to bring it back to my aunt, who has generously let us use it for the last 5 years?
See! Even organizers can get overwhelmed sometimes.
The important thing to remember is that it will all get done. People who are far less organized than me move every day. Just worry about it box by box….when i’ve emptied it, I can pass the rest of the worries on to RB.
January has got me thinking about calendars. OK – that’s a lie. I’m pretty much always thinking about calendars. But I figured that January might have YOU thinking about calendars.
It’s is a remarkable tool really — when kept up to date, your calendar tells you what’s happening today and what you’ve got coming up a week, a month, a year from now. When kept in a central location, it let’s your family know where you’re going to be and when. It tells you about your responsibilities, but it also tells you the fun stuff that you have to look forward to (to reward you for living up to those responsibilities).
As a person who plans ahead, you can imagine the love I have for the calendar in general. For many years that love manifested itself in the form of a Filofax (though quite a few models made their way into my heart and into my bag). About a year ago, I went digital — and I never looked back. Here’s why:
- I can color code without the markers. Back in my corporate days, I used to print out a clean calendar each month using Word’s Calendar Wizard feature. Then I took my markers, assigned a color to each project I was working on, and filled in the due dates. It was pretty to look at and made it visually clear which projects should be prioritized on a specific day. Happily, the folks over at Apple knew a few crazies like me, and let me set up my iCal to have multiple calendars, each assigned a different color.
- It’s easier than ever to remember an occasion. In my paper days, I always had to set aside some time to copy over all of the birthdays & anniversaries into the fresh pages of the new year’s calendar. Now that I’ve gone digital I can set these events up to repeat every year. If it’s a date that’s really important, I can set an alarm (I like to set it a few days in advance — it’s a good reminder to drop the card in the mail). And I have NO excuse not to remember my newly married friends’ anniversaries….I simply go to the entry with the details about their wedding, take out the location details, and edit it to repeat every year.
- Someone out there has already done a lot of the work for me. Want to know what date Memorial Day will fall on in 2012? How about game days for your favorite sports team? There’s a subscription calendar for that! Whether you use iCal or Outlook, you can subscribe to an internet calendar that will bring that information directly to the digital calendar you use everyday. Apple users can find calendars for download here. Outlooks users click here for more information.
Whether you do it digitally or on paper, keeping a calendar is key. Need help? Contact me at email@example.com!
Follow me on Twitter for a daily organizing tip! http://www.twitter.com/chaostheorynyc