In last month’s newsletter, I gave ideas for Ten Small Organizing Projects. The idea behind this is to inspire you to work on your organizing bit-by-bit, so that you can make progress over time. (If you didn’t read it, you might want to do so by clicking here, so you will follow my thoughts, below.)
One reader informed me that I gave “bad sock advice.” Her assertion was that my suggestion of limiting your sock colors to black, white and brown was too narrow. Therefore I want to clarify what I meant. First of all, I have no idea what colors your wardrobe includes, so I am not making fashion recommendations. What I really meant is that if your socks never make it from the dryer to the drawer, then you might want to simplify your color choices. Also, who says they have to be folded? If you have only two or three colors (in the same brand and style), then you can even dump them into the drawer, unfolded and unmatched. Done. From an organizing standpoint, the more simple a task is, the more likely you are to complete it. Of course, you can also make them as tidy as you wish.
There are many correct ways to organize!
The point of organizing is simply to find what you need, when you need it. You can organize “This Way” or “That Way,” and the choice is yours. Here are some ideas.
1. Grocery List:
This way: Use one of the smart phone grocery shopping apps. Look for one that allows you to save your favorites and that will sync with multiple devices. You can start your list on one device and then send it to your phone. You can also sync with other family members. Some have a bar-code scanner that will allow you to scan an item in your pantry and then add it to the shopping list. Out of Milk has a category sorting option (which you can use to make lists by store). Grocery IQ is available for either smart phone or online and includes integrated coupons.
That way: Create a master checklist, and print a bunch of copies. Store them in your pantry or kitchen desk. As you – or anyone in your household who can read – use up an item, you put a checkmark next to that item on the list. Write unusual items by hand. You can even separate it out by store sections or aisles, if you want to go that far.
2. To-Do List:
This way: One problem with to-do lists is that they include way too much. You can control this by breaking your list down into small bits, so that each project has multiple steps. For example, don’t write “Clean out Garage.” Instead, write “Clean out tool drawer.” Later you might write “organize laundry cabinet.” Think of the first action for each project and write that specific to-do on your list.
That way: Use your calendar instead of a to-do list. This gives you a self-imposed deadline and helps you focus only on that day’s chosen task. Once again, think of the first action and write that in your calendar.
3. Clothing Closet
This way: Some people like to organize their clothing by season. If you like that, you might want to switch your season-specific items (sweaters vs. shorts) out twice a year. The advantage is that you have easy access to the best items for the weather at the moment. The disadvantage is, of course, that you have to schlep your clothing twice a year.
That way: Create separate sections for short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops, jackets, t-shirts, bottoms, and dressy/occasional. I particularly like the Elfa Closet System from The Container Store, which allows you to have a combination of double-hanging and single hanging sections. You can read more about Elfa closet systems in my newsletter from 2010.
Remember, there is no single right way to organize. Do it this way…or do it that way!