Scheduling in a little organizational time will not only help you de-clutter your life. It will help you save money—all while gaining more hours in the day! But if you’re anything like us, staying organized is easier said than done. To lead us to a path of organizational freedom, we consulted with organizational expert Danielle Novi Heller. Danielle is the creator of the Smart Solutions Toolkit for Working Mothers, and we find that a lot of her tips apply to working women whether they have kids or not.
Designate A Weekly Preparation Day
Utilize a set time once a week (Sundays seem to work for most) as weekly preparation time. This is when the majority of organization and preparation for the seven days ahead should take place. This includes planning your schedule, reviewing your calendar, planning meals for the week, and organizing who is responsible for what tasks (both at home and at work). We are always amazed at how even a concentrated 30 minutes of our time can be so effective!
Using a weekly meal planner can be particularly helpful when you have a gaggle of kids! And even if you don’t, we all know planning ahead can help save big bucks. There is actually a weekly meal planner in the Smart Solutions Tool Kit—and you can check out a sample of it on her website. Creating a shopping list based on your menu for the week will not only save you time, but planning ahead also helps families eat healthier and save money. As we all know, it is often last-minute, rushed meals which are the unhealthiest and/or the most expensive.
Weekly Meal Prep Shelf
This may seem uber-organized (and it is!), but Danielle actually advises clearing out one shelf of your dry goods cabinet and designating it as your ‘weekly meal prep shelf.’ Danielle uses that shelf to organize the dry goods for the week’s lunches, dinners and snacks. She likes to pre-measure dry goods, like rice, for dinner and pre-pack kids’ snacks, like pretzels. Then, when packing lunches in the morning rush, all you have to do is gather refrigerated items and you are good to go. Of course, dinner is also streamlined by pre-measuring ingredients. Just make sure you label your food after measuring so you don’t forget how much is there—the last thing you need is to create unneeded chaos for yourself!
Preselect Outfits for the Week
For many women, getting dressed in the morning is not only challenging, but also a huge time stealer! Danielle swears you can decrease your morning stress by utilizing a weekly clothing planner, like the one in her kit. And of course, if you have kids, planning their outfits in advance will reduce stress and save loads of time. Many parents report that getting their younger children dressed in the morning is a major source of conflict—particularly if you have a budding fashionista on your hands! Danielle recommends using Days of the Week Labels to organize your child’s wardrobe for the upcoming week. Another idea for decreasing morning stress is to lay out the outfits for the week and allowing your child the choice of which day they wear which outfit.
Ready, Set, Clean!
Danielle recommends giving yourself a set amount of time to get cleaning and household chores done. She actually likes to set a timer while cleaning (as if you thought your day couldn’t get any more scheduled). But Danielle says it really does help keep you focused on the task at hand and not allow chores to steal time away from other important activities—we are so often guilty of this! How many times have we gone to clean out some clutter and gotten caught up in poring over old photos we have found?
Keeping your desk and your filing cabinets in order not only makes life easier when you need to find an important paper, but it creates a much calmer and more efficient place for you to work! Our friend Kathy recently came across an innovative company called the Neat Company—and of course we all wanted to know how they could help our organizational efforts!
It turns out that Neat’s products reduce paper clutter and keep finances in order—just what we need! Neat products scan receipts, paper documents, business cards, and everything is automatically inserted into the appropriate files, folders and spreadsheets created with Neat Network’s Software. Neat is perfect for tax time as the software automatically integrates with Quicken/ Mint.com and Turbo Tax for easy filing of all those receipts and financial documents. Sign us up!
*Reminder: In case you are audited by the IRS, make sure to also file and save any paper receipts that document any deductions reflected on your tax returns for seven years.
A Organizational Resolution!
We hope these Fab & Fru tips inspire you to also whip your organized self into shape for the new year! By scheduling your time and staying as clutter free as possible, you will not only save money by reducing the amount of last minute purchases and impulse buys—you will automatically simplify your life, thus gaining valuable hours to spend more time with friends & family.
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