Kat - EditorA couple of weeks ago, I graced the ePages of with a few tips on a major player in the game of pinching pennies: planning!

This week, we’re hitting on the next step… organization. YES, I’m going there. {You know all those little stacks and piles just aren’t going to work too much longer.} Eventually you’re going to have to do something with them. When that time comes, you’ll be thankful for this blog I promise.

Before I get into the organization tips I want to first address the following comment from a visitor of my previous post:

Curlie said: “Any meal tips for planning for the week. For me this is the hardest thing to do, yet many people do and I don’t understand how. Any advice??”

Curlie, when I plan for the week, I try to concentrate not only on FOOD, but on my daily schedule. I consider what days will be my most hectic and those are the days I plan things like chili cheese dogs, regular hot dogs, sandwiches, hamburger helper, or one of my meals in minutes recipes. One other important detail is whether or not I plan to work later than usual – if I have a website, article, or other deadline coming up I can count on staying up which means I will also be sleeping in {hehe} If I do, those will be the days I plan to have cereal for breakfast because the kids can do that themselves. Once I pencil in those meals, I fill in the rest of the meals with those things in mind. I make sure I don’t plan two heavy meals in the same day. If my schedule tells me we won’t be having a big lunch then I will plan on making a big dinner. The key is to keep mixing things up – try not to make the same things week after week. Use sites like Kraft or Tyson’s Embrace Dinner to get some fresh ideas to keep your family’s taste buds from dying of boredom!

The first thing you will need to take into consideration is RELEVANCE.

Do you NEED – or WILL you need – everything you are housing in all your piles around the house or all over your desk? Or are you simply a pack rat and don’t want to throw anything away “just in case” you may end up using it “eventually?” (Be honest!) If it isn’t relevant, GET RID OF IT!

Secondly, you need to look at SPACE.

Does everything that IS relevant, (and made the cut to be deemed keep-able) have its own place? If not, STOP right now and find a spot for everything because obviously you can’t put anything in its place if it doesn’t have a place. Keep reminding yourself that you need a place for everything and you need everything in its place!

Your final consideration needs to be given to PROCESSING.

Are you systematic about dealing with everything you’re bringing in your home or office? Without an understanding of how you plan to function with new material being brought in, your existing system of organization will FAIL.

  • LABEL your files: keep separate COLORED expanding folders categorizing your medical, financial, and miscellaneous records. Within those expanding folders, create sub-folders labeling the different types of files stored there (such as personal, spousal, or dependent medical records; tax (income), debt (notes), or recurring (bills) financial records; and keepsakes, lease, and other miscellaneous records) This makes it much easier to file away new paperwork rather than resorting to the “stacking” method!
  • SEPARATE food, clothes, and other stored materials: The three places many people seem to lose all sense of organization are the refrigerator/cupboards, drawers, and storage areas. Things tend to get thrown in and forgotten! In each of these areas, you should separate items based on their function and/or characteristics. This makes it much easier to “inventory” the items you have, locate them later, and increases the likelihood that you will actually use the items you have in your possession. Conversely, it will also increase the chances of recognizing items that have become irrelevant so that you are able to get rid of them.

SPRING CLEANING: At least once per year, go through your home and filter out old items to make room for the new. Take old belongings that are still usable to places like Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

Kathleen is the mom of five children and has been journaling her entire life, and thoroughly enjoying chronicling her “married mommy” life, through her blog, For the Love of Chaos. Being married to her high school sweetheart for 8 years with five kids (four girls – ages 1, 3, 6, and 9 – and one boy – age 7) they have the craziest existence of anyone she’s ever known.

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  1. Organization and multi-tasking is the key to my sanity and the source of most of my husabnd’s complaints. My life is ruled by lists and a black sharpie pen.

  2. Organization is NOT something I HAVE to have.I am as neat as 3 college kids throwing a party.Multi tasking however is a skill I need to keep because I got layed off 7/22/09 and now i’m a stay at home mom raising 2 amazing daughters.

  3. @Laura: Aww does it drive him crazy? LOL 🙂

    @Kenetha: Whoa! I need to get some tips from YOU! haha You’re a stay at home mom with two kids and you don’t feel the need to organize? My life would be sheer chaos {as if it’s not already, but even moreso} without strategic organization in my house haha 🙂 When things get out of order, it’s overwhelming… not to mention, impossible to *find* anything! haha As for multitasking, I think that’s just a requirement to be considered female LOL Women HAVE to multitask – I’m definitely with you there!

    Kat @ For the Love of Chaos |

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