Project Get OrganisedPosted: 07/01/2014
I am a sucker for new year’s resolutions. I always make at least five. My husband on the other hand has made only one this year. In his view, it’s far better to have one resolution to really focus on than lots that fall by the wayside. As several of my resolutions are ‘do overs’ from previous years – most notably ‘Be More Organised’ which has been a fixture on my list since I was about twelve – he may have a point. I am ever the optimist, though, and have my pledges for 2014 ready. But this year, I am approaching it all slightly differently.
I have concluded that a vague ‘be more organised’ will probably never evolve into the ordered and smooth-running life I visualise. No, my resolutions need to be SMART. That’s right. I am applying everything I ever learnt about setting objectives in my work appraisals to this annual exercise. I am getting Specific; I am ready to Measure my progress; I am ensuring any resolutions are Achieveable and Realistic. Oh, and they are of course Time Bound, as they all need to have been ticked off by the time 2015 rolls around.
Sorry, taking this all too seriously? Me?
OK, maybe it would be a little over the top to subject all my new year’s resolutions to the scrutiny of SMART. But I have decided to think a little more carefully about what I really want from 2014. One thing that has become very clear over the last twelve months is how my old faithful ‘be more organised’ would actually really benefit our family life these days. With that in mind, I have been pondering some more specific, smart ways in which to make it happen.
The answer, I am sure, lies in making some lists.
First, there must be a list of all the lists I will need to make in order to become an organised person. I won’t reprint here all the items I have on this (it is quite long) but here are my top five to give you the gist:
1. The housework list – to remind me of all the chores that I really should be completing each week.
Instead of letting the housework pile up until Operation Clean The House becomes a mammoth task requiring an entire day to carry out, my plan is to break it up into small, manageable daily tasks. Genius! Why has this never occurred to me before? Now, I have to admit that the housework list has been in place for a week and I haven’t actually accomplished many (any) of my daily tasks on schedule, but I am not ready to give this one up yet. The Husband is not convinced; I have printed it out and stuck it onto the fridge, so that should tell you how serious I am about it.
2. The weekly meal plan – to make cooking our family dinners a breeze.
5pm in our house often looks like this: me, realising that I have forgotten to defrost anything for dinner, frantically racking my brains as to what exactly I can rustle up, all the while dealing with an increasingly grumpy toddler who is either hanging off my leg, emptying all the cupboards in the kitchen or being very vocal about her displeasure that I am no longer entertaining her. Under the new system, I shall be able to glance at my meal planner at some point during the day (also stuck on the fridge) and know instantly what I will be preparing later, and feel confident that I have all the ingredients necessary for this (as the meal planner will feed – pardon the pun – into my weekly shopping list). 5pm will be transformed.
3. The ‘evening checklist’ – to remind us of all the things we should do before we can relax and call it a day.
The way I see it, if we spend a bit of time every evening getting ourselves organised for the next day, it will make our lives a lot easier. For example, if I actually emptied my mummy rugsack and replenished it before I needed it first thing in the morning, I wouldn’t have to run around like a maniac at 9am, be approximately ten-fifteen minutes late for all appointments that day and feel that the effort of leaving the house is really sometimes just not worth it. I believe the evening checklist could truly transform our lives so that we start each day fresh, rather than on the back foot. Yes, the fridge is getting a little crowded and yes, there is the small matter of being so completely knackered by 7pm that all we want to do is collapse, but apart from that I can really see this one working.
4. The ‘to do’ list – to keep track of all the jobs we will never get round to doing need to do.
The Husband and I will often discuss all those little odd jobs that would really help with the smooth running of our household; the corners of chaos that we need to organise; the projects that would improve our home. We then get swallowed up by every day life, promptly forgetting the brilliant list of things we’ve come up with, until our next discussion at dinner or in the car or somewhere else where the action points will remain purely hypothetical. It’s like Groundhog Day. At least with an ongoing list in place we can avoid repeating ourselves and talk about something more fun.
5. The ‘to buy’ list – all the items we need to purchase to help us become more organised.
The solution to managing the mountains of stuff that we have somehow accumulated is, obviously, to get more stuff. This may sound counter-productive but the purpose of the new stuff is to contain the old stuff. I’m talking about clever Storage Solutions and Filing Systems. These will help to transform the disordered chaos we seem to live in into neatly contained order. Now, I am not going to be put off by the fact that one of these ideas, the Crap Box, isn’t proving as successful as I hoped. I spotted it on Pinterest and thought it was perfect: a box or basket that you pile everything in that hasn’t got an immediate home. This allows you to whisk it all neatly away until you can sort through it properly. The problem we have discovered is that our crap boxes (yes, we have several) have become full of things that we really don’t have anywhere else to put. They are now mainly residing in our junk room (aka the ‘spare room’). Hmm. A careful rethink is needed of all the new stuff we can buy to solve this issue.
Despite the fact that the obvious flaw in this flurry of list making is that we are not so good at putting the plans into action, I am determined that 2014 is going to see a substantially more organised me. Pinterest, as always, offers a plethora of inspirational ideas that I have carefully pinned to help me in my quest, so it is surely only a matter of time (twelve months, to be exact) before I can cross ‘be more organised’ off my yearly resolutions list…