Did you know that I actually have a pinterest board dedicated to being better organized?
It’s totally true, I swear!! I call it “Organization Is The Key”…..I stole that from a movie. The Dream Team. If you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing right now and go watch it, I’ll wait. Seriously, you can stream it on Amazon for like three bucks. Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Boyle and Stephen Furst are 4 mental patients on the loose in Manhattan. Hilarity ensues. Christopher Lloyd is a postal worker with OCD that likes to remind everyone that “Organization Is The Key” and, well……it’s stuck with me. I remember in high school when we would get big project assignments and teachers would say things like “be sure to organize your work”, a little voice in the back of my head would laugh maniacally and shriek (not unlike another Christopher Lloyd character........) “Organization Is The Key!”
So, yeah…..I’ve got this whole pinterest board dedicated to how I think I would like to organize things someday.
And I add things to it and laugh.
I’m going to take work out of the picture here because organization and meticulous attention to detail are pretty much a job requirement. I have a huge desk calendar so I can keep track of upcoming bxs that I need to collect from p@th0l0gy, I use post-it notes like crazy, spreadsheets for tracking what comes in and what goes out, packing supplies on the third shelf, cutting supplies on the second shelf, this side of my desk is for paperwork and that side of the desk is for cutting tissue – do not cross the beams and do not put shit on my desk when I’m not there.
Well, I guess you could say I'm not the most organized of domestic goddesses. My husband and oldest daughter are a huge help but really, I'm 38, I work full time, I’m in school half-time and I'm okay with the place not being perfect. I sort of long for for minimalism and organization but........we live here, I don't want it to be some perfectly ordered museum. Things come together when they need to.
All I really want is a peaceful start to our days.
When I was feeling my worst..........once dinner was done, I was done. Believe me when I say, I could not physically do another single thing.....there were days when I couldn't even manage dinner so I'd get home from work and we'd order....some nights, I couldn't eat.....some nights, I couldn't make it from the car to our apartment without help. The next morning, I'd roll out of bed and hobble around trying to get everything ready, get out clothes for myself, clothes for my youngest, get us ready, pack lunches and get out the door without anyone crying. It was not a great time in my life.
As I started to improve, the first thing I made sure I did before getting into bed every night was make sure clothes were laid out for myself and my 4 year old. It's not a huge project really, which should just go to show just how totally crappy I felt at my worst. I wear scrubs every day so I just have to pull out a set, get out clean socks and underwear and I'm ready. When I'm putting laundry away, I fold scrub sets together so I just have to grab and go, no digging through to find a set that matches when I'm falling asleep on my feet! I do the same with my little one's clothes. I go into her dresser and pull out ten or fifteen shirts and lay them out, then I pull out bottoms and put sets together. I fold each set of tops and bottoms together and put them into the bottom drawer of her dresser so that she can go in there each night and pick out what she wants to wear the next day.
Lunches were my next hurdle. I wanted to be able to just grab and go in the morning but I know that once I get my little one in bed, I'm not going back to the kitchen. There are still days when assembling dinner is about all I can do after work but most of the time now, I start packing lunches while dinner is cooking. I grab a couple of handy-dandy lunchboxes (affiliate link) and load them up with snacks and lunches for the next day or couple of days, depending what's on the menu. I bought these boxes (affiliate link) for the express purpose of not only having the divided container but for easy stackability in the fridge......so if I do a few days worth of lunches on Sunday, I don't have to search for lunch elements on Tuesday. I put lunch for the next day right into the lunch box and put it in the fridge so I can just grab it and walk out the door in the morning.
My oldest wears a uniform, even if it is sort of relaxed…..khaki or black pants – no yoga pants – with a polo shirt that has the school logo embroidered on it and the option of wearing a school hoodie over it, no open toed, open back shoes and no slippers…….she’s 15 so she kind of just does her own thing anyway. She gets up to her own alarm and gets herself ready…..if she likes what I pack for lunch in the evening, she gets the same thing…..if not, she either puts her own lunch together or takes advantage of the free lunch at school.
Mind you, I'm not saying it's all perfect. There are still mornings when I'm asking my oldest to put a cup of Beefaroni, a yogurt and a banana in my little one's lunch box while I'm digging through the bag of clean laundry that I have yet to put away, looking for a sort-of-similar pair of socks...........sometimes I think the little one thinks those are treat days. My goal isn’t being perfect, though…..my goal is to not be cranky. Because seriously, work and school are hard enough without starting off miserable before you even leave the house.
So with the new school year quickly approaching, my recommendations for everyone are these three habits:
1. You have to put your laundry away at some point. I think. If you are lucky enough to work where you can wear something super simple like scrubs, fold each set of pants and tops together before putting them away. Honestly, I usually stack mine on my side of the dresser and I just grab a set off the top of the pile. If you need to be a little dressier for work, assemble your ensemble and put it all on one hanger – heck, maybe even go an extra step and put your accessories around the hook.
Same thing with the littles clothes. I actually love doing this because my youngest has soooooooo many clothes (I heart hand-me-downs) so it makes it easy to rotate what she’s wearing and get everything on her at least once or twice before she outgrows it. I only have so many sets of scrubs so I just fold ‘em up and stack them. But for my youngest, I actually go into the dresser before I put the freshly washed stuff away and pull out shirts and bottoms to match up with them…..and she’s at the age now where she actually wants to help me match things up. Once I get outfits together for her, they go in the bottom drawer and then I put all the clean stuff in the drawers where it belongs.
2. Pack. Lunch. Ahead. I know it’s cliché. I know it’s the last thing you want to think about after working all day and making dinner and sorting through homework and getting done at swim practice and dance practice and Home and School meetings and all the other bullshit…….I know. And I resisted for so long. But once you do it, you’ll get it. Make it easy on yourself. Get some gear that makes you happy – I like these (affiliate link) because they are reusable and it’s just one container, not fifteen different things that fit inside each other with matching lids that the kids and teachers have to keep track of. I put one or two of them out on the counter while I’m making dinner and load them up as I go along. Some days it’s soft pretzels with ham spirals and cubed cheese, fresh strawberries and yogurt with a couple of fudge striped cookies; some days it’s PB&J with a Yoo-hoo, apple sauce and popcorn; some days it’s pre-leftovers of whatever the hell we’re having for dinner. *Note: If it’s something that needs to be heated, I do put it in a separate container so that the teachers don’t have to fuss to heat one part. See, for example, the strawberry shaped bento box (affiliate link) below, right - grapes, carrots and cookies in the top section and leftover baked macaroni with stewed tomatoes in the bottom section.
3. Remember all those outfits you put together when you were putting the laundry away? Before you go to bed, grab your set of scrubs off the pile, get out some fresh socks and underwear and set them all together in a happy place. I actually drape my scrubs (and bra) over my stationary bike and put the socks and unders in the pockets of the scrub top.
If I were the type that would be pulling assembled outfits out of the closet on hangers, I think I might put the hanger on the shower curtain rod – you’re going in there anyway, right? As part of my little one’s bedtime routine, she goes into the bottom drawer of the dresser and picks out what she wants to wear. She’s a big fan of dresses, too, so I always just keep them in plain sight on a little coat rack in case that’s what she’s feeling……the really nice thing about having all of her things together is if she wakes up and decides she doesn’t want to wear whatever she picked out, it’s easy to swap it out with something. Once she’s made her selection, she heads in to brush her teeth and I get out her socks and underwear and put them together with her outfit. I hear you screaming “What about the shooooooooes??!?!?” Well, I pretty much wear the same shoes every day. Because I hate shoes. I want something I can walk into and walk out of, no fuss no muss…..so I am all about cheap-knock-off-not-crocks – they keep the chemicals I work with off my toes and I can kick them off easy enough when I’m sitting at my desk. Everyone else’s shoes get lined up in our entryway because you just don’t wander around my home in shoes.
That’s all I’ve got for you right now. At the moment, we’ve only got dance class (Irish dancing) going on once a week for my youngest so I’m sort of blocking out activities planning at the moment. Once the school year actually begins, we’ll have swimming and orchestra for the oldest with some assistant coaching thrown in for her old cross country team and the youngest will have one more dance class (tap and ballet) pick up again…….and since I’ll be starting my Fall Semester at the same time………I’ll probably be looking for some new time management ideas!!!