Could you use more hours in a day? I know I could! Have a look through the list of my top 7 tried and tested life & home organizing hacks to get time back and do more of what you love.
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Home and life organizing hacks.
Looking for easy wins? Easy adjustments you can make to simplify your life, free some time and enjoy more of the things you love?
My kids were always complaining that I didn’t spend enough time with them! I made them a promise that we would do more things together, share more time and make more memories. This got me thinking about ways I could use to make my life more efficient. What could I automate so I wouldn’t get distracted and get to the end of the day with nothing done? With these, organizing hacks I have gained more freedom and time with those I love!
Ok, what is this about then? 7 adjustments you can make to get stuff done!
- Have a consistent morning routine – start your day the right way!
- Time block your activities – don’t let distractions get hold of your time.
- Plan ahead – set one weekday evening to plan the following week.
- Start a meal plan – this one will save you so much time and money!
- Have a home master log – it will be there, ready, just when you need it the most.
- Delegate chores – set up child-appropriate chores and teach accountability.
- Have a cleaning and organisation schedule that works for you and your family.
Have a consistent morning routine – life & home organising hack #1
Having a morning routine is perhaps the biggest change I have made since I started working from home! This small change really impacted my productivity and helps me stay on track for the rest of the day. I’m not going to lie to you, sometimes I fail and have a lazy day! Also, most of my weekends are completely unplanned. Since I started a morning routine, my days are more productive and I feel better about myself! Below is my routine as an example:
- Wake up: 5.30 am (I have a glass of warm water with lemon juice).
- Exercise: 10 to 15 minutes of focused exercise – I normally do Yoga or Pilates.
- Meditation: 10 minutes – I take just 10 minutes to focus on my body and breathing. This step did not come naturally to me but has helped me massively with migraines (that I have less frequently now).
- Motivational reading: 10 minutes – I have a few apps that I use for motivational reading or listening. I love audiobooks for this and use them almost every day.
- Breakfast: 6.00 am – I’m a coffee person, normally, I will have 4 to 6 cups a day. While I drink my quiet coffee, I read the news and check my personal messages.
- Getting kids ready for school: 30 – 40 minutes – both my children can get ready for school on their own, my help is more in making sure they prepare their bags and lunch boxes the day before and that they have all they need ready to go. I normally have another coffee whilst they are having breakfast and we chat about their day.
- Ready to start the day: 7.00 am – shower and getting ready are quick tasks for me. I do my bed, tidy the kitchen and do a once over on the other rooms. When I start working I’m not thinking about what needs to be done in the house! At this point, I also check my main planner to see if I have all I’ll need for our meals (in case I forgot something).
- 8.00 am work time – I start by reviewing my to-do list for the day and prioritize tasks that need more focus.
Time block your activities – life & home organising hack #2
Time blocking is new to me and I love it! It makes so much sense to set specific time slots to do what needs to be done with no distractions. I have tried a few different apps for this but and Time Tune is the best as it allows you to create a routine and allocate that routine to the days you want, for example, if like me your Wednesdays and Fridays are slightly different from your Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, this works brilliantly and it is very easy to set up too.
I have a short attention span, so tend to set up 10, 15 and 30-minute time blocks. During that time, I make sure I don’t do any other activities. This has really improved my productivity! I can reward myself with a 5-minute break, knowing that I’m on track on my tasks for the day.
I use Time Tune to set blocks to reply to comments, work on social media, schedule posts and even cleaning and tidying the house!
Plan ahead – life & home organizing hack #3
I’m big on planning but I still have some work to do on following through! Now, this I do most weeks and when I fail to do it, I always, always regret…
Most people will advise you to do your planning on Saturday evening or Sunday night but I much prefer doing it on a Friday afternoon or evening, if I’m not going out. There are two main reasons for this preference: 1) I like to have an unplanned weekend, so if I forget to do it over the weekend, the following week is a nightmare. 2) I do my meal planning at this point too, if I do it on a Saturday, then my weekly shopping has to be done on Sunday and I hate doing that.
How to plan for the week.
There is not much to it really, first I look at my calendar and any appointments I might have for the week – I use Google calendar for daily tasks, Time Tune for routines and this Magnetic Weekly Planner Fridge Whiteboard to keep the family updated, display family appointments and daily meals.
You might think this is OTT but if you get into the habit of planning it during the week, 30 minutes is all you will need to get the following week sorted and it is one less worry on your shoulders!
Start a meal plan – life & home organizing hack #4
There are many ways you can automate and simplify meal planning and most of them will bring you overall benefits anyway when compared with no planning at all!
I use a mixture of apps, books and recycled meal plans as I have been planning for a while now. But before we go into the details of meal-planning “science”, you need to know what you have in your cupboard, fridge and freezer so you can use what you already have. This will save you money every time and avoid you wasting food. Download our free meal plan here.
- Memorize what you have for main ingredients, then you can use the Magic Fridge app to find recipes using the ingredients you already have.
- Make a note of any additional items you will need for the week (this should make up the start of your shopping list).
- Mix recipes so you have a balanced meal plan for the week.
I personally, try to alternate between meat and fish days and have one day with no meat or fish. You can also make larger portions to box and have it ready for lunch boxes the following day. I only plan dinner meals because we are all busy during the day…
An example menu could be:
- Monday: Meatloaf with mash potato & mixed salad.
- Tuesday: Cod loins with roast veg.
- Wednesday: Beetroot, Goat cheese & Walnut tart with mixed salad.
- Thursday: Chicken and Spinach penne.
- Friday: Homemade fish fingers & pea rice.
Looking for economical recipe ideas? Look at this article about easy recipes made with very little.
Have a home master log – life & home organizing hack #5
Do you remember your car insurance renewal date? What about your Dentist or GP Surgery phone number? Home Insurance, Car Insurance? Yep, me neither! And it’s always when you really need any of these that you realise you have no idea where the numbers are or even what company to call, yep, maybe that’s just me!
I now have an Emergency Contact Card and all the details are in one place, ready to be used when I most need it. This is great as it stays on the side of our fridge and all the family has access to it. Another easy fix, you update it when something changes and don’t have to think about it until you need to use it!
Delegate chores – life & home organizing hack #6
All mums have their own opinions on how to raise their children, should they be doing chores, will they be traumatized for life if we force them to do chores? How many chores should they do in a week? Should we pay them? When is the right age to start… It’s never-ending and no matter which way you decide to go, there will be guilt involved!
So you see where this is going, right? Yes, we share tasks and kids have chores as do I. Do we like them? Nah! None of us does! But we all contribute with what we can do. My daughter is 10 yo and empties the dishwasher every day, she cleans her room weekly, dusts, hoovers and mops the stairs weekly too and helps me hang her clothes (mostly because she sticks her clothes in the basket all inside each other!). My son is 13 yo and also cleans his room plus the bathroom weekly, sorts out the rubbish, clears the table after meals and goes to the shop when I have forgotten an ingredient or something else…
These are all chores that they have agreed to take, out of a larger list of chores we have. Once they saw that I too have chores, they picked the ones that made more sense to them and seemed the easiest.
We added these chores to the master family planner – for example, Wednesdays and Fridays are the days we do most chores – on Wednesdays, we clean our Bedrooms and tidy the other living areas and on Fridays, we clean Kitchen, Bathrooms and living areas. I add chores to my Magnetic Weekly Planner Fridge Whiteboard.
Have a cleaning and organization schedule – life & home organizing hack #7
So what does this mean? It means that you can organise cleaning jobs around the time-frames that work for you and your family. This will make you save time and also money, you won’t need to have a cleaning lady or take a full day to clean your house each week.
Do a little every day so you can keep on top of everything, ask your family to do the same. For example, tidy the kitchen and living areas daily before you go to sleep. Get the dishes in the machine or wash them. Get the sofas sorted, put toys away and clear all the surfaces. For the main cleaning tasks, schedule a few each day, if you can, if you work full time and have the weekends free, try to do as much as possible during the week so you can enjoy the weekends! Add tasks to the planner too so all the family can see them and tick each task as they are completed!
So you have a steady morning routine, plan your week ahead, have all you need for the meals you are cooking during the week and your house is clean! Congratulations, you have done great so far! How do you feel when you look in more detail? Are your cupboards in order? Your drawers organised? What about your finances, do you check your paperwork and bank account regularly?
I don’t think many of us do these things regularly or as often as we should and then they just become a weight on our shoulders.
Divide and conquer!
Set up an organisation schedule, for example, every three months clean the inside of the kitchen cupboards and drawers. Every six months go through your clothes and sort them. Sell anything you have not worn in the past six months and is in season, you will probably not going to wear it again. Add these tasks to your digital planner and set reminders for them. I have made over £500.00, in the past three months just by sorting my kid’s toys and clothes and posting them on eBay. Now even my kids want to organise their stuff so they can also make some money!
I have divided organisation tasks into monthly tasks; bi-monthly tasks and bi-annual tasks. Having this schedule both for bigger cleaning jobs and organisation jobs has really helped me to keep on top of everything.
I know, there is quite a lot to digest in this post! Start small and with a purpose, and if you fall, start again. I’m not as organised as that… I know what needs doing and how to do it, but spending time with the kids, reading another article or just hoovering the stairs – did I mention, I have a long hair German-Sheperd! – always seems to come first…
Want to know some of the things that make my life easier? See the Shop and you can get some of the items I use for getting organized.
Keeping in touch…
I would love to hear about anything you are planning to, or have simplified this year. Send me your stories, photos or comments and if you enjoyed this post please save it and share it!