I have an unpopular opinion, ok?
I hate the term “self-care”.
But hear me out...
I don’t actually hate taking care of yourself, treating yourself, or ensuring that you get time to be pampered- that’s all excellent stuff. I just really dislike the term “self-care”; it’s overused and annoyingly buzzwordy. Over the past year, most of us have been inundated with over-staged self-care photos, smug tips, and insanely expensive self-care products in our social media feeds.
I think a lot of people feel like they crave order in the daily chaos, but don't know where to start. And to be honest, a $7 bath bomb isn’t going to change your life. However, tackling a few manageable tasks can help you feel in control and like you have more of your life in order. It’s truly the best form of self-care.
Here are my 10 manageable tips on getting organized. Don’t try and tackle all of them at once, it can be overwhelming and might cause you to burn out. Like the expression says “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Take these tips in little bites until you feel confident tackling more of them.
1) Review your calendar for the week. Monday morning (or even Sunday night, unless you find it exasperates the ‘Sunday blues’) take a look through your weekly calendar. What’s on deck this week? What’s coming up next week?
Knowing what’s coming down the pipe helps you to be prepared and you're less likely to miss appointments or forget about scheduled phone calls if they are fresh in your memory. Then you can also schedule yourself time to review notes or prep information for your meetings or appointments.
2) Write out a to-do list for the day. Lists don’t need to be long, extensive, or overly detailed. A note with a few simple points can help motivate you to keep plugging away throughout the day.
3) Write out your goals for the week. Different than a to-do list - what do you hope to accomplish this week that would make you happy? Working out 3 times? Eating out only twice (instead of every day)? Post the note somewhere you can see it to keep your progress in check.
4) Break your bigger tasks into smaller pieces. All tasks can be manageable if you break them down into steps. The key is to not lose focus halfway through.
Let’s say you want to clean out your closet. Break the task down into steps such as sorting shoes into a keep or donate pile, drop off the donatable clothes at the thrift store, wipe down mirror, buy new hangers. Everything doesn’t need to be accomplished in one day, but keep ticking the tasks off your list to remain on track.
5) Create a solid morning routine. That snooze button is such a demon! Give yourself time to get ready in the morning - shower, get dressed, drink a glass of lemon water, make a good breakfast. Set the tone of your day first thing, instead of racing to the car with coffee in one hand and your hairbrush in the other. You will feel much more in control.
6) Fold and put away your laundry. Tasks don’t need to be hard to make a difference, sometimes the simplest tasks can make the biggest impact. Set a timer for when your laundry cycle is finished and fold your laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer. Your clothes will look better (less wrinkled), your space will look tidier, and you’ll know that you have clean things to wear. This is Basic Adulting 101.
7) Plan your outfits ahead. You know you have a 5 day work week - you will need at least 5 clean shirts. If you have an event to go to, plan something to wear a few days in advance so everything is clean, pressed, and ready to go. You can hang outfits on a single hanger so it's easy to grab and go in the morning - part of your morning routine!
8) Organize your drawers and closets. I just did this and honestly, it is heaven. Get rid of things that don’t fit, you don’t like, or are keeping for “someday they might fit”. You can sell, donate, or give away unwanted items - why not plan a clothing swap with friends? Ditch things that are stained or have holes or are just plain worn out. Fix broken buttons or zippers, hem too-long pants. Tackle the items that need attention until you have a wardrobe that really works for you.
Then use organizational tools like drawer dividers, hangers, jewelry or shoe storage boxes to keep your clothing tidy and in tip-top shape. Your closet is not a dumping ground! Create useable space for everything.
9) Do a daily 10-minute tidy. Put random things away. Wipe down all counter and table surfaces. Windex your mirrors. Sweep the floor. Do dishes. Throw laundry in a hamper. The more you clean - the cleaner things are! If you do just 10 minutes a day (maybe 15 if your place is large or you have a lot of family members or roommates) you will find that it truly will only take 10 minutes, you won’t need to dedicate hours to cleaning. Get your kids and housemates to help out - even 4-year-olds can put silverware away or gather up dirty clothes. Everyone is responsible for keeping their home neat.
10) Check your bank account. It is scary, I know. Budgeting and money cause people huge amounts of stress. However, using a budgeting app like Mint or even a basic spreadsheet can help you know where your money is going and what you currently have to spend so you don’t get overdrawn. Check it every few days and you can stay on top of any mysterious overcharges or fraudulent purchases. Money issues are not one of those things that ever get better if you try to ignore them!
As you can probably see, the overall theme is to stop yourself from scrambling. Day-to-day disorganization increases the feeling of chaos and disorder, which leads to stress and even depression. I hope these tips will give you a good foundation for getting your life in order and staying organized! While it may be quite a struggle in the beginning, the rewards will be worth it in the end.