Use Your Phone to Stay Organized

Here are several ways you can use your phone to stay organized and tackle your to-do list.

Welcome to my 14 Days of Organization series where I’m sharing tips, tools, and strategies to help you organize your home, your family, and your personal life!

Modern technology can handle a huge workload. Smart phones can assist with everything from managing your schedule to finding restaurant reviews to paying bills.

Technology is also portable in a way that wasn’t possible until fairly recently. The trick is to make our gadgets work for us in a way that actually helps us, rather than creating distractions. So how can you use your phone to stay organized??

Here are 5 ways I use my phone to keep my family organized.

1 | Reminders/Alarms

Personally, I prefer an old school planner for managing my schedule. I think more clearly when I write things out on paper. However, I also enter appointments into the calendar on my phone and set an alert.

I use the alarm feature to remind myself about important tasks, like giving one of my kids medicine. It’s a simple way to jog my memory so that if the day gets busy, things don’t slip through the cracks.

2 | mobile banking & money exchange apps

Gone are the days when you have to make a trip to the ATM or write a check to pitch in for a group gift.

With mobile banking and money exchange apps like Venmo, the process has been simplified tremendously. If you need to deposit a check, most major banking apps can handle this too.

3 | Coupon  & Store Apps

Who likes saving money?! I’m not a big coupon-user in general, and I am notoriously bad at remembering to bring coupons to the store.

Having an app that I can quickly search for deals while I’m at the store, is much more convenient. I also love the apps for stores like Michael’s that display current coupons and sales.

Instead of having to carry coupons around in case I happen to stop at Michael’s, I just check their app to see if there’s a coupon available.

4 | camera app

The camera on your phone can be used for a lot more than just snapping pix of your vacation. I use mine all the time to help me remember things when I’m out and about.

When we were renovating our kitchen, I’d snap a quick photo of the price and model number of a particular appliance or fixture that I liked. Back at home, I could take the info right from my picture to compare prices, look at reviews, and check dimensions.

5 | Shared Calendars

One tool that has been super helpful in our family is a shared calendar. My husband and I use a Google calendar, and I added the app on my phone.

Whenever we have an event or appointment that we both need to know about, we add it to our joint calendar. It’s much easier to make plans when I can quickly check the family calendar for any conflicts.

These are all simple ways to use your phone to make life easier. You don’t have to be super tech-savvy to find an app on your phone or set a reminder. Each of these tools will help cut down on paper clutter and make it easier to stay organized and tackle your to-do list.

Go HERE for a full list of posts from the 14 Days of Organization series.

How do you use your phone to simplify your life??

Here are several ways you can use your phone to stay organized and tackle your to-do list.
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3 Tips for Organizing Kid’s Rooms

Effectively organizing kid's rooms is all about having a plan. What has helped us the most is to create an organizational system that isn't beyond the capability of our kids.

Even as my kids get older, maintaining order in their bedrooms is a constant project. My daughter, the reader, has an ever-present stack of books next to her bed. My son, the lego master, can’t seem to contain all the parts to his little creations.

I waver between the role of nagging mom, gently (or not so gently) reminding them to pick up their stuff, and prison matron, standing over them as they clean up what has become an out-of-control disaster area.

What has helped us the most is to create an organizational system that isn’t beyond their capability. It doesn’t make them want to pick up, but at least they know where to put their things when the prison matron comes calling.

Here are my three tips to simplify the process of organizing kid’s rooms:

make the closet kid-friendly

organizing kid's rooms - closet organization - kids room organization - closet storage - kids storage - kids organization

I updated my 9 year old daughter’s room recently, and we installed a closet system by EasyClosets. You can read about the installation process here. We love it and plan on installing a system in my son’s room in the future.

I designed the layout so that my daughter can easily put away her own clothes. The hanging bars and drawers are easy for her to reach. The shelves keep her shoes from ending up in a pile on the floor. There’s so much storage now that she even has room for displaying favorite items.

Use Baskets & Bins

Using containers and bins makes it easier for little ones to put away toys in a semi-organized way. Labeling bins is a great idea, especially for younger kiddos. The pictures on these labels from IHeart Organizing lets kiddos know where toys need to go.

We used to separate legos by color and honestly, it just didn’t work for us. Whenever it was time to clean up, my little guy was so overwhelmed at the thought of having to sort them all that it was a fight to get it done. We finally agreed that they didn’t need to be separated that way and it hasn’t caused any problems since.

Effectively organizing kid's rooms is all about having a plan. What has helped us the most is to create an organizational system that isn't beyond the capability of our kids.

teach kids what you mean by “clean”

Whenever I tell my daughter that she needs to clean up her room, she asks if I mean a quick tidy-up or “spic and span and spotless” (her words, not mine.) My answer helps her gauge how much work needs to be done.

Many times over the years, I’ve helped both my kids do a deep clean of their bedrooms. We go through every bin and drawer, toss or donate old toys and clothes, and clean every nook and cranny. But the day-to-day cleaning I ask them to do is far more simple.

I’ve learned that it helps to be specific about what I want them to do. “Put away your clean laundry and pick up the toys on the floor,” feels a lot more manageable to a child than walking into a messy room without any direction.

Organizing kid’s rooms is one of those jobs that starts out as yours and can eventually become your kids’ responsibility. By putting systems in place that they can understand, it’s more likely that they will actually keep their room in order.

Be sure to check out all 14 Days of Organization!

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14 Days of Organization

We're talking about all things organization for 14 days.

Today I’m kicking off a 14-day series all about organization! For a busy mama, organizational skills can be literally life-changing. I’m not exaggerating.

When my life is organized, my stress level is dramatically lower. I feel more relaxed when I know that I’m prepared and that nothing is slipping through the cracks.

So, for the next couple weeks, I’ll be sharing the tips and strategies I use to keep my home, family, and personal life in order.

My goal is not perfection. Honestly, organization doesn’t come easily to me. It takes effort to keep my life in order, and sometimes I fail miserably.

But I do want to be thoughtful and purposeful about how I manage our home so that our family can live in a more peaceful environment. With organization comes order, and with order comes peace.

Before we launch into the first area of organization tomorrow, I want to point out a few possible challenges.

1 | You don’t have a system

Unless you’re already fairly organized, conquering problem areas without a strategy can be daunting. Without a plan of action, it’s hard to know where to start.

If clutter is your main issue, for example, you can’t expect to clear out all the clutter in the entire house in one day. For one thing, you most likely have other responsibilities that can’t fall by the wayside.

Instead of trying to tackle a monstrous project all at once, break it into manageable pieces so that you can make progress while also handling other tasks, like feeding your kids 😉

2 | You have too much stuff

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this one. We simply accumulate too much stuff. Instead of ever feeling truly organized, I end up moving things around to make room for the stuff that feels most important at the time.

My husband calls this process “s#@t shuffling” and it’s pretty accurate. I have a hard time getting rid of things that I think I might use one day so I try to make room for new stuff by shuffling the existing things around.

The best way to solve this problem is to start limiting the amount of stuff you own. For example, when new toys come in, get rid of the old toys that the kids no longer use. New clothes replace old items in the closet. An updated kitchen tool takes the place of the old version.

I’m prone to buying home decor items without having an immediate need for them just because they’re pretty. I would serve our home organization better by only buying what I will actually use.

If there’s not an immediate use (a seasonal item is a good example) then I need to get rid of something I no longer want to make room for the new item.

3 | You spend more time planning than doing

In our Pinterest-driven world, it’s so easy to scroll through hours of inspiration for any project on your to-do list. And let’s be honest, sometimes that’s much easier than actually doing what you need to do.

It can be a lot more fun looking at other peoples’ beautifully organized pantries than doing the hard work of organizing our own, am I right?!

The problem is that we spend so much time acquiring information, we can get stuck. This is called “analysis paralysis,” which basically means you’re so focused on forming the perfect strategy that you never move into the execution phase of the project. #guilty

Reading about how to use your day planner effectively is not helpful if you never start using your day planner. You have to move from strategizing to implementing if you want to accomplish your goals.

I’m really excited for this next couple of weeks to reinvigorate my own systems of organization and to encourage you to do the same!


Check out all the 14 days of Organization posts!

4 Easy Steps to Get Your Bedroom Closet Organized

3 Steps for Simple Linen Cabinet Organization

3 Tips for Organizing Kid’s Rooms

How to Keep Your Car Organized

Purse Essentials: What You Need & How to Stay Organized

Use Your Phone to Stay Organized

5 Easy Ways to Protect Your Home When You Travel

How to Pack for a Family Vacation

How to Plan an Effective Schedule

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Organized in the New Year

Happy New Year! The organizing nerd in me loves this time of year. After the relative chaos of the holiday season, however fun and magical it may be, I find it cathartic to put things back in their place once all the Christmas decor is taken down. Similar to the start of a new school year, the beginning of the new calendar year seems like the perfect time to get organized. It’s also a great time to make plans for the year.

Setting Goals

I’ve been reading a lot about setting goals lately. I’ve always liked making resolutions at the start of a new year, but I have a hard time following through because a resolution is simply a starting point. Goal-setting is like making a plan of action for turning a resolution into reality.

One of my favorite bloggers, Abby, from Just A Girl and Her Blog, has some fantastic posts about how to set and accomplish your goals. One of her best suggestions in this post is to start with big picture goals and then narrow them down into monthly, weekly and even daily steps. She even created a goal-oriented printable planner for 2016 called The Intentional Life Planner. I’m a little embarrassed to say how excited I was to print it out and start filling it in.

A printable planner perfect for planning your day and setting goals.

I love the feeling that the week is a blank slate… even though it is quickly filled with the kids’ activities and all sorts of grownup responsibilities. #itshardtobeanadult There are two sizes available and I chose the smaller option so I could fit it in my bag easily.

Household Binder

In addition to my planner, I have a household binder that I use to keep track of bills, school info, and my cleaning schedule. I found the printables I use at Organizing Homelife. There are several that I use in my binder and there are many more to choose from.

daily chore list

I use a plastic sheet protector so that I can check things off without having to reprint them each week. Am I the only one who loves to check items off a list?? TIP: You can use a sharpie on plastic sheet protectors and it comes off easily with rubbing alcohol.

Cleaning Schedule

The daily tasks are basic housekeeping chores, while the weekly list maps out which area of the house gets cleaned on which day. This might seem incredibly anal to some people, but it’s so much easier for me to ensure that all rooms get cleaned regularly. I don’t follow this schedule to a tee, but checking things off gives me an idea of not only what needs to be done, but how much cleaning I might need to do on a given day.

monthly chore page

The weekly chore list helps me maintain a clean home for my family. The monthly zone list takes cleaning up a notch so that all the different areas of our home get a thorough deep-cleaning once a month. For example, I vacuum our living room often because we have two young children and a dog. I only vacuum behind the sofa once a month.

I use my planner to jot down the cleaning tasks I need to do so that time for cleaning is part of my daily schedule. This gives you an idea of how I’m making my goal to be more organized in 2016 party of my daily schedule.

What tricks or tips do you have for achieving your goals??

 

{Linking to The Creative Gallery, Work It Wednesday}

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Food Storage Revamp

Today I had the chance to go grocery shopping by myself. You know you’re a mom of small children when going to the grocery store alone feels like a vacation! When I got home and put everything away, I realized it was time for some major fridge reorganization. Food storage can turn into chaos quickly. First I grabbed a few pictures for inspiration off Pinterest.

I searched for side by side examples because that’s the style we have. I included the last example even though it’s french door style because it has some good tips about actual food storage. In the name of keeping it real, here are the before pix of my fridge and freezer. I love them being full, but hate that all the organizing I’ve done in the past has kind of fallen to the wayside.

Time for some fridge organization. Check out these before and after photos.

Time for some fridge organization. Check out these before and after photos.

Freezer reorganization.

Umm…. whoa. The freezer alone looks like it could all come tumbling out at any minute.

First, I tossed out anything expired or questionable. Then I grouped similar food items together. I used plastic bins to corral packaged items. I removed the fruits and veggies from their plastic bags so we can see what we have.

Time for some fridge organization. Check out these before and after photos.

Time for some fridge organization. Check out these before and after photos.

Time for some fridge organization. Check out these before and after photos.

Time for some fridge organization. Check out these before and after photos.

Each week I check for any food that needs to be thrown out on the night before the trash gets picked up. I also remove unnecessary packaging just to carve out space. It’s also easier to see what you have if it’s not in a box.

What are you tricks and tips for keeping your fridge organized?

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