Organization 101: Get Your Life Organized with a Personal Concierge
Do you relish alphabetizing your spices and rearranging your Tupperware cabinet on a rainy Saturday afternoon? Is poring over your calendar to make sure you have all the important dates and events lined up your idea of a party? Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with us!
If, on the other hand, hunkering down and getting organized is more like eating your veggies—you know it’s good for you, but you’d simply rather not—well, that’s OK, too. Maybe you’re even one of those highly creative, artistic types with papers flying, dashing to an important meeting you know you have first thing in the morning, but you just can’t quite recall with whom. And don’t ask when you last had your tires rotated!
Organization doesn’t come naturally for everyone, but most of us admit (even if begrudgingly) that being better organized frees us up to do more of what we love and reduces frustration and wasted resources. Organization brings a feeling of calm to our day.
We at Monogram Concierge recognize the value of being organized and appreciate how, with a little effort, organization yields more discretionary time for us to give to the things we love most. That’s why we offer our Essentials Maintenance program: to help our clients get their basic life tasks on a calendar, make routine chores feel more routine, and refine the process to create greater flexibility and freedom for our clients.
Tips for A Simple, Stress-Free Organized Life
Organizing your life according to the annual calendar is one great approach to getting things in order. Try grouping tasks according to when and how frequently they occur. Here’s some ideas that you might find helpful:
Plan Your Annual Tasks for a More Organized Year
There are a few biggies that loom over us and can seem daunting. Good thing they only happen once a year. Taxes. Cleaning out the garage. Even worse—the dreaded physical exam. Start with a list of all the tasks and appointments you need to tend to on an annual basis. Then break the tasks down into the months they typically happen. If they do not have a set due date, great—you can pepper them throughout the year to reduce stress and bottle-necking.
Maybe your birthday is a good time. The beginning of spring, or the New Year, can both be perfect, symbolic times to start something new. Or the long dark winter evenings might be a good time for certain indoor projects.
Consider these organizing projects we recommend doing annually:
- Identify birthdays, anniversaries, and other annual celebrations. It is so easy to let these important dates sneak up on us, and become belated well wishes. Missing these special times can cause us to feel guilty. Review a list of these at the beginning of the year and mark them on your calendar. Some people find it helpful to do one big shopping trip for all the cards and gifts at once and then send them out at the appointed time. One of the first things we do in our initial Beautiful Beginnings session is get all of your important annual dates and social events on the calendar. Letting your personal concierge assist you with the shopping and mailing can also be a huge help.
- Make appointments for annual physicals, dental cleanings, and vet checks. It isn’t always possible or practical to schedule doctors’ appointments a year out, but whenever you can, it is good to do so. The health and well-being of you and your family members (including the furry ones) is top priority. By planning well in advance, you will have more flexibility in appointment times that work with your schedule.
- Clean out your closet. Admit it—if you haven’t worn it in the last year, you probably aren’t going to. You’ll enjoy the extra closet space, and you can feel good about making a tax-deductible donation to your favorite charity. The same idea can be applied to your bookshelves, your pantries, and other areas in your house. If it has been there for a year plus, and you haven’t looked at it, eaten it, or used it, it’s not likely you will.
- Get your cars serviced. You take yourself to the doctor once a year even if you aren’t sick (and if you don’t, then add it ASAP to this list). The same principle applies to your vehicle. Instead of waiting until you have a problem, be proactive. You can extend the life of your car, avoid dangerous and inconvenient breakdowns, and likely save money in the long-run by planning to have your automobile checked over and serviced by a trusted mechanic every year.
- Review your big goals. We all have a Bucket List. If yours isn’t written down, it should be. Some families like creating a Vision Board for this purpose and display it in a conspicuous place where it can keep everyone reminded of the big goals. Being mindful of your aspirations moves you closer to realizing them. Do you want to go on a big trip? Write your novel? Run a marathon? An annual review and reevaluation can be invaluable. What are the next steps? Are you any closer this year than last? What are the tasks and disciplines that can be worked into your daily and weekly schedules so that by next year’s review, this goal can be checked off—or at least be much closer to being realized.
Other tasks you might do annually include chimney cleanings, garage organizing, paying taxes, renewing pest control contracts, registering and getting vehicles inspected, ordering season tickets to sporting events or concerts, etc. We are at the ready to help you with all of these.
Quarterly Tasks That Will Keep You Organized
There are some tasks that need to be done regularly, but that are easy to let slip. The idea here is to deal with things that are important before they become a crisis. Or, to identify the subtle things that maybe aren’t important or urgent, but could become so down the road.
Here are a few tasks you might take on quarterly:
- Make backups. Especially in this modern age, virtually everything that’s important is worth having copies of. This includes digital backups of important documents and cherished family photos stored on an external hard drive or cloud-based system. Not only can this reduce clutter in your space, but it can provide peace of mind as well.
- Check expiration dates on foods and medicines. The time to throw things out and replace them is before they’ve gone so bad that you can’t help but notice. If you are afraid you’ll forget, mark your calendar every few months with a reminder. Fun calendar stickers are a handy memory jogger for this and other tasks and dates.
- Unsubscribe. How much time and space in your life (and inbox) is getting eaten up by magazines, catalogs, newsletters, and spam that you don’t read (or need to). Save yourself time and money by collecting them all in one place over the course of a few months. Then sort through which ones provide genuine value and which prevent it. The next step will take some time, and is a worthwhile task your personal concierge can take on. You guessed it—unsubscribing means a phone call (or email) to each and every unwanted magazine or catalog company.
Other quarterly tasks might include getting your engine oil changed, checking light bulbs and smoke alarm batteries, cleaning your gutters, and washing windows. And ladies, don’t forget getting those roots done!
Stay on Top of These Monthly Organizational Tasks
Getting certain tasks taken care of on a monthly basis will make your life run more smoothly. They are tasks that might be managed on a daily basis or as they make their way to the top of the urgent list, but will reduce stress when handled ahead of time with intention.
Possible monthly tasks you can add to your calendar include:
- Menu planning and grocery shopping. When daily and weekly life get overwhelmed by music lessons, work schedules, soccer games, homework, PTA meetings, choir practice, etc, preparing meals can be the last thing you feel like doing. That’s when we are most likely to get sucked into fast food shortcuts that are not in the best interest of our family’s long-term health. By planning a monthly menu and shopping accordingly each week, you are better prepared to anticipate those busy nights and have something made ahead you can pull from the freezer.
- Budgeting and bill paying. Of course, we all know we should do a monthly budget, but the smart organizer deals with all money matters and bills only once, on the same day every month. Put it on your calendar and use your bank’s secure, online bill pay feature to schedule monthly payments.
- Scheduling playdates. All work and no play. Social interaction is a critical component in our overall happiness, and if we do not plan it intentionally, it can easily get neglected when life is busy. So, with a calendar in hand, pick a time or two each month where you can schedule a lunch date or power walk with a good friend, have a favorite couple over for dinner, or go out for Trivia Night. Choose a Saturday when you can host your child’s friend for a playdate. And don’t forget to plan playdates with your own family members—it’s important, too!
Other common monthly tasks you can schedule ahead of time include replacing the air filters in your home and scheduling a monthly subscription order for household items you use regularly, such as trash bags, dish detergent, and paper towels. As a bonus, these subscription services also save you money. Your particular obligations and responsibilities may lend themselves to being added to your monthly organizational list. Be creative!
Daily Organizational Tasks:
There’s no way around it. Even if you get most recurring tasks scheduled out on the calendar, you’ll likely still need the Daily To Do List. At the end of each day, you can pat yourself for all the items you checked off during the day and rest easy knowing your list kept you from forgetting important tasks and appointments.
Everyone’s To Do List is different and is simply a reflection on what’s going on in your life. Giving your day’s list a glance the night before may help reduce stress and anxiety when you awake. You will go to bed having your head wrapped around your next 24 hours, which will stave off surprises and add some calm to your morning.
Here are a few things you might want to include on a daily list:
- House maintenance chores like laundry, ironing, cleaning bathrooms, watering plants. By spacing over multiple days, you can keep these tasks at a manageable level for your week.
- Appointments and social obligations.
- Errands and phone calls.
- Lessons, practices, games for the kiddos.
These are all, of course, just suggestions. There are as many ways to organize your life and schedule as there are personality types. You may find another system that works best for you.
No matter how you manage your days, Monogram Concierge is well prepared to assist you in creating an organizational system that suits you and your family best. Contact us for an initial consultation. We can help you identify the areas of your life that can most benefit from a good plan of organization. Next, we can tailor a system just for you. Finally, we can be an integral team member in sustaining your plan over the long haul.