Many of us set out to create goals and routines in the new year. And that’s great! But I believe that true change comes in the little things that you accomplish every day. And it doesn’t have to be a huge “resolution.” It can be as simple as tweaking your day to be just a little more focused on your new habits and routines, and including just a few more minutes of organization here and there.
Here are my top 5 things I do daily that help me stay motivated and organized in my routine:
1. Make the bed in the morning
This is an old classic task that many have said is worth doing every single day. Whether it increases productivity or not – I’m not sure. But I do know that it feels really good to walk into the bedroom throughout the day and see a clean, organized bed! There is also something about turning down a made bed every night that feels refreshing.
2. Manage a running list during the day
There is nothing I hate more than a Sunday morning that I have to spend putting together the grocery + supply list. I can’t remember if we have enough toilet paper to get through the next week and I surely don’t know if we have extra toothpaste in the cabinet or not.
That’s why I prefer to always keep a running list of things we need. If I restock the bathrooms with TP and notice that the cabinet is running low, I add it to the list right then and there. Same with any shower supplies or razors.
I like to keep a list either in my Notes app on my phone or on a small whiteboard we keep on the side of the fridge (same place we write down our meals for the week). It’s such a great way to be on top of your shopping lists with minimal effort on grocery shopping days.
3. Clear kitchen countertops + sink at night
Confession… I really don’t like doing dishes. But you know what I dislike even more? Coming downstairs in the morning and not having a clean coffee mug or space on the counter to put cream cheese on my bagel thin.
So every night before bed, we try to make sure dirty dishes have made their way into the dishwasher, the coffee pot + mugs are clean and on the drying rack, and space is available on the counter for hubby to prep his lunch (and for me to make my bagel).
Same goes for not storing dirty pots and dishes in the sink overnight. I am not a morning person, and have very little tolerance for hiccups first thing in the morning. So I always make sure to have at least one side of the sink free and clear.
Try making sure you’ve got a cleared out sink and counter the night before, and you’ll see how much less stressful your mornings get!
4. Clear the bed + surrounding spaces before bed
This goes hand-in-hand with making the bed each morning, but I like to do this part at night. If there is clean laundry to be put away or dirty laundry that hasn’t made it to the hamper yet, I want to clear that space before getting into bed.
The last thing I want is to wake up each morning to a reminder of the things still sitting on my to-do list. Did I mention that I’m not a morning person? Investing the time to ensure I can have easy, stress-free mornings really goes a long way!
5. Prep morning supplies in the evening
If I have an early appointment or Zoom meeting, I like to set myself up for success the night before. This can range from having clothes picked out ahead of time, to prepping coffee supplies or breakfast items I can take on the go.
The less guessing and decision making I have to do in the morning, the more likely I am to actually get out the door on time.
This is also why I keep a set location for things like my purse, keys, masks, and sunglasses! I don’t want to be panicked in the morning, hunting for my essentials.
Tips for success
So you’ve committed to your five new daily habits – great! But how do you make sure you don’t fall off the wagon after week one? Here are my main tips for successful routines:
Convenience is key
I always advocate for keeping supplies near the area they service or at least on the same story level. I keep basic bathroom cleaning supplies under the sink in two bathrooms. One upstairs and one downstairs.
If I have to go downstairs to get something, I’m likely getting distracted and will forget why I came down in the first place. So keeping supplies in close proximity is essential!
Small tasks over time vs saving it all for the weekend
Cleaning the house from top to bottom is definitely not the way I want to spend my weekend and time off with my hubby. And I know he feels the same! So over the years we’ve established the smaller daily tasks that we each take care of. He is the main dish-doer and I keep tabs on the bathrooms and litter box.
That way, when we have time off together, we can focus on conquering the larger chores – dusting/vacuuming/steam mopping -together, and knock them out in no time!
Teamwork makes the dream work
Hubby and I have had multiple conversations throughout the years about who has the responsibilities of keeping up with household chores. And in different seasons of life, those expectations have shifted and swapped as needed.
But the key here is: we both live here. We both have a responsibility to maintain our living space. And especially since neither one of us really wants to do the cleaning (we really miss our wonderful cleaning lady from our time in Germany), we need to share the responsibilities.
Having conversations about preferences, or even better – what things make each of you absolutely bonkers when it’s dirty,– can really help to divvy out the household duties. Example: my hubby hates having dirty dishes all over the counter, so he does the dishes. I can’t stand a dribbly toilet or overfilling bathroom garbage can, so I manage maintenance on those things.
Ultimately, this helps to relieve the tension of expectations and the frustration that can come with expecting the other person to take care of something because it annoys you. Of course, everything within reason. I don’t create a disaster in the kitchen and leave it, just because it’s his to manage. Alternatively, if he makes a mess in the bathroom, he cleans it up… usually.
I hope you find these tips helpful as you set out to enhance and improve your organization routines in the new year. In 2021, we want to help you change your life and make a real difference when it comes to organization– so if you want to dive even deeper and focus on creating some new habits this year around organization, join my workshop waitlist below!
Be the first to know about our new monthly workshops featuring a new organization topic + a set of habits and steps to help you stay more organized in 2021. Each workshop will provide you with practical steps to clear out and organize an area of your life. We will also be providing guides, activity books and printables to make sure you are set up for success! Sign up now to be in the know!