How to Stay Organized....especially when adding BIG items to your life

how to stay organized|positively Jane

It has been about 6 months since I started this new blogging adventure of mine.  I have to tell you, it has been an interesting 6 months.  I had NO idea it would be so completely time consuming.  I had NO idea that I would need to be so tech savvy.  I had NO idea that I was such a terrible typist and proof reader.  I had NO idea that actually writing a post would be so different than having an idea.  But, with all that said, I also had NO idea I would be so connected to the people who email me and let me know what is going on in their own lives. I am so grateful for each and every person.

What should I blog about?
Now, the ‘experts’ say that I need to have one blog topic – so that I can focus on that topic.  But, because I am a rebel at heart, I decided I wanted to be a lifestyle blogger – someone who blogs about…..whatever – daily life, planning parties, crafting, money, children/motherhood, marriage or vacations. I even have a YouTube channel - check it out (and while you are there you may as well subscribe - so you don't miss any exciting videos). I usually have alot going on and some things are definitely blog worthy. Although, sometimes things are calm around here and there isn’t much to say (which is not very typical in my life).

How do I fit it all in?
Before I started my blog I felt really busy.  I told my sister today – ‘I get up every day at 5 AM and by 9 AM I feel like I am behind’.  How can that be?  What do I really do?  How can I be so busy?  Shouldn’t I be retired?  I am not sure why I decided to add something else to my life. Well, that is not exactly a true statement. I did (and do) know why. Check out my ‘Why I Became a Blogger’ post here. In the meantime….I feel that I have lived a full and wide open life and have lots of useful knowledge that I wanted to share. Life is tough no matter how you look at it…..some of us get thru the tough stretches victorious and some of us …not so much. My hope is that women of all ages will travel their life’s highway with less baggage, and become wiser and inspired to live a fuller and richer life.

Anyway, back to being busy….a lot of that busyness has to do with moving into a new home.  It literally took 6 weeks to unpack – we are classic examples of over consumerism.  I think it took a week just to unpack my craft room.  (See my amazing Craft Room Tour here). We are also both Virgos – and love organization.  Everything has to have a home and a place (mostly so I can find it later).  Part of the busy is planting new things in the yard, being home for workers and filling in the decorating gaps. Another part of my busy is my crafting - I love making and sending cards - check out those posts HERE. I love making Christmas presents and I plan for those months in advance. And, I love company, parties and visiting my kids - all of that takes time….and planning.

Why am I telling you all this?
In order for me to be able to keep my head above water I have to be organized.  I am a big list maker.  (When I grew up my dad had lists.  I found out, when I got older, that those lists were for my mom and us kids – haha!!!) I have a long term list, a weekly list and a daily list.  I also have a list for outstanding items. E.g. -  I make a phone call and leave a message.  (Almost all of my lists are notes on my mac – I love my notes.  I can print them out or delete as I complete each.)

This is a current long term and outstanding list

This is a current long term and outstanding list

Do I complete my lists?
One thing I would like you to know is that I don’t try to get all of my lists ‘done’.  First, things always take longer than I thought (like hours and sometimes days longer). Second, there are always interruptions like phone calls, emails to respond to, dishes to do, husbands to talk to :) For the most part, once I make a list, I pick and choose the priorities of the moment (the most important tasks of the day - the musts) – I do those first, and if I run out of time the rest get moved to the next day….that is just life.  I have a few things on my long term list that have been there for a few years.  

Example - I just spent the morning going thru the yarn that I wanted to give away (unfortunately my yarn is not cotton or washable wool for blankies and hats). I posted it on Ebay - that in itself took hours. Selling it has been on my list for 6 months – I decided to tackle it today because I couldn’t fit it all into a cabinet. Necessity is the mother of invention for sure. And, that was not on my list for today….or even next week.

How to begin?
Getting organized can be tough, especially if you aren’t used to it. I have a few blog posts coming out soon to help you out. In the meantime here are just a few things to get you started.

  1. Have a key basket - Being able to find your keys, at any given time of the day is amazing. My visiting family put their keys in the basket too.

  2. Create a ‘staging’ area - This is an area where you put everything you need for your day. Usually close to the door that you use to leave the house. E.g. -

    1. Kids lunches, homework, coats, shoes for school - gather it all the night before. This eliminates the mad dash in the morning. And, have your kids gather too. They will soon learn how to be prepared and ready for….adulthood.

    2. Returns or list for your errands - nothing worse than forgetting your return or not knowing what to buy at the grocery store.

    3. Purse and jacket and anything else you need for the day - briefcase, scarf, donuts for the team. Coffee cake for Jane.

  3. Put things back where they belong - 1st you can find them quicker AND 2nd you aren't spending precious time cleaning up after yourself all day.

  4. Plan a weeks worth of food, create a grocery list, and go to the store 2 times a week. I usually go on Monday (everyone ate all the food over the weekend - how dare them :) and Thursday (getting ready for the weekend eaters again).

  5. Make a ‘to do’ list. In fact, make more than one - a today, tomorrow, next week, and long term (similar to my ‘putting yarn away’)

Why have lists or even be organized?
Knowing where things are, being able to actually find them, and being able to focus on other things is a huge reduction in stress. It eliminates the mad dash for shoes, packing lunches, ‘MOM - WHERE IS MY MATH HOMEWORK?’, not having all the ingredients when you are making dinner, and all those little stresses that make us moms lose our temper and snap at our family.

Will I always be busy? Probably. Back in the day, I had a business called ‘Busy Hands’. Whether it be needlepoint, card making, cooking or typing…..my hands are always busy. I love making and giving away. I love sharing handmade kindness. I love people. I hope and pray that my hands won’t fail me. A friend recently told me about her Grandmother - she was a big time crocheter and made afghans for everyone. She developed Alzheimers and didn’t recognize anyone, but she would sit in her chair and her hands would move, mimicking the crochet movements. That will be my hands - I just wonder what memory they will share.

What is a BIG thing for you?
Do you have any BIG things coming up? Or have you added any recently? Such as -

  • Getting married - learning how to mesh and meld different upbringings, thoughts, and attitudes

  • Having a baby - not counting the no sleep - how to manage the basics of taking care of a newborn, find time to cook and clean AND take care of yourself (taking a nap for sure)

  • Child going off to school - the adventure of homework, after school activities, scheduling around 7AM-3PM/5 days a week/10 months a year

  • Adult(ish) child going off to college - shopping for all the necessary items, gathering all the supplies, and emotionally support someone who is off to a new adventure (and emotionally supporting yourself - I cried when I dropped mine off at school - kindergarten AND college)

  • Getting a divorce - Now, this is a big one. An overwhelming list of things to do PLUS figuring out a future without your husband and figuring out how to financially support yourself (and your kids if you have them)

  • Going back to work - learning how to accomplish what you have always done in 8 hours…now in only 3


I hope you find this a tad helpful. Figure out what needs to be done. Find your staging area, make at least one list, and enjoy a few moments of life stress free. Don’t forget to look at my craft room - this is the ultimate in organization and might give you a few ideas. In the next month or so I will have a post about what to look for in organizing your house (beginning with the pantry and your closets) - stay tuned. I also have someone who organizes for a business - she is located in Ohio BUT does consultations over the phone and is very very good. She helped me with a lot in my craft room. If you would like her number please reply to this email - I would be happy to give it to you - just tell her Jane sent you.

Big Hugs,

Jane