Simplify To Survive!
What can we say? You might expect this from experts in organization, you may even think it’s a little “cliché” but it IS that time of year. The time when we start thinking about kids going back to school, returning to more of a regular routine and schedule and perhaps even trying to implement some organization and structure into our busy lives. How does one accomplish all of these lofty goals with just a few weeks left before school starts again? Our answer – you simplify to survive! We’re looking at some new tips as well as a few favoured classics – all designed to help you get organized, establish routines, and most of all – to help simplify your life. Structure / Schedule: Either of these “S-words” is applicable, you might even argue they have similar meanings. Structure is about establishing some order in a physical sense while schedule refers to establishing some order in your daily routines. Let’s explain: To use “structure” as a verb means “to construct or arrange according to a plan; give a pattern or organization to.” This might refer to using a specific type of clear boxed system for organizing your important papers or stackable totes, clearly labelled, for storing seasonal items so they are out of sight and out of mind during the rest of the calendar year. Structure is finding an accessible home for items in the kitchen that you use frequently and storing other items used less often out of the way. In other words, by storing little used items you will actually bring structure and organization into the home SIMPLIFYING the use and accessibility of your more common, everyday items. A schedule is what helps everyone in the family know who, where, what, and how. Posted in a central location – preferably using an erasable white board that can be altered as necessary – your family will know who is going where after school, what sport is being played and you might even want to do things like schedule what’s on the table for dinner each night. We’ve talked about simplifying meals by planning ahead in July's blog. Keep life simple – hey, that’s another “S-word!” Improvise! So we just spent several sentences talking about structure, schedules and routines. However, part of simplifying life is having the ability to improvise and ironically, if you are well-prepared, you can improvise when you need to! Someone on a schedule and with organizational structure in place, likely also plans ahead and already has “grab and go” snacks at the ready, a frozen meal or two in the freezer and a tote in the back of the car for holding sports equipment, a change of clothes, perhaps even a book to read while on the sidelines. It’s the organized person who is better able to then improvise – change their plans if something like weather or a cancellation occurs, and still be well-prepared for any eventuality! Mess is the enemy and clutter is mess: It’s hard to simplify your life if you are madly searching for a pen to write in your kid’s agenda, if you can’t figure out what’s clean and what’s not in that frantic rush to be on time for the bus, or when you can’t differentiate the homework from the pile of bills to be paid. Clutter isn’t evil and some clutter, when you have children at least, is inevitable but it does cause issues and can be overwhelming. Some studies have even shown that managing clutter in the home helps to ease anxiety, stress and/or stress induced panic brought on by living in a constant state of disharmony. Planning: Some might think this is just another word for a schedule and to some degree it is but planning for us is a longer term view of the world. Before you add structure you may need to create a plan for tackling the mess in the home. You might want to plan to enlist the help of a home organization expert like the team at thE Concierge. You may want to make plans for the future that happens 1, 3 or even 5 years from now. Having a plan (or goal-setting) helps you live life more simply in the “here and now” because you have a focus and a vision for your future. Lists! We don’t care where you keep them but none of us are infallible, so keep lists. Simplifying your life means not going to the grocery store 8 times in one week because you keep forgetting items. Lists help us remember. On your phone, on your fridge, on a scrap piece of paper – keep it simple by simply keeping a running list of your “To Do’s,” or your “To Buy,” or even, a “To Visit,” as in places I would love to visit or people I would appreciate seeing, if only I had more time. Make a list, organize your life and you might find you’re able to enjoy more time in your life for the visit list rather than the to do list! Investment of Time: Simply put (we couldn’t resist the pun) an investment of your time is needed upfront in order to simplify your life. You’ll need to do some of the heavy lifting to get the house, garage, basement or storage room organized and that might require an investment in storage products. You’ll need to consider an investment in items like affordable closet organizers that might help your little ones to dress themselves in the morning – simplifying that mad morning rush with organized clothing, lower hanging bars in the closet and specific drawers for specific clothing. You may even want to invest in a home or business organizing company that can do all of this for you – setting you on the path toward successfully simplifying your life! Family: You CANNOT do this alone! The family has to be on board, with everyone doing their fair share to help. After all, the goal for many families undertaking a process to simplify their lives and lifestyle is to have more time with family! It should go without saying therefore, that everyone should play a role in making that happen. You’ll thank me – in a month or two – I promise! As I’ve been hinting at, a little bit of legwork is required when it comes to simplifying your life, and that’s why some folks are happy to outsource the work to a team such as the one you’ll find at thE Concierge. Whether you jot down some of these hints and start the process yourself or use the expertise of a business or service dedicated to helping folks get organized, I am confident you’ll be happier, more organized and living life simply in just a month or two from now. If you are – thank yourself for all your hard work! Simplifying your life is all about making life easier so that you can actually take the time to enjoy life more. Whether it’s cutting down on clutter, having a few pre-made meals in the freezer or keeping a running list on the fridge to add grocery items to as you run out, all of this will help to reduce back to school anxiety, stress and rushing around and also help to ensure that restoring back to school structure and routine is seamless!