As promised, this month I'm posting tips on household organization. So much about being organized is establishing habits that work over time and many of the things our family does are things we've done so long that I don't even recognize them as habits anymore, they're just things we do.
BUT--here's something I've just picked up, a brand new habit that I can't believe I didn't know about before and it's all my husband's doing. He was reading a book titled Getting Things Done and one of the suggestions it makes is to get yourself an inbox.
If you work in an office you've got an inbox and my house operates like a small business with me as CFO and COO so you'd think that I'd have thought of this years ago. Apparently I'm proof that there's always room for improvement.
This is how it works (and stick with me here, it's not as obvious as it sounds): Get yourself some kind of a box or basket where you can collect things, ours in on the wall in the kitchen above the phone. Be careful--this isn't a place to throw your junk mail or unopened bills, this is a special contained place, accessible to everyone, where people can put things that will need attention in the next week, maybe month.
My husband throws his receipts or ATM withdrawal slips in there for me to enter in the budget, that way the receipts aren't lying on the counter where they can be knocked off or accidentally thrown away. My children use the paper and pencil I keep nearby and write down things they need for school, things they'd like to see on the menu or places they need to be during the coming week. They write them down as they think of them rather than yelling to me while I'm simultaneously on the phone, cooking dinner and running the garbage disposal: "Hey Mom I need a dozen cookies for the Valentine's Day party next week!"
I use it for things that need to be taken care of--not my bills, they go in a separate area--but things that I need to address like making calls about an insurance issue, mailing a letter, or reminding myself that I need more rice and oregano. Right now there's a CD I need to give back to my sister, a slip of paper asking that we have Cheetos for dinner (as if!) and a few miscellaneous receipts yet to be entered into my budget.
The great thing about it has been that it's an easy way for the kids or Andrew to coordinate things with me without putting them off to the last minute. They think about something they need, they write it down and stick it in the box--it's that easy. The kids come to me and start with: "Mom, I need you to . . . " and I just say, "Stick it in my inbox." And it deals with it right then.
It cuts down on the verbal reminders and last minute panics when those verbal reminders were forgotten. Less hassle, less mess, more peace. Can't beat a deal like that.
Technorati tags: organizing, parenting, WFMW