So now that you guys know about my big move and have seen the place I live, you know how small of a space it is. I have no pantry, no linen closet, and only half of a coat closet due to an oversized hot water tank. To put it lightly, I’ve had to do some major downsizing and learn how to organize effectively within tight quarters.
To share with you guys how I stay organized in my tiny home, I’ve decided to do a series on organization and show you around inside some of the most jam-packed (yet orderly) spaces of my apartment.
My organization style can be summarized as realistic. I don’t like to spend lot of time organizing and reorganizing many spaces of my home or take extra time to put things back in an orderly manner. Once you start seeing the spaces of my apartment, you’ll notice that I’m a very dump and go kind of tidy and having a place for everything is more important to me than having everything look pretty and perfect. I work two jobs; I have a social life; I travel to visit family a lot and I don’t have time or patience for absolutely perfect. I know most of you can relate considering that if you’re reading this you’re probably in your twenties also.
With that being said, getting organized was easy for me because I just moved. Packing up everything I own helped me purge a lot of unnecessary items and made sure the things I actually need ended up with a home. Because I was recently forced to go through all of my things, I was also forced to organize. Which, led me to YouTube.
A lot of the organizing ideas I have used in my apartment have come from two AWESOME women, Alejandra Costello (alejandra.tv) and Katherine from DoItOnADime (http://www.youtube.com/user/DoItOnaDime).
Alejandra is a licensed organizer and is a complete master of making every space of the home orderly. Her videos are so fun and simple and the way she pays attention to detail is amazing. Because she’s a professional, everything looks pretty flawless and she’s seen it all when it comes to messy spaces and has a solution for everything.
DoItOnADime is a new mom, school teacher, and organizing protegé. She’s got a lot of budget friendly ideas that use Dollar Tree products and finds from the Goodwill. She’s got a less professional and detail oriented take on organizing that makes her totally relatable and makes her viewers feel like they can really do it too (myself included).
So, to kick-off my 2014 organization series, I thought I would show you how I first organize my schedule and life in general. I had seen a lot of free printables on Pinterest for planners, budget trackers and meal planners, but none of those fit my needs or looked like my style. So, I decided to create my own.
I decided to use a binder system, that way I could keep all of the things I need in one place, as well as being able to customize things and move them around as I need them. I have five sections:
- 2014 Goals
- 2014 Planner
- Budget Tracker
- Meal Planning
and they have everything I need! I like that this system is simple, accessible, and portable. Generally, I don’t take it around with me everywhere like many people do with their planners, which is why I don’t mind that its a larger size. To take it to work with me is not very practical considering I’m on my feet all day, I don’t have a desk, and the kids would probably tear it apart. The only place I take it is grocery shopping and you’ll find out why in a minute.
But let’s start with my 2014 goals. This is something I have never done before, but this year I wrote down all my goals and new years resolutions. I won’t show them to you because some of them are pretty embarrassing, but I have 47 of them and they are all things I want to work on or accomplish this year.
Next is my planner section, which is how I plan out my week. Here I can look at my schedule for work and figure out where I can find time to work out, when my bills are due, when my favorite shows are on (How I Met Your Mother, New Girl), meetings, birthdays, and my to do list for the week.
(Sorry for the poor picture quality, I’m still working on taking photos with focus)
I recently started using a to do list, hoping it would make me more productive, and it really does. Matt swears by it, and he keeps himself organized on a blank piece of computer paper. He makes new lists all the time, but I figured that a weekly To Do list would work best for my needs.
I also keep little stickers, flags, and post-it notes in the front pocket of the binder.
Next I have my budget tracker, which Matt also encouraged me to start doing. He has his on an Excel file on his computer, and he helped me set one up too, but after trying to use it that way, I decided I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl and putting a pen to the paper just works so much better for me.
I have four separate charts in my budget tracker
- Groceries and Gas
- Monthly Expenses (tracked by day)
This really helps me stay on track and see what I’m spending my money on so I can improve my spending habits from month to month. I gave myself an allowance for certain things like gas, groceries, electric, and then all my other expenses. It might sound kind of juvenile, but it really does help when I can see where I’m going over what I would like to spend and why.
Next is my blog . I’m trying to do two or three posts a week, so I just have this sheet split up into three sections where I can make notes and plan my blog entries. This also helps with one of my new years resolutions to keep up with my blog weekly! Yay!
The last is my favorite section: meal planning. Meal planning helps SO MUCH when it comes to budgeting and staying on track while you’re grocery shopping. Having a list, and sticking to it also helps a lot with keeping a budget and not over buying. So, on Sundays Matt and I sit down and plan what we want to have that week for dinner each night of the week. Then, we mark ingredients down on our list that we need and we try not to buy anything that’s not on our list.
This is us at Walmart unloading the cart after shopping. It’s okay to make fun of us, we’re total old people. And yes, we did look like those weirdos with the coupon binder in the grocery store, but I don’t care! On this particular shopping trip we saved almost $20 with coupons! That’s the best we’ve ever done so far and we’re only getting better on learning how to coupon. One of those things, was organizing them better to make them more accessible and visible.
Remember sorting all your Pokemon cards into a binder? This is like the adult version. I organized all my coupons this way. These are a little larger sections than truing card sheet protectors, there is four to a sheet so it fits coupons pretty perfectly.
I want to point out that I’m not an extreme couponer. Like I said, I’ve only saved $20 at most, but I’m getting better! I only clip coupons for things I know I’ll use, and I only get one Sunday paper, not twenty. I don’t have time for anything more than that!
I got these coupon organizer insert-thingys at Staples. They are from the Martha Stewart collection, as well as the binder and dividers. I love the color and the pattern! So cute. I definitely don’t mind looking at this everyday.
One more thing: I’ve noticed a lot of people have “chore charts” and checklists to keep their homes clean, but I didn’t find that necessary for a couple reasons:
- I live in a 750 square foot apartment. It’s not exactly a lot of up keep. When something is dirty I just clean it, I don’t necessarily have to schedule a time to do it.
- I’m very lucky in that Matt does a lot of the housework. I’m not going to keep a checklist in my personal planner for chores for him to do. That’s pretty terrible. He does half the work, and that’s awesome. A lot of weeks, he does more dishes and cleaning than I do, especially on the weekends when I’m working all the time. He’s great, and I don’t really think either of us need a checklist!
So far, this system has been working WONDERFULLY for me. It helps me track all the important things in my life. The best part is my 2014 goals. While I’ve always thought about things I wanted to improve in my life in my head, I’ve never taken the time to write them all down. Having them front and center serves as a daily reminder of improvements I actively want to pursue. If nothing else, write down your goals for this year to keep yourself on track to being a happier you!
If you want to download and print the pages I use, you are more than welcome! Here they are:
How do you organize your planner or schedule organization? Do you make your own planner pages? Is there anything I’m leaving out that is a must-have for a more organized 2014? Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to follow and subscribe! See you guys next time!