Organization

Happy New Year! I received some requests that I post a blog about organization. Having once written a speech on the “beauty found within mess” and quoting a study that found mess garnered creativity, I could not help but laugh at the irony. Though I have gathered some strategies over the years to stay on top of my life, I also recruited my good friend, Carissa Suey ( aka the most organized person I know) to share her tips.

Carissa’s love of organization stems from utilitarian benefits such of functionality, and increased speed/efficiency. She also finds it aesthetically pleasing and increases her sense of control in life. I could not agree more. When my home is organized, my schedule maintained, and my to-do list is clearly laid out ( because let’s face it, it never really ends but at least I know what I need to do), I can breathe a sigh of relief and know I am ready to handle whatever curve balls life throws my way.

  1. Schedule    

Annalise: I keep track of my schedule in a small and lightweight agenda book. I like utilizing the full month calendar pages as then I can visualize my commitments and busier days/weeks. As a student, I write all my major projects down at the start of the semester, helping me to never miss a deadline. It allows me to see where I have time to add client work or time with friends and family. I usually use the larger day specific pages to write out my to-do lists for each day. Crossing items off my list is such a satisfying feeling!

For really important events, I usually double up and add alarms in my phone’s calendar. I find it harder to see my holistic schedule on my phone’s calendar so refrain from using it for my day-to-day activities

Carissa: Things that sync.
  • Apple Calendar: I like using the calendar on my phone and mac because when I’m really busy it helps me visualize my schedule, and also because it syncs so I don’t have to worry about copying appointments over. I find having everything in one/all places is really helpful. I can just whip out my phone to know where I’m going for classes. (catch me walking into the wrong room every semester until I did this).
  • Reminders App: (comes loaded on iphones and mac) I use it like a checklist because I like that you can cross stuff off when it’s done or set due dates or alarms if necessary. You can create multiple lists so for example a grocery list, a school to do list, and a work to do list. It syncs on your phone and mac and I like seeing things disappear when they’re done! Same as above, I like having it on both.

I have a paper agenda but don’t use it as much as I used to (mostly just for assignment due dates but I should really put those in apple calendars anyways). I like having it and until this year I was committed to it and carried it around everywhere instead of the apps. I just found the calendars app helped me visualize my day better.

2. Closet
Annalise: I recently watched an episode of Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show. Her method for cleaning out your closet began by putting all your clothes on your bed, giving you a visual of how much stuff you really have. I think this is a powerful image as it is easy to hide all the contents of our closet behind closed doors and live in denial. I have never used this method. I try to organize my clothes often, but do not always have a full day to dedicate to the endeavour. Instead I usually try to do smaller sections at a time ( which I still find very satisfying). Marie Kondo asks people to pick up each item off the bed individually and think about if it brings them joy. If it does, it stays. If it does not, it goes (there has been recent controversy over her using this same method for other household items, particularly books). My method is usually a bit more utilitarian. If I haven’t worn something in over a year ( not including special occasion outfits), I usually try to get rid of it. The truth is that shirt you never wear because it never looks flattering on you, (but you keep it hoping one day it will), is really just wasting real estate in your closet.

Carissa takes her closet to the next level, organizing her clothes by colour.

3. Tidy Spaces:
Carissa: I love the way a clean space looks, (that minimalist vibe!), and I can’t think when my space is too cluttered. Even just putting things into piles in a corner to deal with later works because it’s still giving me some space. Basically get rid of clutter and then put all your remaining clutter in one spot.
Organization always breaks down at some level, so you just need to find the level that works for you. For example for makeup I have mine in just 2 bins, one with tiny round tube shaped things (mascara, eyeliner, etc). and one with all the other shaped things like eyeshadow pallets and blush. It’s just easier to grab stuff that way. As long as my things have a home, I don’t really care how messy that home is if I can find them in there easily.

4. Managing Your Money 

Annalise: I am far from an expert in this category. However taking advantage of online banking has really helped me. I bank with TD and use two apps on my phone. The first is their standard online banking app. The second is their TD MySpend app. Though not 100% accurate, this app is really great for keeping track of which categories you are spending your money in. They break down your spending into things like transportation ( gas, car share use etc), grocery shopping, eating out, entertainment and much more. They also split up your spending by wants and needs, showing you where you can cut costs. I especially like how they keep track of my spending on a month to month basis, letting me know if I am above or below typical spending habits.

I also try to ensure I have one day per month with a reminder to check my credit card bill. I do have automatic payment set up, however, it is still possible to over spend and get charged. It’s also a good time to ensure all of your charges are legitimate.

 5. Social Media

Annalise: I utilize the free app Plann to organize my instagram grid. Buffer is a great option for pre-scheduling posts and has a free version for individuals. Utilizing a scheduling app is a great strategy because let’s face it, life happens. Why not schedule your posts in your downtime and focus on being present at other times? This is an area I personally can improve on, especially in terms of posting blogs consistently!

New Year New You? 
Hey, i’ll join you laughing at the cheesiness of this expression any day, but why not start the year off fresh?
Carissa, the organization guru leaves us with some final words of wisdom: It’s always easier to stay organized than to get organized, so the longer you can keep things in place the better.
Let me know if these tips help! ❤
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