Do you have wonder how some people always seem to have neat, organized homes? It’s really quite simple: they’ve made a habit of getting and keeping it that way. It takes time to make a habit stick. According to James Clear, The 3 R’s of Habit Change are Reminder, Routine, and Reward. Try implementing these over time, maybe one a week. Here are 8 tips to help you get and stay organized.

a made bed in a clean room1. Make Your Bed Every Day.

I know, I know. Why? You’re just going to get back into it at the end of the day. First, making your bed instantly gives your bedroom a neat look. It also makes the less neat things a bit more obvious. For example, a neatly made bed makes that pile of clothing not QUITE in the hamper pop out; maybe take a few seconds to finish the laundry’s journy. Second, making your bed in the morning provides a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning. What a way to start the day! There are more reasons to make your bed here.

2. Clean The Kitchen. 

Think about the time it takes to clean your kitchen after making a meal. Now, think about the time it takes to scrub and disinfect a week’s worth of meals. Which would you prefer to do? After I’m done eating, the last thing I want to do is clean the kitchen. Consequently, I use the cooking time of my meal to tackle as much of the clean up as possible. I’m really lame so I consider it a personal challenge.

If you have children, now is the time to make sure they are contributing. Children as young as 5 are capable of unloading the dishwasher (even if they are just putting the cups on the counter under the cabinet in which they belong). Get in the habit of running the dishwasher daily either before bed or after breakfast dishes are in.

kitchen3. Use Your “Wait Time” Productively.

Unload the dishwasher while food is cooking. Wipe down the bathroom counter while waiting for the water to get hot or the curling iron to heat up. While waiting for an appointment, update your planner and respond to emails (this may mean deleting your Facebook app….). Not every task is well suited to a multi-tasking approach so use your best judgement.

4. Maintain A Coordinated Calendar With Your Immediate Family. Family Calendars help you stay organized

I hate this because I’m a Bullet Journal girl but my husband is all electronic. He likes to use Google Calendars and I’m REALLY making an effort. Here is a post from Mom of 6 that looks at the 10 Best Family Calendars of 2017 to help stay organized. Let me know your favorite shared calendar system in the comments!

5. One In, One Out. 

It’s a pretty basic concept: when one item comes into your home, one items leaves your home.This goes for clothing, shoes, toys, magazines, precious school projects. Once you’ve gotten organized, this is a sure fire method to STAY organized.

6. Strive for ZERO Inbox.

This goes for digital and print material. Implement a simple system. I’ve had a lot of success with clients breaking physical mail into a 3-slot system. Slot 1 is for new mail. If you don’t have time to go through it daily, that’s fine but you SHOULD dump the “junk” immediately. This should include anything addressed to Resident, catalogues from which you never shop (shoot, even if you do occasionally shop from them, dump it), credit card offers, etc. As you eventually open the remaining mail, place items which require ACTION into Slot 2. This includes bills you need to pay and invitations requiring an RSVP or gift purchase. Slot 3 is for items which need to be FILED either in your temporary or permanent physical file system or cards for your memory box.

Electronic inboxes are a bit trickier. Start unsubscribing or marking as junk. Develop a series of subfolders in which to store items not requiring action. Shoot, I even have a folder labeled “Random Stuff I Want to Keep.”

7. Keep a To Do List.

This is yet another reason I love my Bullet Journal: it’s essentially a massive To Do List! An updated list will also allow you to make the most of your aforementioned “Wait Time.” It’s so satisfying to mark things off the list. Embarrassing confession time: I once added “make to-do list” to my list so I would have something to cross off right away!

Couple Sleeping

8. Sleep To Stay Organized.

Notice this is #8? That’s because, even if you’re grown, 7-9 hours of sleep is ideal. It’s fairly obvious: a well-rested human functions better during the day and is more likely to learn new habits. Read all about the fabulous reasons here and here.