Friday, September 18, 2009

Organizing with Systems

Decluttering, Organizing and Cleaning: Using Systems to Simplify

How can you make more time for yourself, and get more done in the time you have? Systems, long used in the business world, are the answer to every at-home parents' needs.

With a good system in place, all of the day-to-day tasks are set according to your needs. How do you set up your own system management? First, make sure you're focused on what is most important to you and your family. Like many, time is my biggest concern, but the general sense of peace and well-being of my family is also a vital role. Here are some steps I followed to set up our systems:

  1. A main household system should encompass all the other systems within it. My time schedule is set up for AM/PM tasks, tasks for each separate day, weekly tasks, and monthly tasks. It sounds like alot, but these all came from my main schedule. For a basic idea of how to start this, visit Flylady. Start with a list of what needs to be accomplished each day- this is helpful for cooking, (especially NT style) and can be adjusted to come up with all of your daily to-dos.
  2. Another aspect of the household system is a basic idea of how you will organize different areas. Paperwork systems are vital- loose mail, handouts from school, etc. are one of the biggest clutter-causes in any house. Luckily, there's great ideas on how to manage your paper issues.
  3. For me, one of the most important things in a household system is a way to fit in housekeeping (my nemesis of homemaking.) I've fit this into my weekly schedule by committing an individual day for each part of my housekeeping plan. The best way for you is whatever works best for you, taking into consideration the time you have, and all of your other responsibilities. More on this soon, in my upcoming time schedule.
  4. Lastly, a system should be flexible. Dusting and window washing on Tuesdays (yes, that's on my schedule) is great, but what happens if you are on vacation, or get sick? Is there a back-up plan built in, or will the task just get swept under the rug? (no pun intended) A good plan has room for the unexpected- which is the one thing any at-home parent can definitively expect!

I hope these basic tips give you an idea of how important systems can be. They can make your tasks run almost on auto-pilot once they're set up, giving you the time (and concentration!) to spend on the important things in life. Next week's post will be on the beginning of setting up your own household binder. This will contain your own systems and schedules, which I'll post on during the last week of September. Remember to join with google or subscribe so you don't miss these, or any other, upcoming posts. Have any of your own tips to share?

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