This past week I had the incredible opportunity to speak at a women’s event on the topic of “Life Hacks”, along with three other small business owners around the Chicagoland area. It was an amazing event, with a ton of useful “life hacks” for busy women.
I received amazing feedback from some of the women at the event, so I thought I would recap some of my favorite “life hacks” that I believe will help save you time, money, and energy!
In order to make any organizational hack work, you need to have a solid foundation. This means you need to declutter your items first, then you can create an effective system that will act as your “hack”, making it easy for you to maintain.
To do this, start by gathering every item on one particular category, such as clothing. Then, go through every single piece of clothing you own. Donate/sell/trash unwanted clothing, and only keep clothing that you love. Store all your clothing in one area of your house… not all over in different closets! Give everything a designated “home” to make it easy to find and put back after use. Finally, label so you know where things go. Repeat this process for every single category of items in your home!!
Once you have gotten rid of the unwanted or unused items in your home, then you can create a system to make your life easier!
- Change bills and statements to electronic and sent to you via email. Then create folders within email for the statements and bills to be stored.
- Put in reminders in your phone for bill due dates if you don’t want to do auto-pay.
- Keep receipts in a designated area on your desk. When your statement comes, double-check your receipts with the statement. Then, shred your unnecessary receipts and file your “keep” receipts.
- Only keep magazines from the previous month then recycle when you get new ones. Because if you haven’t read it by now, are you really going to?!?!
- Pull out recipes from magazines and put into a recipe binder instead of keeping an entire magazine. Then, file recipe in accordance to type of food. See this post on how to organize recipes!
- Open all mail near the recycling can so you can trash anything immediately!
- Color-code your clothes in your closet so you can easily see what you have. I recommend following this method for storing your clothes, and reading this article for how to organize your clothes without spending anything.
- Use scarf and belt hangers for storing items.
- If you are unsure if you wear something, turn the hanger around so you can visually what to keep and what to donate.
- As you are decluttering your clothes, try it on if you are unsure!
- Store all shoes in one area of your house. I also shared how to organize your shoes with step-by-step tutorial.
- Clear shoe bins with pictures of shoe and tally to show if you wear them. This method will help you justify splurging on that gorgeous pair of shoes!
- If shoe heel is worn or torn, fix it or ditch it!
- Take picture and use as label on bins for young children similar to the ones shared in this post.
- Have kids help with deciding where toys should go. If they have a say, they are more likely to keep up with the organizational system that is created.
- Legos- You need to figure out how your kids play with the Legos before creating a storage system. Some kids like to play with Legos more open-ended, while others like structure. Figure out how your child plays and ask them. Then create a system based on your child’s needs.
- Store Legos in Ziplock bags with manual and label if child likes to keep specific parts together.
- Store Legos in bin similar to the ones that are used for holding nails and other hardware if child likes sorting by size and/or color.
- Store toys in similar category in one area of house
- Play kitchen and play food in actual kitchen
- Legos near a workbench
- Cars and trucks near a train table
- Create a “parking lot” for larger cars and trucks along a wall and tape off using painters tape.
- Use painters tape for storing toys in garage. Helps to give kids a visual for where toys should go.
- Keep art supplies and Play Doh near a tile floor for easy clean up, similar to this art area for young children.
- Create clipboard wall near garage and hang up all artwork as soon as you walk in the door. I shared this tutorial for creating a clipboard wall.
- When clipboards are looking full, go through with kids to decide what to keep and what to trash.
- Store favorite artwork in a large bin. One per family member. Only store meaningful momentos in bin and when full you are done saving things.
- Use plastic place mats as spill protectors. When they get sticky, just take the place mat out to wash, instead of having to take out the entire shelf.
- Use Tupperware without the lids to hold your food and keep in place. I love using Tupperware bottoms for holding veggies, meats, and cheeses.
- Label leftovers with date, including things you put in the freezer.
- Keep frequently used foods at eye level.
- Get creative with door space. Think about putting fruits and veggies on the door instead of taking up valuable real estate on the shelves.
- Try to have each shelf be a designated category such as dairy, meats. This will help give you a visual of what you have and what you need to get more of just by a quick glance.
- There are more fridge and freezer ideas in this article.
- When in doubt, use a shoe box to hold your items. I love using shoe boxes because they are cheap, come in a variety of sizes, and I always seem to have some lying around the house.
- Label both sides of bin or box. This way, no matter how you put the bin away, you will be able to see the label.
- Only buy bins AFTER you declutter your stuff! We are visual by nature, so if you have a large bin with a little amount of “stuff” in it, then you will likely fill that bin with more unnecessary “stuff”. So buy bins that fit your “stuff”, instead of trying to fit your stuff into the bin you bought!
- Everything has a “home”, so you should clean up as you go. When you are done with something, put it back!
- Follow these steps for a 5-minute clean-up.
- Start in basement and work your way up as you put everything away.
- Have kids help:
- Let kids tell you what to clean AFTER they tell you what they are going to clean.
- Clean up before nap, bed, and long periods away from home.
- Teach kids to clean up after they are done playing.
And those are just a few of my favorite “life hacks” to help keep you organized! But remember, you have to put in the time to get yourself organized before you can create a “hack” that will help. Start by gathering everything in one category. Declutter that category by figuring out if this is something you love. Store everything from that one category in one area of your house. And label everything! Happy organizing!