Managing the Day-to-Day Series: Post 1
What Are Daylights Anyway? And How Do You Tell If They Are Alive or Dead?
You can Pinterest the living daylights out of your kitchen cabinets. You can chuck everything you own in a fit of decluttering. Go all out organizing and purging, and you will have a downright beauteous house.
You might even get a month or two out of it.
Sobering truth, though – if you don’t have a system to manage it all, you will find yourself back at square one in less time than it takes to browse the organizer section at Dollar Tree.
Note to self: Watching Dollar Tree organizing videos does not count as organizing.
Dear Husband, Whining Makes Your Throat Worse. So Stop.
Fact is, random piles of junk and drawers full of half-used makeup are merely symptoms. Like with strep throat. You might be able to manage the symptoms – Tylenol, throat lozenges, and a buttload of pitiful whining have all been known to offer relief. But until you conquer the strep-causing-nasty-bug-thing (medical terminology), you’re not going to recover completely.
When my house was at its most foul, the extra clutter and disorganization certainly didn’t help. Even now, when I accumulate too much stuff or let my organizing systems get out of step with our current lifestyle, it throws a wrench in the works.
But until I attacked the root cause, neatly labeled bins and trips to Goodwill (and the dump) were like Bandaids on a shark bite.
My goal (and possibly yours?) isn’t to make things look organized. It’s to organize them in a way that works for me – a way that can be maintained. All while keeping life on track.
Magazine-Ready Is a Euphemism for Making a Path Through the Muck
If I were starting from scratch, my first priority would not be making the house look magazine-ready or figuring out how to make fresh underwear appear in the dresser drawers (magic?).
No, I’d begin with overall household management. Which is a smart-sounding way to say making sure we’re able to do what we need to do when we need to do it. And that means finally getting control of those frustrating calendars, checklists, planners, and to do lists. Along with all those other papers that bombard us every day.
Please don’t shoot the messenger.
Taking control of the paper part of my life is what finally put me on top of Mt. IGotThis.
No more empty toilet paper spindles at the worst possible time. No more teetering stacks of canned goods from the last two months’ worth of Aldi trips taking up most of the pantry floor.
Looks like the vacuum cleaner’s not coming out of there anytime soon. Just the excuse I needed…
No more tearing everything out of closets, desperately searching for a last-minute gift for that forgotten birthday party. Never mind trying to find something to wrap it in.
And no more watching my beautifully organized linen closet collapse into a pile of sad, crumpled blankets mixed with hastily crammed-in Walmart bags – for lack of a maintenance plan.
Like a Smooth-Sailing Boat On the Ocean, Not Like a Bloated Corpse (Usually)
After years of missteps, my current system keeps our family life afloat. I’ve learned to work around my natural deficits.
I’ve created a series of posts to explain all the moving parts of my system. The pieces work together like only-slightly-rusty gears to get me where I need to go.
The Name George Is Nice
Because methods like the “one-touch method” send me down a rat hole, now I batch my planning and my paperwork. I choose a time when I can focus on all of it.
Grouping paperwork tasks avoids the distraction that occurs with other methods. I call this “drilling down.” You can call it something else. It’s okay – I don’t mind.
Instead of dealing with each paper-related interruption as it occurs, I gather them in one place. Then, I start with the big picture and narrow in from there.
I have non-ADHD friends who swear by paying a bill as soon as they get it, or making a phone call when the need arises. Working that way requires a level of consistent thinking and memory I lack.
Instead, assigning days and times to deal with specific things and approaching all like items at one time works better with my natural tendencies. My brain already skips around enough – I don’t need to feed it reasons to play hopscotch.
And the individual items within each category are varied enough that it doesn’t feel like mind-numbingly repetitive tasks.
Repetitive tasks exhaust me. Like eating an entire pizza.
Only without getting to eat an entire pizza.
That said, I’m still pro-multi-tasking. Doing several things at one time gives the bored part of my brain something to do while it waits for another part to finish a monotonous task. For some reason, managing concurrent tasks keeps the segments of my brain active and happy. However, constantly stopping one endeavor to switch entirely to another brings all of the pieces crashing down.
Oh Boy Can I Mire
Assembly-line paperwork processing saves me a bunch of time. It allows me to avoid getting mired up in micro-details when I should be making macro-decisions. I can get a snapshot of the whole picture before I get down to business.
Speaking of getting down to business…
Are you ready to take a step or two back and reroute your own organizing journey?
Don’t despair. I know your house is pleading for relief. We’ll get to the decluttering and the organizing. In time. I promise. Those are definitely vital.
But first, put on your big girl panties…It’s paperwork time.
P.S. I’m excited to say the entire series is finished and posted.