Welcome back to Week 2 of the Zero to Hero Homemaker challenge. Last week we created the card file system. This week we are going to look at the Habits of Naturally Organized People and what they do differently from the rest of us and start retraining our brains to think more like them. We will also add a few more daily cards to your index card file.
If we don’t retrain our brains then we will land up right back were we started within a day or two. Without retraining our brain, and the brains of our families, we will constantly be the only ones who do anything in our homes and that is exhausting.
But before we can start, we need to know how naturally organized people think subconsciously that makes them organized. To do this we are going to establish 10 habits.
Habits of Naturally Organized People
Download this printable and stick it up somewhere you will see it every day. Your closet door is a perfect place.
And as a bonus, here is a post I found on how to form a new habits.
Habit 1: Pick it up, don’t step over it.
I am a sucker for this. I will be walking down the passage with a cup of tea and across my path I will see a toy car (or multiple toy cars) without a child in sight. What do I do? I step over them and carry on to the bedroom to have my morning tea.
Do you know what a naturally organized person does? She will stop, pick up the toy cars and put them back in the box where they belong and if the box is not on the shelf where it belongs, she will quickly gather up all the toy cars in sight, put them back in the box and return the box to the shelf, making a mental note to talk to her child about picking up his toys.
If the mom is more strict, or if this is a repeat offence she will probably take the toys to “toy jail” and make the kid do a household chore to get them back.
“Pick it up, don’t step over it” will be one of the most important habits you will establish. If your house is a disaster, then you might have to take a day or two where you only do the bare bones house cleaning and spend the day picking up everything you find and returning it to where it belongs. If you don’t have a place for the stuff yet, pack them into boxes for later sorting. I find that I spend at least 15 minutes every day picking up in the main living areas of the house because my family has not established the habit yet.
Habit 2: Put things where they belong when you are done with them.
Sounds simple right? It isn’t as simple as it sounds. I left my sewing machine on the dining room table for 2 weeks after I was done making the blinds for our school room. I was so excited to put the blinds up once they were done that I didn’t pack away the sewing machine and other stuff.
A naturally organized person would tidy up as soon as they are done because they want they know that clutter attracts more clutter. A sewing machine on the table is a signal to the family that newspapers, books, magazines, etc. Can be dumped there too. And if you want your family to tidy up after themselves then it all has to start with you.
This brings me to habit 3.
Habit 3: Be the example in your home. You set the standard.
How could I expect my kids to pick up after themselves if I didn’t pick up after myself? A naturally organized person realizes that they are setting the standard in their home and community. If you let something slip, then your family will think it is okay to let more slip.
The same applies to the community around you. My dad was a great example of this. He would mow the grass on his front lawn and then mow his next door neighbor’s grass too. After doing this for a few months, the neighbor took out the lawnmower and mowed my dads lawn in return. My dad set the standard and after a while his influence had caused the neighbors to become better and without saying a word.
Now I am not suggesting you go and mow your neighbors lawn, or invade their house and start scrubbing the shower, but we need to set the expectations for our own home by being the silent influence.
Figure out what your standard is right now, and improve upon it daily. By becoming better you will encourage those around you to become better.
Habit 4: Never leave a room before closing closets and drawers
Another thing I am terrible at and I have no idea why. I often forget to close doors of my closet. A room looks so much cleaner instantly if the closet doors are closed and this only takes 5 seconds to do. Naturally organized people do this automatically.
Habit 5: Pick up and put away an item whenever you enter or exit a room.
This is especially a good habit to be in. If you walk into a room and see something out of place, fix it. If there are many things out of place, just pick up one or two items and put them in their right spots. You don’t have to clean the whole room, but a little bit each time will make a difference over time.
As you exit a room, look around for something that doesn’t belong where it is and pick it up to return it to the room it belongs.
I met a naturally organized lady online who told me that she made herself an apron with big pockets and every time she went into a room she would fill the pockets with items that didn’t belong there, then returned them to their rightful places. I have tried this with my apron (which has medium sized pockets) and it works well. I just need to make it a habit to wear my apron!
Habit 6: Briefly tidy kitchen counters before sitting down to eat
I do this already, but my husband doesn’t. All you do is put away groceries as you finish cooking with them by returning them to the fridge or pantry. Then you make sure all the pots, pans and utensils you used are in the dishwasher or by the sink (run hot soapy water into the pots/pans) before you eat your meal with the family. Then, when you are done eating your meal everything is ready to be washed.
Habit 7:Getting dressed is the priority in the morning
Getting dressed is a priority for naturally organized people. Some of them will hop out of bed and put their clothes on immediately. Since we are not naturally organized I am assuming we are also people who need a bit of a kick to get started in the morning.
We need that little something that gets us out of bed in the morning, maybe it is coffee, tea, a hot shower, going for a run, or a baby crying for a bottle. Whatever that thing is that gets you out of bed, make sure you get fully dressed immediately after that thing. My wake-up routine looks like this:
- Turn my alarm off using the QR code pasted on the kitchen wall*
- Put water on to boil water for morning tea
- Feed the pets
- Make morning tea for family
- Take a shower
- Get fully dressed
- Make the bed
*Note: this is a mobile app that I got. I printed out a QR code and stuck it to the kitchen wall, the only way to turn off the alarm is to turn off my phone or scan the QR code.
If the kids are awake, I also make sure they have something to watch on the TV before I hop in the shower, otherwise my husband sorts them out while I am in the shower.
You need to figure out the wake-up routine that works for your family. Getting fully dressed needs to be part of that routine and as soon as possible in that routine, but not necessarily the first thing in the wake-up routine.
Habit 8: Check your calendar, to do list and card file before going to bed.
Naturally organized people plan in advanced. Many of these naturally organized people have it all in their heads and remember it. I can’t do that, so I have coping mechanisms in place. A family calendar on the kitchen wall, a to do list in my Bullet Journal and the index card file.
Every night before going to bed I check the family calendar, my to do list and I update my index card file for tomorrow. I also use this opportunity to update the calendar and to do list with anything that is on my mind. I try to always do the updates as I think of stuff, but sometimes I don’t. The most important thing is that you know how tomorrow is supposed to look before you wake up, and have planned a basic day schedule.
Habit 9: Finish what you start before taking on something new
Getting sidetracked while still busy with a project happens so easily. Recently I revamped a room in my house to use as a home school room in the morning and rent out as a music studio in the afternoons. I struggled so much to remain focused on the task at hand. I so badly wanted to go buy the furniture before I had finished painting the walls. Right now I want to go buy paving stones for the walkway in the back yard, but I need to get a screen to hide the treadmill in the school room first. Every moment is a constant struggle to keep the focus on the most important and finish what I started.
This is something that we have to work on constantly. Naturally organized people tend to do this automatically. It falls in with Habit 2: Put things away when you are finished with them, because you are not truly finished with a task until you have tidied up when you are done with it.
Habit 10: Reward yourself appropriately for a job well done.
This is the fun habit. Reward yourself when you complete a job, or a set of jobs. A glass of ice cold water while sitting on the porch, reading a page or two of a book, 15 minute Facebook time, an episode from Netflix etc. Just make sure the reward is appropriate for the job you completed. I am often tempted to reward myself before the work of the day is complete. I have taught myself that I get my reward at 5pm, and my reward depends on how much I got done in the day.
My reward: a beer or glass of wine while writing in my journal about everything that has happened in the day, or while reading a book. The more tasks I complete, the longer I allow myself to relax (up to 1 hour maximum).
Daily Index Cards to add this week
This week we are going to add index cards to help you with the Naturally Organized Habits I have mentioned above. You need to create index cards for the following:
- 15 minutes packing away in the main living areas of your home – Kitchen, Living room – Customize the rooms according to where the most time is spent in your home. My card includes Kitchen and Living room, but if your family spends most of their time in the basement or a toy room, then those are the main living areas of your home. This is a daily card, highlight yellow
- What’s for Dinner? – Defrost food – Try to keep this card as one of the first cards after getting dressed. You need to think about the main meal of the day quite early and take out anything that needs to be defrosted. The earlier you see this reminder the sooner you can plan a grocery run if it is needed. This is a daily card, highlight yellow
- Make main meal – This is a daily card, highlight yellow
- Tidy up kitchen, pack food away and put dishes in the sink to be washed later – Keep this card directly after the “Make Main Meal” card. This card isn’t a reminder to completely clean the kitchen, it is there to remind you to leave the kitchen in a state that will make it easier to clean up after eating the main meal. This is a daily card, highlight yellow
- Put dishes in dishwasher and wash Dishes – If you have a dishwasher, then put everything that can go into the dishwasher into it, and wash whatever you cannot put in the dishwasher. Ideally you should do this directly after eating the main meal of the day. This is a daily card, highlight yellow
- Empty Dishwasher and dry dishes – This is a daily card, highlight yellow
- Check Calendar and To Do List – This is a daily card, highlight yellow
- Put cards in order for tomorrow – This is a daily card, highlight yellow
- All cards needed for your basic wake-up routine, from Waking up until “Getting Fully Dressed”. These are daily card, highlight yellow
You will notice that this system can be customized for your home and schedule. If you don’t need a card (for example if you don’t make the main meal) then you don’t need to make it and include it in your system. Please put the cards in the order that suits your needs the best.
My cards are in the following order (including the ones from last week):
- Make morning tea
- Feed the pets
- Take a shower
- Get fully dressed
- What’s for Dinner?
- Empty Dishwasher and dry dishes
- 15 minutes packing away in main living areas
- Make Main Meal
- Tidy up kitchen
- Eat Main Meal with family
- Put dishes in dishwasher and wash dishes
- Check Calendar and To Do List
- Put cards in order for tomorrow