As a borderline control freak, I’m happiest when I’m organised
Organising is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”
– A. A. Milne
Ok, so I may not be an actual ‘control freak’ but I am at my happiest when I’m organised to within an inch of my life. I understand that this is not cool, interesting or sexy but I like the feeling of being in complete and utter control. I respond best to clear boundaries. I like a good set of rules and regulations to adhere to. I like to know exactly what is going on at all times and under no circumstance do I like to be surprised (my husband can vouch for this).
A baby doesn’t care Friday is bed changing day!
So when I had my first baby, after the initial shock that a newborn doesn’t care that Friday is the bed changing day, or that Thursday at 9:30 am is allocated to do the shopping. I quickly found ways to gain back control in my life by writing lists and notes to follow. Even if some items never got ticked off I still felt that I knew where I was as long as the list existed. My babies had a soft toy or a blanket to comfort them, I had my list.
A simple list can bring back the feeling of control
The desire for structure and routine in my life has grown as my children have and I now have a comprehensive list of instructions to follow that allows me to feel in control, even if quite often I’m not! I enjoy the challenge of finding ways to make the everyday mundane jobs quicker, to find more efficient ways of doing even the most boring of tasks. I preset my washing machine to finish just as I am waking up or just as I walk through the door. No more frantic shouting at the blinkin’ machine to just hurry up and blinkin’ finish!
Technology is a friend to organisation!
I take a regular stock take of my freezers (I have two, one acts as an overflow) I then transfer the entire contents into a list format onto my mobile phone. This means that when I write my shopping list, on a Friday, I don’t have to rummage around the deepest, darkest depths of the freezer to remember what’s in there. You can actually get an App to help you organise your fridge/freezer should you wish to take this to the next level! What’s In My Freezer.
I write a meal planner for the week on the chalkboard in my kitchen. I never deviate from it; there is no meal spontaneity in our house. Once a meal choice is on the board I no longer have to think about shopping or what we are all going to eat until Thursday comes round again. One less thing to think about, plan and organise.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
– Benjamin Franklin
The Family Calendar – At the centre of my organisational universe
The one thing that I couldn’t function without, and that I live by, is my calendar. Everything gets entered onto it and if not it simply doesn’t happen! I look at my calendar first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Birthdays, anniversaries, school trips, sleep-overs, pretty much everything that happens in our family life appears on the calendar. My calendar has useful pockets attached to every month. I cram them full of school letters, invitations, birthday cards ready to post, rehearsal schedules and anything else that is set to take place during any particular month. After my children, my calendar would be the next thing that I would rescue if my house caught fire!
These are just a few of the ways that I feel like I can take back some control of mine and my family’s hectic lives. I appreciate that there are times in life when going with the flow is the best and right thing to do and that some people might refer to me as a control freak, however, I like to think of myself as more of an enthusiastic organiser.
As I have been writing this my daughter, who is now 11, has just brought all the towels down from the bathroom confused and demanding to know “Why haven’t the towels been washed?” It’s Thursday which equals towel washing day in our house! I can’t make up my mind whether this is a good thing or not!
In brief: My top tips to get organised
- Calmly make a list of what needs doing today
- Prioritise the importance of your tasks
- Preset household equipment eg washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher, oven
- Always make a shopping list and stick to it! (This will save you time and money in the long run)
- Get to know your freezer. This allows you to meal plan and shop more efficiently
- As soon as your child comes home waving party invites and non-uniform day letters from school, WRITE THEM DOWN on a calendar/diary so you’re less likely to forget
- Look at your calendar/diary every day
- Be in control of your list. Your list doesn’t control you