Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Smart Martha" Question: What's Your Number One Organizational Tip?

Polls show many people have New Year's Resolutions to become more organized, and I count myself among them.  This week, a college girl from our parish still home from break has spent several days with me moving furniture and doing some re-organizing and carting stuff to Goodwill, and we have the sore muscles to prove it!

Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms by Tami Kiser is the book that I reviewed & so enjoyed in this category.  In particular, her book has helped me to think more about home management in order to be more present to my family.  I've visited  Tami Kiser's website and hope to talk more in my upcoming interview with her about her Smart Martha seminars.

What I'd like to learn is your top homekeeping tip, and I'll start the conversation.    

My favorite home management/organizing tip is to set a timer for 15 minutes (or sometimes even 5!) and tackle ... whatever.... a dreaded cleaning job, an organizational task, or something else home-related (I've even used this very successful for writing projects).  I learned this great tip from the excellent email reminders I get from the Flylady; I've been getting the emails since way back when it was a small yahoo group, and their ideas for organizing projects and getting rid of clutter have been extremely helpful. 

The Flylady website is a lot more complicated than I remember, because I don't ever visit it, but let me say that the emails have been a great service for me, in particular the 15 minute rule (and I have three of the Flylady timers scattered in different places in our house, and they are well worth the investment).  I've tried to use that with my kids to help them with cleaning tasks of their own, with varying degrees of success, depending on the child's temperament.

So, since I'm always looking for new ideas to get more organized, what is your top organizational tip?  Share away!


  1. i am not a particularly organized person. but i do have two great tips!

    one is from fly lady. keep your kitchen sink clean and empty, and never go to bed unless its shining! right now i dont have a dishwasher, and the sink can get really ugly! the sink is the most used area in my kitchen, so if i cant immediately access it, my whole day is more complicated. my whole attitude changed when i can wake up in the morning to a shiny-clean kitchen sink!

    the other tip is about scheduling. i have bemoaned for years my inablity to wake up at the crack of dawn and start my day. some days i sleep later than planned, or some unexpected event interupts my schedule. then i feel as though i have already failed and give up on my plans! so the advice was to simply start my day when i am ready, even if when i am ready is three hours later than i thought it would be. time is relative anyway! and taking the guilt and pressure off my schedule allows me more energy to get things done, even if a little later than i had hoped.

    jen mcd

  2. I try to write down the night before what I want to accomplish the next day AND I try to keep the plan short and sweet with no more than 4 major things to do. Writing it down the night before helps me sleep better because I don't wake up at 3 a.m in a panic without a plan! And based on the advice of Leo Babauta (, I choose to keep the to-do list short so I don't feel overwhelmed with a long list; I execute the 4 tasks to the best of my ability and then move on. Now all I need to do is be consistent with what works!