Organization Hack: Hot Mess Express

New Glasses!

You know how I am always talking about organization and how organizing makes me happy? Well, I just want to say that I am human and sometimes I’m a hot mess.  This week is one of those times when I feel like I’m in a foreign world and have no clue at all what is going on.  In all honesty, I feel like I have been that way most of this summer.   Maybe it is because I have done a lot of traveling this summer (planned and unplanned) and was living out of a suitcase a lot.  I like routine. I like structure.  It’s hard to have structure and routine when you are traveling. Now that I am back home and ready to get back to some kind of normal, I feel all discombobulated.  There is so much to catch up on and things that need my attention that I just don’t know where to begin.  I kind of think this is how it must feel to be my kids with their ADHD.  I don’t know where to focus, and I am really struggling to focus on anything at all for any length of time.  I feel overwhelmed. I am a HOT MESS for sure! Why am I telling you this when I normally give you tips and tricks to get organized? Well, I want you to know that even the most organized and well-planned people sometimes loose it.   Yes, organization makes things easier and helps you to stay put together. However, sometimes even that doesn’t help. I know that I am super hard on myself on days like today when I just can’t seem to get it together.  I start that negative self-talk that I have told you I do sometimes. In my head, I am asking myself questions like: “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you get it together?” When I catch myself doing that, I immediately try to turn it around and speak positive things to myself because there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.  It is totally ok to not have it all together. It’s okay to feel that way sometimes.  I have to constantly remind myself of that. 

How do I get myself back on track and control the chaos that is going on in my head? For me, it is best to stop whatever I am doing at the moment and sit down.  I kind of have to take a deep breath or two (or 10) and calm my brain.  I then begin making a list of everything that I have to do or get caught up on. Sometimes even that task is overwhelming, but I force myself to do it.  I write down everything including small things like removing my nail polish.  That helps keep me from getting distracted later by my chipping nails. Things like that will easily cause me to loose focus when I am already feeling distracted. Then I will go through the list and prioritize it. I will even go as far as numbering the tasks to give myself some way to stay on task. From there I will begin the tasks in order.  When I feel myself getting off task, I will refer to my list again and again.  Prioritizing it helps me to see that although my nails may be bothering me right now, I at least know that it’s on the list and it will get done eventually. I get satisfaction from physically crossing things off.  That is motivation enough for me to keep pushing through.  It helps me to refocus my brain.  While this method may not work for everyone, I know that it works for me. It helps to turn the Hot Mess Express into Controlled Chaos Central. 

Anchored,

Organization Hack: Packing

I know that I have already done a couple of packing posts (Disney Packing List and Top 3 Packing Tips), but I wanted to do another one to show you my entire packing process in depth. Packing is what is on my brain right now anyway as I am leaving in the morning for our annual Trades of Hope Inspire Retreat in Orlando.  I am beyond excited about this trip. I have actually been prepping for packing for this trip for about a month.  If you remember from my 3 Tip post, my number one tip is to create a list.  I actually have a generic pack list that stays in the note section on my phone.  It includes all of the essentials that I pack with me on every trip I take.  It includes things like make-up, deodorant, phone chargers, pajamas, and other essentials that I always need.  When I am planning a new trip, I copy that list and then begin to add to the bottom all the things that I need that are specific to that particular trip.  I will continue to add to this list up until the day of a trip as I think of things. Then I begin to plan out my outfits for each day of the trip.  For this particular trip, I need at least 2 outfits per day.  We have sessions and training during the day and then big events in the evenings that require me to dress differently.  At the bottom of my list, I will begin to list the day of the week and everything I plan to wear that day.  Then as the day of departure gets closer, I will begin to lay those outfits out on the floor in my closet.  This includes all articles of clothing that I will wear on that particular day down to the under garments, shoes, and jewelry.  This helps me to visualize everything and insures that I don’t forget something important like a strapless bra for a strapless dress.  I don’t immediately put everything into the suitcase, though.  I will leave it there for a day or two as I continue to look over it and make changes as needed.  I actually laid out everything for this trip yesterday and am using today to make sure I don’t want to change anything up as I thinking about it more.  Here is an example of what my closet floor looks like right now with everything laid out waiting to be placed in the suitcase.  

Once I am satisfied with every outfit, I will take a picture of each pile.  This will help me to remember what jewelry/shoes I planned to wear with each outfit.  When that is done, I begin to bag things up using Tip #2 from my top 3 tips post.  I like to use gallon zip lock storage bags for this. For example, I will put all pairs of socks into a gallon zip lock bag in order to keep them all together.  I will do the same for underwear, bras, and camisoles.  Next I take all pieces of jewelry and place it in my Thirty-One Jewelry case (retired) (alternate option).  From there, I begin to add the clothes in neat piles to my suitcase keeping all parts of the outfit together (pants and top).  At this point everything that I am going to wear is in the suitcase.

Tonight I will begin packing all of the other things that I need to take with me.  This evening I will place a large Thirty-One cosmetic bag (retired) (alternate option) on the counter in my bathroom.  As I wash my face and prepare for bed tonight, I will place my soap and other parts of my R+F nightly regimen into that bag as I finish using them. Then in the morning, as I complete each step of my morning regimen; I will place those items in the bag too. Packing it after using it helps me to not forget an important step in my skincare routine.  I will also hang my Thirty-One travel bag on the knob to one of the drawers to my vanity tonight.  Then as I put my makeup on in the morning, I will place the pieces I use into the bag as soon as I am done with them.  Packing as you use it really helps to ensure you don’t forget any essential items.  The same goes for hair tools.  As soon as I am done drying my hair, my hair dryer will go into the suitcase.  Then I pack my flat iron and curling wand after placing them in a heat resistant pouch.  I use a circular pill case to sort out all of my prescription medications that I take daily.  Then I will add it to a small medicine bag (similar) that also has things like ibuprofen, eye drops, band-aids, antibiotic ointment, etc. that I may need (these go in my carry on bag). I use a Thirty-One Mini Zipper Pouch to hold hair ties, bobby pins (in case I pull my hair up), clips, and a headband for washing my face.  Once all of that is in my suitcase, it is ready to be closed up.  

It may sound like a lot of work, but it will keep you organized and make things so easy when you get to your destination.  Being prepared allowed me to spend today writing and getting my hair and nails done, instead of running around crazy trying to pack.  It is totally worth the time it takes to prep ahead.  

Anchored and Organized,

Organization Hack: Email

Are you one of the people that has like 1000 unopened emails? Can you open your phone and see that red dot next to your email icon and not freak out? I am one of the people who can’t stand to see the red dot.  In fact, it bothers me so much that I turned that feature off on my phone for emails.  I get so many a day that I don’t always have enough time to go through them all in a timely manner, and the red dot makes me crazy.  Now, if you ask me how I turned it off, I have no clue.  I probably couldn’t do it again, but somehow I figured it out.  I am very particular about email. Yes, I know I am very particular about a lot of things. You all know that I have an obsession with organization, neatness, and structure.  I am no different with email.  I am one of those people that will delete the email once it has been read unless it contains important information.  If it is an email that I need to return to later for some action, I will flag the email as important so I can easily find it later. In fact, I will go through my flagged emails daily to make sure things are completed on time. Once the action has been completed, I will delete it.  This is how I stay accountable.  The flagged emails are only those emails that require some kind of action from me.  It could be a form that needs completing, a payment that needs to be made, or something that needs to be turned in.  

All other emails that contain important information that I may need to refer to later or that I need to keep that don’t require an action are kept in folders within my email.  I do love some folders! Virtual folders or real folders, it doesn’t matter! They all make me happy. LOL! I have a Yahoo account (Yes, I know that shows that I am old!)  as my personal email account, and it is easy to create and sort folders in it.  I have a Gmail account for this blog, and it is also easy to create folders there.   I am certain that any email service provider will have the option to easily create folders. I like things neat and organized, and creating folders is what helps me to do that.  For example, each year I create a separate folder for each of my daughters for all school related information.  The title of those folders is my daughter’s name and the grade she is in that year. Then all important school information that I need to keep goes in that designated folder.  I also create a folder each year for my daughter’s sports. It will be titled with the team name and year or level.  At the end of each season or school year, I will go through those files and delete anything that I no longer need.  This again makes it easier to locate information when I need it. It keeps me from scrolling through a million emails to find the right one.  

Below is a description of some of the other folders I have for sorting my emails. 

  • Receipts: 

In this folder, I keep any receipts from things I have purchased throughout the year. For example, if I order something from a store online, I will get an emailed receipt.  Those emails automatically get put into this folder in the event that I need the receipt for a return.  Any PayPal receipts also go in here unless they are specific to one of my businesses. 

  • Taxes: 

I have a tax folder for each of my small businesses.  This is where I put invoices for things purchased for my businesses and other information needed for taxes.  When tax season rolls around, I can go to this folder and easily print out everything that I need to take to our accountant. 

  • Addresses: 

This folder contains emails where people have either sent me a roster for the girls’ sports or activities I am in or emails with address changes.  This is how I keep up with contact information for people. Now, once I have updated the contact information in my phone, I will delete these emails. 

  • Recipes:  

Sometimes friends will email me recipes or I find one online, and email it to myself. All of those go in this folder. 

  • Businesses: 

I have separate folders for each of my businesses as well. Anything relating to the business that isn’t tax information goes straight to one of these folders. 

  • Clubs:

I am the Vice President for the parents’ club for my daughter’s gym so I keep any email correspondence for it in a separate folder with the club’s name. 

Pretty much any email I receive that needs to be kept goes into some type of folder.  If I don’t need to keep the information, it is deleted right away.  In case you haven’t noticed the act of deleting something is satisfying to me! The only things that I keep just in the inbox are maybe something I wanted to read through but didn’t have time like a blog from another blogger I follow.  I will go back to it later and read it and then either sort it into the appropriate folder or delete it. I honestly don’t know how people can go without folders. It would drive me nuts to search through hundreds of emails at a time to find the thing I needed.  The same goes for unopened emails.  If you aren’t going to open them, you might as well delete them. What is the point in holding on to them and clogging up your inbox?  That is certainly a way to miss something important! To keep from having thousands of unopened emails in your inbox and having that red dot on your phone, commit to checking your email at least twice a day.  Check it once in the morning and once at night.  Then, if you have the time, check it at other times throughout the day. Whenever I open my email, I immediately go through and delete anything that is not important like all those emails from stores I shop at so that I don’t get distracted. Once that is done I go back and open all the ones that are left. This helps me stay on top of them all and ensures that I don’t miss anything.

Another tip that I have for keeping your emails organized it to unsubscribe from any email that you don’t care about.  I get tons of emails a day from stores and other junk that I never open because I don’t care. I many have had to enter my email at some point to purchase something or to get a discount, but I really don’t care to get their daily emails.  I try to go through those every now before deleting them and click “unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email.  You don’t really need all that junk in your inbox. 

Declutter your email! Get rid of unwanted mail by unsubscribing, Sort your important emails into folders. Flag those emails that require an action. Delete anything that isn’t important, and check your email at least 2 times a day. These steps will make life easier and that red dot will go away. I promise!

Anchored and Organized,