Sunday, October 24

Organization - the Key to Managing a Household

Recently I heard an entertainer (singer) discussing his daily routine. Because his work was all-consuming, he said that he just didn't have time for certain things, including everyday chores. Laundry, bills, scheduling... the mundane but necessary parts of life were tedious to him. In fact, he went so far as to say that he didn't even think about those things. Trying to cope with the tasks overwhelmed him to the extent that if left to him, they'd more than likely never get done at all.

He sounded just like my husband. 

My husband is not lazy and he certainly isn't a chauvinist. In fact, he's a good cook, knows how to do laundry, wash dishes, and has never once complained about doing chores or running errands. That being said, I am the household manager. I am primarily responsible for keeping the house clean, keeping our pantry stocked, cooking meals, paying bills, organizing our schedules, and other things that keep a household running smoothly. Over time, I've learned just how much this helps my husband function well. When he can focus on getting through the day without worrying about looking for clean socks or trying to find keys, he has a lot less anxiety. 

So do I.

Although I love being organized, I'm no Martha Stewart. Instead, I have my good weeks and my not-so-great weeks. There are definitely a few tools that make my job a little easier and actually make being house manager fun, though. Most of the time. My suggestions:
    1. A good calendar - more than one in our home. Use a large one. The more room to write, the better!
    2. A color key - write everyone's appointments in an assigned color to make it easier to find a specific item.
    3. A dry erase board - perfect for messages that may be important but temporary.
    4. Sticky notes - little reminders, daily reminders, on the bathroom mirror, in the car, on the fridge...
    5. Lots of designated spots for important things: keys, wallet, meds...
    6. Paper and pen or another dry erase board on the porch - if someone comes by when you're not home, this can be useful too.
    7. A medicine or pill organizer - again, more than one.
    8. A weekly or monthly menu - we just use a basic one.
    9. A grocery list based on your menu.
    10. Lots and lots of notebooks - these are invaluable for keeping track of stuff. It's even more helpful if you label them.
    11. Labels!
    12. Plastic storage containers in about a million different sizes.
    13. An organized laundry room - keep it simple, though.
    14. A laundry schedule
    15. An alarm clock... or two... or three!
    Different things work for different families. I've learned not to force my family to use anything that frustrates us, no matter how popular or clever it is. Instead, we focus on what will make life easier... for us.

    The singer I mentioned had a staff of professionals to help him organize his life. At times, it seemed almost like he took them for granted. Fortunately for me, my husband appreciates what I do. I know this because he tells me so all the time and he also shows me. Whether flowers or a card or even just a little note, I really feel like my husband values my help.

    That makes it all worth it, really.


    1. This is such a good post. I think because it's about control. For the narcoleptic, so much is not just out of their control, but really Life seems to just happen to them in bizarre and unexpected ways. I can only imagine how unnerving it must be.
      So the comfort of organization, knowing what to expect in your day to day life, and not having to keep track of so many of the little details would really help.
      You sound very organized. I'm not nearly so, but enough. And I love sticky notes.
      My favorite organizational tool is having good habits. My memory is not what I would wish, as my mind is usually somewhere else. So I make it a point to always do things/put things away in the same way or same place every time. I would be in big trouble otherwise.

    2. Ah good habits is a great tool! Having a routine is such a wonderful way of handling the chaos that is "life" isn't it? Even when the routine has to be altered, just having it there helps immensely!
      Thanks for the input Susan!

    3. This is so helpful. I've been reading your blog for about a year now, but somehow I missed this post. I'm a single, 31 yr old, living alone, with narcolepsy. I was actually just Googling the other day to see if there assistance for people with disabilities to provide better grace periods with paying bills on time, etc. But everything that came up was assuming that I couldn't work or that I lost my job or something. That's not the problem! I have the money, but I don't have the energy to sit down and actually devote 2 hours to focusing on money after working a full day of work. I know it sounds lame to the non-narcoleptic, but it's the truth. I do the best I can, but unfortunately late fees are a common part of my life... Anyway, I will definitely try to find the energy to try out some of the ideas you outlined. Thanks for continuing to blog on your experiences - I so appreciate you!