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How my Life went from a Hot Mess to an Organized Success (in my opinion) + how you can, too!

As much as I wish I could sit here and tell you all that my life is a breeze and I have all of my ducks in a row all the time, I don't. Instead, I'm over here serving as the conductor of the hot mess express on my way to chaos-town 95% of the time. And I'm ok with that because that's life and I'm still trying to figure it all out.


BUT, that does leave 5% of the time when my life is organized and I have my ducks in a row, and today I'm sharing my tips on how you can work towards organizing your life, too.


P L A N N I N G

USE A CHEAP & SIMPLE PLANNER + HOW I UTILIZE MINE

Not only am I operating on a college budget here but I've also found that when I would buy expensive planners from the big agenda companies, I was so worried about keeping them in pristine conditions that I never wanted to write anything in them for fear of ruining them. The best planner I've ever had was a $5.99 agenda from the stationary section at Marshall's. It was durable, cheap, and provided me with the things I needed in a planner: a monthly view and daily views with ample space to write my schedule and a to-do list for each day. 

Regardless of which planner I'm using, the way I organize them are all the same. Under each day, I split the box into two sections. The left section is where I will write down everything that I have planned for that day along with the times of each event (work, classes, gym, meals, meetings, calls, etc.) The right section is where I write my to-do list. I just make a little square and then write the task next to the square, then, once the task has been completed I put a check mark in the square. At the end of the day, I take a yellow highlighter and highlight any incomplete tasks so that I remember to write them on my to-do list for the next day. 

Another tip that I have when it comes to making to-do lists is to write your to-do list on a stickie note, too. I always have my to-do list in my planner but I also write my to-do list on a stickie note that is usually placed on my laptop next to my mouse pad. Having my to-do list literally at my fingertips helps remind me of what needs to be completed because I'm constantly staring at it. 

SYNC YOUR PAPER PLANNER & CALENDAR WITH YOUR DIGITAL CALENDAR

In addition to my paper agenda, I also use my iCal on my laptop. I use iCal because it syncs to my laptop, phone, and Apple watch so no matter where I am, I always have access to my calendar. This comes in handy when I'm out and about and don't have access to my agenda. Especially at appointments, it's so easy for me to take out my phone and see what's on my calendar when it comes time to book future appointments. iCal also allows me to color-code my calendar which is extremely beneficial for me as I am a huge visual person so seeing all of my events formatted the same way helps me a lot. Using a digital calendar is also helpful because you have the option to schedule reminders for events and tasks that you have planned. If iCal isn't your thing, I have friends that use Google Calendar and they rave about how beneficial it is. 

REVIEW THE UPCOMING WEEK EVERY SUNDAY

On Sunday evenings, I sit down with my planner and my laptop and write down everything that I have scheduled for the upcoming week. I also go ahead and start making to-do lists for days when I know certain tasks will need to be completed. 

PUT EVERYTHING ON YOUR TO-DO LIST

Maybe it's just me but I love when I get to cross something off of my to-do list. Even a task as simple and mindless as taking a shower or making your bed every day allows you to cross something off that daunting list and hopefully motivate you to keep moving on down your list. Doing this allows me to get an idea of how my week will be and allows me to see which days are going to be busier than others so I can divide my time accordingly.

F I N A N C I A L

TRACK YOUR FINANCES

I made the decision to start tracking my finances this summer and it is hands down one of the best things I’ve done for myself. Not only am I taking steps towards becoming financially organized, but because I’ve created a spreadsheet where I track all of my expenses, I’m now aware of where my money is going and have been able to set reasonable budgets for myself. Shockingly enough, a decent amount of my money is spent on coffee. I had known that I frequently made coffee runs but once I saw the actual amount of money I had spent on coffee for the month of June I knew that something needed to change. 

The way I track my finances is fairly simple: I created a spreadsheet using Google Sheets and made two pages: one to track my income and one to track my expenses. My income page has 5 columns: the job (right now there are only two options; babysitting and my work), the date of the payment, income (the amount received), the form of payment (cash, check, Venmo, direct deposit) (this makes it easier for me to remember if I need to cash a check or transfer my Venmo balance over), and then the income type (I just highlight the box and fill it with the designated color) (I’m a visual person so seeing the colors that correspond with the different types of income helps me understand where most of my earnings come from). Further over on my income page, I have a ‘Monthly Totals’ tracker, too. For this, I just have all of my income categories (babysitting & work) and then the month and at the end of each month, I go in and total up my earnings and place the totals in the respective category. 

My expenses page is pretty similar; I have five columns: expense (where the money was spent), the date it was spent, the amount that way spent, whether or not it is a reoccurring expense (subscriptions that occur each month, etc.), and the color-coded expense type. I track all of my expenses and the categories I use are food & dining, coffee shops (yep, this needed its own category), entertainment, clothing, gas, subscriptions, & transportation. As with my income page, I track each expense categories monthly totals too which helps me see where my money is being spent and helps me revise my budget each month.

CREATE A MONTHLY BUDGET

This is something I started doing recently and I've already started to notice a difference in my spending habits. My bank app has a feature that allows me to set budgets for different expense categories and when I start to get close to my budget limit, I receive a text notifying me how much I've spent and how close I add to my limit. I also get a text when I hit that budget limit, too. If your bank doesn't offer this type of service, there are tons of apps on the market that help monitor your spending habits. 

CHECK YOUR BANK STATEMENTS & REVIEW YOUR PAYCHECKS

A quick and easy thing to get in the habit of doing is reviewing your monthly bank statements to make sure all the charges are correct and accurate as well as reviewing your paychecks. Each payday, I make sure to double check my time sheet to ensure that I was compensated for the correct amount of hours worked so in the event that my hours are off, I am aware of the issue and can make the necessary calls to fix the error.

H O M E  O R G A N I Z A T I O N 

PURGE YOUR CLOSET

Go through your closet and take out anything that you haven't worn within the last year. Once you've collected a handful of pieces that you no longer wear, decide whether or not to toss them, donate them, or if they're in really good condition, you can take your chances at selling them to a secondhand store and making a little extra cash (I did this a couple of months ago and ended up making over $130 because I had so much that I just didn't wear anymore!)

MAKE YOUR BED EVERYDAY

It takes 3 minutes MAX and is such an easy task to check off your to-do list. Plus, you won't be tempted to crawl back into bed later in the day! I always feel so much more organized when I walk into my room during the day and see my bed all made up. It makes my room look so much cleaner and organized and is such an easy thing to get in the habit of doing as soon as you wake up every morning. 

CLEAN OUT YOUR PURSE

Get rid of all of those old receipts and iced coffee straw wrappers. Put that loose change back into your wallet and find that chapstick that you just haven't been able to find for days. I bet you'd be surprised at the amount of junk that accumulates in our purses, take a couple of minutes once a week to organize your bag. 

H E A L T H  &  B E A U T Y

CLEAN YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES

This is something I need to continue to get better about doing every week but cleaning your makeup brushes should be something that is done every single week. Believe it or not, the amount of makeup, bacteria and other nasty things that can build up in our brushes over the course of a single week is enough to cause unwanted breakouts that none of us want to deal with. 

If you don't want to go out and buy makeup brush cleaning solution like myself (because I'm #broke) you can just put a small amount of baby shampoo into some warm water and let your brushes soak for several minutes. After I let my brushes soak, I brush them over my hand several times to get any additional build-up out before I lay them on a towel to dry overnight. 

PURGE YOUR MAKEUP & NAIL POLISH

Just look the food in our fridges and pantries, our makeup does not last forever either. Take a look through your makeup bag and toss any products that have exceeded their lifespan:

Mascara: 2-3 months
Eyeshadow: 1-2 years
Pencil Eyeliner: Up to 2 years
Liquid Eyeliner: 2-3 months
Foundation: 6 months-1 year
Concealer: 1 year
Powder Blush: 2 years
Cream Blush: 1 year
Lipstick: 1 year
Nail Polish: Up to 2 years

D I G I T A L

UPDATE YOUR ELECTRONICS

Bite the bullet and do all of those updates that you keep pressing "remind me tomorrow" for. Not only will it get rid of that annoying reminder every day but it will also make sure your device is operating at its best performance, something we want to ensure that our electronics last as long as possible. 

DECLUTTER & ORGANIZE FILES AND PHOTOS

Organize your files and photos into labeled folders to clean up your desktop and make finding things a breeze! I have a folder for every event that I have photos from which helps me locate photos quickly which is extremely helpful when working on blog posts. For files

UNSUBSCRIBE FROM EMAILS

I bet there are at least a dozen emails that you're subscribed to that you never even read. Do yourself a favor and scroll to the bottom of the next email from that subscription and hit 'UNSUBSCRIBE' to take a step towards inbox zero. 

xoxo,
Ri


1 comment

  1. Ahhh love these tips! They're common sense but sometimes it's nice to be reminded just how easy it can be to become organized! I am the worst about making my bed and hoarding receipts and straw wrappers in my purse... I guess I should convert to the reusable straw haha

    xo
    Bailey
    baileysbulletin.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete