How To Organize Your Home and Life
We are all guilty of being caught up in the mad rush which is life. There never seems to be enough time in the day. Staying organized is one of the key elements to feeling less stressed and happier. We don’t always need our homes perfectly tidy, but having a spring cleaning every so often is beneficial. Staying “ahead of the game” as they say, tends to serve the average American well. This is because between working, raising kids and trying to fit in “me time”, we all too often forget the essentials. The essentials are this: clean house, clean head. And of course the notion that keeping things organized will help prevent stress. Whether this is paying your cheap insurance bill on time, or simply having ten minutes to unload the dishwasher.
Our first step in spring cleaning should be organizing your time. Scheduling is one of the most important parts of staying on task and stress free. When you know what is happening in the future, you worry less. This could mean calculating your time down to the hour. You might not be able to sustain this all day, but keeping right with father time will help you and your family members.
Keep It Together
We are all trying to just keep it together. From tackling your cheap insurance claims, to paying the mortgage and getting the kids to school on time, managing a house is hard. Whether you have a family of two and a dog, or a family of four and a cat, everyone in the house needs their own time and has their own needs. Does your husband work and you stay at home with the kids? Do you both work and someone else watches them? Maybe you don’t have kids and you and your spouse are workaholics? Or perhaps it is just you and you have a very demanding job. No matter what the circumstance, organizing your wallet and time are essentials you need to learn in life.
First you should take out a pen and paper. Write down an ideal day for you. Then write down on a separate piece of paper the day you usually have now. Compare and contrast. Adjust as much as you can. Maybe you want more time for family. Maybe you want more time for yourself. Perhaps you hate your job and want a change. Just remember when you are doing this that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. You need to stay focused on how to survive and then thrive. Survival means paying for your basic needs and thriving means doing things that make you happy in a sustainable way.
The first step in this personal spring cleaning is, after you write down you ideal day and then the day you have now, compare and change accordingly. Make sure that you do this with your partner is necessary. And remember that needs change, so re-do this list every 6 months to a year. After you have compared and contrasted what will make you happy and then what you need to survive, talk about it with your partner or a close friend so that you can be held accountable.
When you write things down it helps for you to remember and follow through on them. Giving yourself a pep talk while you try and figure out which way to go can be helpful as well. Pull out your bills and finances and take a look. If it is daunting to you, you can get help. Talk with a financial advisor if need be. But know that writing the homeowners insurance check is a good thing. You want protection for your home. Or figuring out health insurance for your family means they can stay healthy and strong all year by being able to see a doctor you trust.
Figuring out ways to be more productive throughout the day. This might mean having a daily routine such as waking up early to do yoga or write in a journal. If you don’t take time to make a routine out of your day, you might forget to do things. Also this is a great way to make sure you get some time for yourself before or after work.
Here is an example of a daily routine broken down in to the hour:
- 6 am wake up, take shower, get dressed, make coffee
- 7am-730 write in journal and check news online
- 730-8am daily commute to work where I listen to my favorite podcast
- 8am-830am organize my day at work so that things are more productive
- 9am-5pm work, try and stay focused on the routine you set at work. Take ten minute breaks to stretch. Take another ten minute break to check in with your spouse by sending them a funny or loving text. On your lunch break, leave your desk so that you are truly taking a “lunch break”.
- 5pm-530pm daily commute home from work. Listen to some inspirational music or the news on the radio. Maybe put on a favorite mix tape to decompress from the day.
- 530pm -630 pm stop in at the gym for a daily workout. Blow off some steam and take time for yourself and your body.
- 630-730pm come home, shower and change into sleepwear
- 730pm-make dinner or help spouse make dinner, play with kids or help tidy up the house. This is family time until the kids go to sleep
- 830pm-930 pm put kids to bed
- 930pm -1030 pm watch favorite shows with spouse and have a bonding conversation. Stay away from heavy topics and just try and enjoy yourself.
- 11pm bedtime (lights out)
This type of routine is quite balanced. It gives you time for yourself, time for work and time for your family. This is a sustainable routine for the work week.
A weekend routine might look a little different. Or maybe leave the weekend up to chance. Make sure that you won’t get stressed by not having a weekend routine. Some people need structure in order to function.
A weekend routine might look more like this:
- Saturday- 9am-12pm do chores around the house. Make to-do list and conquer it.
- 12pm-5 pm family time doing something fun like a day at the park or movie and lunch.
- 5pm-7pm me time! Take a couple hours for yourself. Maybe even a trip to the grocery store or mall to pick up a few things is a way to decompress. Perhaps meeting up with friends for a drink. Whatever it is, make sure your spouse is on board. Perhaps every Saturday evening you get a babysitter and take your wife out for a meal.
- Sunday 9 am -10 am church with family. 11 am-12pm clean house as a family. 12 pm-5 pm free time for kids in the house. 5pm-7pm make dinner with spouse, kids do a solitary assignment.
If you don’t have kids, of course this routine will look a lot different. You will have more free time. But remember to now make it all about you. Do things for others or at least take time to make a phone call to mom and dad. If you are single, setting time aside to volunteer on the weekends is a great way to spend your time.
Actual cleaning. Ok this might sound daunting but a clean house equals a clean mind. So take out that vacuum and dust rag and clean. I mean really clean. Take a day off and clean out your whole house. If you live in an apartment, then clean that. Go through your bills such as your renters insurance or water bill. If you don’t need a bill or you have extra papers laying around, then throw them out. Only keep the essentials. When you clean, make sure that you put aside your cheap insurance bills to go over. You will want to understand ways to save money on your insurance and any other bills you have. When you are cleaning, taking note of any outstanding bills or credit cards that need to be paid is priority.
You will want to wash your sheets and re-make your bed. Staying comfortable when you sleep is necessary for a restful night and productive day. You might even want to head to the store and grab some of your favorite candles. Make your home comfortable and relaxing. A small water fountain for your bathroom or a Himalayan salt rock for your bedroom are small luxuries that can help keep your house “zen-like”. Get clean and fluffy towels for the bathroom. Get your house tidy and looking amazing. I guarantee you that it will make you feel amazing as well.
last but not least, when doing a personal spring cleaning- make sure you are on top of your budget and finances. This might mean making a budget if you aren’t on one. Or reassessing your budget if you haven’t done so in a while. There are certain categories on your budget that you won’t want to leave out.
Here is a simple budget:
- Household expenses: rent, utilities, property tax, homeowners insurance: $2300/month
- Car expenses: car payment, car insurance, oil changes and maintenance, gas: $1,000/month (try and keep your cheap insurance bills low by bundling)
- Food: groceries, eating out, coffee (Starbucks): $750/month
- Animals: pet food, grooming and dog sitting: $175/month
- Free Time: travel, movies, clothes, games etc…: $500/month
- School: kids clothes, school supplies, lunches, field trips, camp: $200/month
- Debts: school loan, credit card: $200/month
Total Expenses: $5125/month
Total income *example: $6,000/month bring home (net)
This leaves about $875 a month leftover for savings.
When you are looking for cheap insurance and wanting to bundle to save money, you will want to know some facts about insurance. Being the mortgage, insurance is the most important check you will write each month. To really save money you will want to write your insurance check once a year. Cut off any extras on your bill by consolidating. For car insurance you will need at least this
- Bodily Injury Liability Limits: $30,000 per occurrence/ $15,000 per person
- Property Damage Liability Limits: $5,000 per occurrence
These cheap car insurance options will only protect the other party involved in a crash. There are other options which will protect your and your own vehicle.
For homeowners insurance you will want this:
most policies generally cover the following:
- Damage to your home, including permanent structures on your property—unless your policy specifically excludes the cause of the damage
- Damage to personal property, meaning the items in your home that are not attached to the dwelling, due to causes outlined in your policy
- Liability coverage for legal matters or accidents that occur on your property
- Loss of use, which allows you to maintain your lifestyle at another residence while your home is being repaired without incurring additional costs
- Limited coverage for items such as stolen jewelry—the amount of coverage varies depending upon state of residence, and you always have the option to increase this coverage.
- Additional coverage available for more valuable items (jewelry, fur, silverware, etc.). If coverage above the limited coverage amount is required, a “rider” should be purchased. This coverage offers a broader range of perils.
For health care coverage you will want this:
The type of coverage you can choose from is a wide variety. HMO, PPO, EPO, Point-of service plans, high-deductible health plans HDHP, and health savings accounts, are all possibilities that may work for you. Other items to review include policy limits, co-pays, deductibles, in network and out of network coverage, and pre-existing conditions. Getting on a plan that fits your families needs and also saves money is key.
Getting a great health insurance plan will mean talking with a broker. But your health insurance doesn’t have to leave you broke. In fact, with the Affordable Care Act, your health insurance plan is based on your yearly income. Just sign up for a plan during open enrollment once a year. If your work doesn’t supply you with health insurance of any kind, you can still get your family covered.
Clean And Leave It Alone
Spring cleaning your personal life is about making life simpler and less stressful. So if you don’t always get everything accomplished that you want to, don’t worry about it. Try and realize, if you can, that not everything is possible at once. You will have to adjust your plans as life plays out. But starting by a little cleaning of the mind and space that you dwell will really help. Spring cleaning doesn’t just have to be done in the spring, and in fact you will want to reassess where you are at about every six months. Some people do this monthly. Depending on what kind of person you and your family members are, you may have to work on compromising to meet everyones needs.
Do yourself a favor and get organizing today. You will feel relieved after that first round of boxes is gone through. Or that first toilet is cleaned. It might not sound luxurious, but it sure is soothing.