Tuesday 29 December 2015

How to be more organised

I hope you all had a great Christmas and that you're enjoying time together with your family - I know I am. With another Christmas over (always sad to say, but am I the only one who kinda wants to take down the decorations now??) and a new year just a couple of days away, we can't help but look forward to what will be in store in 2016.

I'm always quite reflective at this time of the year, thinking back on what's been and the good things I want to take into the new year and the not so good things I'll be glad to leave behind. It's such a cliche I know, but I do like to look ahead and think about what I want from the new year - who I want to be, where I want to be and how I'm going to get there. 

January holds so much promise, with good intentions aplenty and the chance to start afresh. It's really cleansing. Even if the feeling only lasts a little while...!

For me, the key to getting things off on the right foot is to be organised. Easier said than done, I know,  but my resolution, for the want of a better word, is to get myself organised and plan my life better in 2016. I'm an organised person anyway - from my school days and as a student where I had to find ways to organise my time so I could get homework and revision done, to now having a busy family house - but I need to put planning at the top of my list again to help me feel more in control and give me some goals to work towards.

So I'm the spirit of getting things ship shape and starting as we mean to go on, here's a few ideas on how to be more organised...

This post is linked to Honest Mum's #BrillBlogPosts linky.

DIARY I couldn't live without mine and I'm quite infamous for taking my time to find the 'right one' each new year. It has to be just so, as I use it every day and need to be able to organise things in a way that works with how my mind works. I'm still undecided (you can read my comparison of two Busy B 2016 diaries here for some inspiration).

Personally, I prefer a paper diary although I do also have Outlook for work purposes. With 'real' diaries, pick one that's the right size to suit your needs; small enough to fit in your handbag or large enough for you to plan out things in detail.

Use it to store important information and numbers, from doctors and dentists to national insurance, breakdown cover, road tax renewal dates - anything and everything you don't want to forget. You'll be glad to know you have all that information on hand, in one place, when the time comes you need it.

At the start of each new year, I transfer key dates across such as birthdays from my old diary to my 
new diary and I also remember to add things in like TV license payment dates, car service reminders and so on so that I always have a reminder ahead of time when something needs to be arranged or paid for.

NOTEBOOK My memory is a sieve if I don't write things down, particularly since having Ethan, so I always have a notebook on me. You can use your phone too if you're that way inclined but I like having a mini notepad to hand if I need to write off a quick shopping list or a reminder for later. A pen is also a must!

This is my new notebook from Paperchase - it's lovely to look at and has business card slots at the front and a zipped section at the back for important notes, receipts and anything else you want to keep close to hand.

FAMILY CALENDAR We have a calendar in our dining room which we all add into as and when something new comes up and it has a column for each of us - Stephen, Ethan and myself - and even meals too. Little ones often have a busier calendar than we do, don't you think? There's always different appointments for them in the early days then parties as they get older.

For 2016, we have The Gruffalo Family Planner and it's just brilliant. Colourful, spacious, with lots of stickers (great for giving rewards) and very good quality too, this is just the thing for us all to use.

You could also use a weekly plan, like this pad, and use it to write what everyone is doing or have a column for meals, chores and fun things. It may sound a bit extreme but it only take a couple of minutes to write and it helps you to sort out what needs to be done and when.

MEAL PLANNING This is something that can make a really big difference in terms of minimising wasted food and helping save some pennies too. It's also a great way to inspire yourself to try something new or give a new recipe a go without always relying on your usual go-to meals.

First of all, I'd recommend writing down a list of everything you already have in your cupboards, fridge and freezer. This will help you to use things up instead of always buying more than you need to doubling up on anything.

Then, you can take a look and see what meals you can already make from what you have, or what few things you need to get to make a complete meal.

If you've done your weekly plan, you can judge how many meals you need to account for so you don't buy too many fresh ingredients if you're only going to be eating at home five nights out of seven, or you can pick up enough if you need to take lunch to work with you.

I've been collecting recipes and keeping them in one place. I bought a recipe card box from Paperchase and whenever I see a recipe I want to try, I fill in a card and add it to my collection, when it comes to planning our food shop, I have a look through these cards and see what takes my fancy, then write a list of ingredients, thinking about where I can make the most of what I buy.

I then tend to use online shopping when planning a big shop or when it's a busy week. It's a great way to keep within your budget and to help you see what you've bought... and what you're missing. I like the fact you can save shopping lists to come back to, and how it remembers your favourites, which can make it a quick task.

EXPANDING FILE Although you can opt to go paperless with many bills, you will still have some paper copies and every house has documents that you need to keep safe.

I picked up an expanding file from Paperchase and keep all important documents at the front, such as passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, paper driving license, insurance policies etc. then file any other letters in separate sections. If I need to find something, I know it's in there.

POST-ITS, LABELS, LISTS If you really want to get things in order, then you must get some post-it notes, list pads, labels and any other stationery bits and pieces that will help you to make notes, set reminders and generally keep tabs on things. Any excuse to buy stationery!

Lists are the only way I can feel calm as I know everything is written in one place, rather than having to remember everything. It's just not possible! It's also a great way to stay motivated as you tick things off.

Have lists for your shopping, your household tasks, your workload, your blog ideas... or keep one big list, whatever works with you. A handy notebook and pen in your handbag is always useful for jotting down something you think of on the go, or noting it on your phone works too.

So, I hope I've inspired you and given some good advice on how you can get your life in order in 2016 - do let me know if you have any tips to share yourself in the comments below!


  1. I have the gruffalo calendar! Its one thing from last year that I actually was organised enough to use. But inspired by your post I am now looking for a diary!

  2. I love having a calendar - I use one online at work and it works amazingly.

    Lizzie Dripping

  3. Oh a diary is an absolute must in my life! In fact I have a desk diary (for blogging and other projects) and a personal one for day to day living. I love, love, love those post-its. They're so me :) #brillblogposts

  4. We definitely need a family calendar! It's getting to the point where the boy has more appointments than us! #brilliantblogposts


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