How many times have you started January with the intent of getting more organized? Yet despite New Year’s resolutions or best intentions, we rarely make progress in this area of our lives.
But what if instead of the huge obstacle that is "getting organized," we just tackled those one or two small things that could make a big difference? Those things we know we redo, the wrong way, time and again. What if we took on one of those projects and resolved to do it better? Fueled by success in that area, you may be more inspired to tackle another.
Herewith, some of the fixable weak spots, and suggested cures:
1. Seasonal clothing: Why wait until the night before your trip to realize your kids don't have bathing suits? Set a daily tickler for the end of the season to stock up for next year's winter or summer needs, and save money to boot.
2. Reference photo album: When you go for a blowout, do you wish you had a picture to show your stylist how you like it? Do you forget your insurance card when you're at the doctor's? Create “reference” album on your phone for these pictures so these items are always with you when you need them.
3. Family keepsakes: One day when the kids are saying, “I’m bored,” take down that plastic tub we all have at the top of the closet and put your family memories into a Savor keepsake box. These beautiful, custom-dyed fabric boxes come with labels that guide you in what to put where. Kids love looking through their memories, and these are so pretty, you’ll leave them out for easy upkeep.
4. Password protection: Raise your hand if you're always forgetting your online passwords and having to create new ones. Us, too. We are huge zealots for Dashlane. It creates, stores, and allows you to share passwords safely, so you can stop using your birthday for everything. Even better, it automatically logs you into any site you visit. Plus, it stores your credit card info, so checkout is a snap.
5. Holiday card photo: Were you running around to get this in November? Resolve this year to take one during the summer. Everyone's looking better then anyway!
6. Skip security lines with TSA’s Pre-Check: One airport trip over the holidays will convince you that signing up for TSA Pre-Check, which allows you to breeze through airport security, is worth it. Note that everyone needs to sign up for TSA. If even one child doesn’t have the status, they won't let you through. (There's a fee, but many credit card companies will pay for it.
7. Holiday card lists: Are you still handwriting 150 envelopes? Create a holiday card group in your address book and drag in your relevant addresses. You can print out labels in a few minutes. Better yet, some companies, like Minted, will address the envelopes for you. (By the way, these yearly photos are a great memento of your family over the years, Savor keepsake boxes give you a perfect place to store them.
8. Get or finally use your Evernote account: Are you always wondering what you bought your niece and nephews for the holidays last year? Make a present list. Forgetting what books to read or restaurants you like or your kids' shoe sizes? Evernote makes planning and organizing a breeze. You can create different notebooks for work, each child, or special projects. All are searchable, sendable, and syncable between mobile and desktop devices.
9. Birthday gifts: How many times have you waited for the toy store to open on Sunday because you had a last-minute gift to buy? Get a favorite cool gift, one for different ages, and stock up on them. We love games because they’re not gender specific and everyone, including parents, is never unhappy to get a good new game. (Some of our current favorites are Bananagrams (for slightly older kids) and Dixit (which works for all ages).
10. Create a financial records document: Is there one person in charge of financial information in your house? Or even just for insurance numbers? Email/google docs are not safe places for confidential information, but Dashlane or other encrypted sites are. It’s important to have copies of insurance records, attorneys, and what’s kept where. Now you can save it in one place, safely.
11. A detailed grocery list: Are you, like us, a control freak about the grocery store? It’s easier to do and especially delegate this task to a partner or babysitter when you have a full list. Make a giant one on your computer, store it under Evernotes or somewhere on your mobile device, and then you can just add or subtract things for a given week. For the gung-ho among you, add in the ingredients you need for some of your standbys by recipe, so you can add them in as you need them. Time consuming? Perhaps, but certainly not as much as those many last-minute store runs because you’re missing an ingredient for your special chili.