Getting our households under control, clean and organized, is a goal that many have but few achieve. At the end of 2015, Marie Kondo, a young Japanese mother, published the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” where she gave a series of tips for optimizing home spaces and being happy with less junk. The book, based on everyday tricks and also ancient zen philosophy, has been a huge success that has already sold millions of copies worldwide.
Reading Kondo’s entertaining book could be a good option to start organizing your home, but if you’re looking for other more immediate solutions or you don’t fancy reading books, today I’ll suggest different solutions for organizing your home, based on applications or online services, all of which are free.
This homemade organization guide is divided into different parts, so use it as you wish: check out the whole thing or only read the parts that interest you:
- Cleaning and organizing household chores
- Organizing your wardrobe
- Shopping and organizing weekly menus
Cleaning and organizing household chores
Housekeeping is an uphill battle for all of us. But sometimes it’s not so much laziness about cleaning the kitchen or bathroom as it is finding gaps in our schedules to do so. Thanks to technology, we can have total control of what we should do and when we do it, so our home doesn’t become a lion’s den.
OurHome, available on iOS, Android and web, is the perfect app for keeping chores under control. With it, you can create lists of chores to do, select the regularity you do them and mark them when they’re complete. Since the app knows we’re forgetful, it sends us reminders when we haven’t checked off a certain chore… No more changing sheets every full moon, now there’s no excuses!
OurHome is perfect for those who live alone but also for households with several people. The app has an interface that lets you assign chores to different household members, so it’s perfect if you share an apartment, live with a partner or have kids old enough to take charge of some chores.
In fact, if you have kids, a must-have app is Chore Monster (Android and iOS). With it, you can encourage your kids to do very simple chores (brush their teeth, clear the table, feed the pet) and evaluate their behavior at the end of the day. Good behavior translates into points that your kids can exchange for “Monsters”, virtual rewards.
Although any of these apps will leave you headache-free, it’s possible you’re old-school and prefer to do your planning simpler and on paper. In this case, go to this website to download cleaning and domestic chore planning sheets that you can print and adapt to your needs. And if you’re an Excel fanatic, click here to download a template in this format.
Now that you’ve got your chores organized, it’s time to do them. Certainly nobody is born knowing everything and it’s possible that if you recently became independent, it’s not clear how to do certain things. You can call Mom or, even better, look for resources that teach you how to be a good housekeeper.
There are many specialized websites for teaching certain everyday chores, my favorites are: How to clean anything, Real Simple, Organized Home and Good Housekeeping. The 4 websites are updated several times a week and it’s very easy to find what you’re looking for, from basic cleaning procedures to those foolproof grandmother tricks, and you’ll also save money on grocery products.
Organizing your wardrobe
How many times have you heard the phrase “I have nothing to wear”? In general, we all have more clothes that we really need and, worst of all, we’re not aware of it. Maybe the next time you change your wardrobe, you should contemplate making a complete inventory of your “rags.”
The app Closet Space (available on Android and iOS) will be excellent help for this task. With it, you can catalogue all your clothing to then know what you have and plan your outfits. Additionally, if you like fashion, you can consult the style of over 135 bloggers. If this topic especially interests you, I recommend an article that goes into more detail about other apps for organizing your wardrobe. Click here to read it.
If, instead, fashion isn’t your thing, I recommend that you consider a minimalist wardrobe challenge. What on earth am I talking about? Well, basically it’s a system that lets you live with a minimal number of clothing items. One of the challenges many follow is Project 333, which suggests living with 33 clothing items per season. On this website you’ll find a complete explanation of this method as well as tips for getting started.
Shopping and organizing weekly menus
House ready to go, wardrobe in order… What about food? Shopping and cooking daily is another huge chore that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The best way to take control is to shop with a list app, and the queen of them all is Remember the Milk.
Under this vivid name, you’ll find a very simple-to-use application that lets you create infinite lists and chores, and even assign lists to others. Have you (literally) forgotten the milk? Send a reminder to your roommate so he’ll pick some up on the way home.
After shopping, it’s time to cook. If you don’t have time, there’s nothing like a weekly menu planner. The service Eat This Much (web, iOS, Android) nicely serves this purpose, letting you organize your menus with your recipes or with thousands of dishes available. This is only the start
There are many other household concerns: finances, administrative tasks, children’s issues… This article is only the first step to taking on a more orderly life and showing that, though you have little time, if you know how to stay organized, the battle of household chaos is nearly won.