Though these are not directly related to personal finance, we find them very helpful in our day to day life in keeping our down time actually… down. When you follow a set schedule of things to get done every day, it means that in the long run, you do not have to spend every Saturday just cleaning your house; you can instead get outside, go to a museum, or enjoy a relaxing day reading the newspaper and watching TV. I have always been a neat freak and find that keeping a clean and orderly house makes life easier. We also apply a lot of these tips to our personal finances in that we pay bills when we get them, we file paperwork as soon as we are done with it and we use online bill paying/account management to monitor our entire financial portfolio in one place. If you have any additional tips that you use to stay orderly and in control, I would love to hear them!
Source of original article: LifeOrganizers.com.
Make your bed every day. Making your bed takes all of five minutes, but at the end of a busy day, when you can retreat to an inviting bed you will be able to feel the stresses of the day slip away as you slip under the covers. Make it a daily chore for your children to make their beds too. It will help your home look neater and teach them responsibility.
Done, check! Makes going to bed a lot more pleasant as the room is clean and made up and ready for rest!
Do one load of laundry every day. I have a washing machine with a timer so I gather up a load of laundry each morning, place it in the machine, add the soap to the dispenser and set the timer so that the wash starts just before my husband gets home from work. When the machine stops, my husband transfers the load from the washer to the dryer. After dinner we fold the clothes together and get them put away. Broken down into segments, doing a load of laundry this way takes no time at all, but the difference it makes in keeping the laundry under control is unbelievable. If you do not have a washer with a timer, gather the load in the morning and throw it into the machine. As soon as you walk through the door in the evening get the load started so it will be ready to transfer to the dryer just before you sit down for dinner. The dryer will be done by the time you are finished cleaning up the dishes and you will be ready to fold the clothes and put them away. Doing a load of laundry every day adds only minutes to your daily routine, but when you do not have to spend your entire weekend trying to dig yourself out from underneath a mountain of dirty laundry, you will be glad you took those extra few minutes throughout the week.
Though we do not do laundry every day (apartment living at it’s best!) we do try to do several loads a week so when the weekend arrives we do not have to do 5 loads just to have clean clothes for the week. Makes the weekends more bearable!
Plan dinner in the morning. If you know exactly what you are going to make for dinner each night you will save yourself so much time that would have been wasted standing in front of the open refrigerator wondering what you can make. Pull anything out of the freezer that needs to defrost during the day, chop up some veggies or marinate something. If there is anything you can do in the morning to make the dinner time rush go smoother, do it.
We do this but one step better…we do it before we go grocery shopping for the week. That way we only get what we need and we know what we will be eating all week and I can start it before my wife even gets home.
Make a list of any errands you can do while you are out. Blending errands into your daily routine will save you the hassle of having to run all over town on the weekends. Can you make a stop during your lunch hour? Can you drop something off on your way in to work or can you swing by and pick something up on your way home? Doing your errands throughout the week will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Since I usually walk to do my errands, I do not necessarily combine things to do while I am out as it would be difficult to walk all the places I do need to go. But when I take the car out, I make sure I do as much as I can think needs doing so I do not need to touch the car again.
Clean up the kitchen after dinner. Although you are exhausted at the end of the day and it is tempting to put the dishes in the sink with the thought that you will do them in the morning, how many times has the next morning come and you get busy with other things? When this happens you wind up leaving the house with the dishes still undone and you have to come home to an untidy kitchen. Make a point to spend the extra ten minutes cleaning up the kitchen after dinner so that you can start each new day with a fresh clean slate instead of getting behind and letting things pile up.
Check, done. Whomever cooks doesn’t do the dishes in our house. Its a simple system that is an added bonus for the cook at night. Plus, who wants to wake up to dirty dishes covering the kitchen!
Clean up the living room before going to bed each a night. Make this a family chore. Take five or ten minutes to do a sweep through the living room and put everything back where it belongs. Leaving things laying around is exactly how mountains get created out of molehills.
I straighten up the house every day before we go to bed. I realize this would take a small backseat when we have kids, but for now, its better to spend a quick 5 minutes putting a few things away at the end of the day rather than have them add up in piles over the course of the week.
Schedule homework time. Life may not always allow for strict schedules, but try to keep things as consistent as possible so that your kids know what to expect and what is expected of them. Choose a time that you will be able to stick to most nights of the week and dedicate it to homework. Turn off the television and eliminate any other distractions so that your kids can sit down and really focus on their studies. Right after dinner is a good time for this if possible. The kids can sit at the table while you are cleaning up after dinner. You can spend time together while still accomplishing the task at hand and you are readily available for any questions they may have.
None for me, thanks! My wife does homework every night for college, and when we have kids we will have set homework times.
Pick out your clothes the night before. We all know how much easier it can make the morning rush to have your children choose their clothes the night before. Practice what you preach and choose your own outfit the night before. Remove all necessary items from the closet or dresser drawers and lay them out so they are close at hand. The precious minutes you save when you don’t have to try and decide what you will wear could make the difference between running late and being right on time.
Since I work from home I do not worry about picking out my clothes for the next day. I can work in my pajamas all day or I can choose to get moving with a shower and some real clothes when I wake up. My wife on the other hand rushes around every morning trying to get out the door and sometimes she actually picks out her clothes the night before. But most of the time she is on a mad dash to get to work.
Make a bedtime routine. Explain to all of your family members what is expected of them when you say it is time for bed. This would include things like bathing and brushing their teeth, putting their clothes in the laundry hamper, changing into their pajamas, choosing their clothes for the next day and getting into bed. Practice this so that when you say “it’s time for bed,” they know exactly what to do. If you do not have to follow them around telling them what to do next, while they are executing their routine, you will have time to take care of any last minute details you need to accomplish before calling it a day. If your kids need some motivation, create a reward system for each night that they can successfully accomplish their bedtime routine all by themselves.
When we have kids, this will definitely be put into play. I do not think my wife would like me following her around telling her its time for bed and rewarding her for following a routine.
Keep a note pad next to your bed. It is always just as we are getting ready to retire for the day that we remember something we have to do tomorrow. Be prepared for these end of the day ideas with a note pad at hand to write down anything you must remember. The next morning, simply pull off the top sheet of paper and put it in your pocket or purse to refer to later in the day.
I keep a notepad next to my bed, in my bag, and on my desk in my office. You never know when the next great idea might hit you.
I hope people have found this list helpful. As I said at the beginning, it is not necessarily related to personal finance, but having a system in place for dealing with things as they happen can sure make the weekends a little more relaxing!