Quick Organizing Tips to Gain Minutes Each Day – Ritter Ames Mysteries

Quick Organizing Tips to Gain Minutes Each Day

It seems like everyone I know is looking for ways to save time right now. Between regular tasks, upcoming spring schedules, the chore of getting everything together to complete our taxes (I know, bad word, I’m sorry), opening the garden or freshening the landscape, and SAS memejust general spring cleaning because we’re finally able to leave the house without having to brave the cold every day — there’s a lot to do at the moment. I quipped this morning I might farm out some of my tasks to the dog. And while she’d likely try to do her best, I think I’ll leave that as a joke between us.

While we can’t actually create time, we can save it and use the extra minutes each day in efficient ways to seem to do more things without giving up sleep or fun.

  1. Find 3 to 5 minutes every time you’re in the kitchen. We likely spend more time in the kitchen than any room in the house–and the most time waiting. While waiting 3 minutes for the microwave:
    1.  clean out the refrigerator and update the shopping list.
    2. plan a dinner menu and check for ingredients to add to the shopping list.
    3. go through recyclables and take out anything that landed in the wrong bins.
  2. When on the go, don’t stare out the window and wonder when traffic is going to move or the doctor will finally call you for your appointment. Instead “discover” an extra 10 or 15 minutes by:
    1. keeping pens and a notepad handy to jot down reminders.
    2. making a grocery or to-do list.
    3. dashing off a couple of quick thank-you notes (yes, we all use email a lot for this, but some things still need a personal touch).
  3. Let natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda cut cleaning time in half:
    1. fill a water bottle with white vinegar and leave for everyone to spray on the shower door and walls after each shower to help reduce the buildup of soap scum and hard water deposits, and make bathroom cleaning a breeze.
    2. leave baking soda sprinkled in a damp bathtub to sit for a short time, and dirt and scum wipes right off later with a rag–no hard scrubbing and minutes gained.
    3. instead of dealing with lint still on clothes after drying (and having to look for the lint roller or masking tape), add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to reduce lint buildup on clothes.
  4. Spend 15 minutes once a year to make self-stick notes to label cards/envelopes with names and birth dates, then file them by-month in an accordion folder so no birthday is ever forgotten. Another trick that a friend uses is to create a “personal” event page for herself on Facebook for birthdays and anniversaries she never wants to forget. Then Facebook alerts her each time she “has an event this week.”
  5. I love using colors to organize, so every project, every family member, every year has it’s own color, because:
    1. using specific colors for each family member means I can see with a glance at the calendar who has some event or appointment each week–without having to get close enough even to see the name–just by seeing what ink colors are used to mark in the days’ boxes.
    2. using colored baskets in the mudroom for each family member means it’s easy to sort out all the personal things for each person that get distributed far and wide in the house, and then family members can take the basket full of items and put everything where they need to go.
    3. when I use specific colors to label projects and years, it is much easier to find things later, as I can immediately disregard files, boxes, notes or notebooks that aren’t the right color.

These are just a few tips for creating time by using it in new ways. Right now, I’m working on a two new Organized Mysteries projects–a new novel and a new short story. And, yes, each has its own project color.

Do you have a tip you want to share that keeps your life balanced and a little better on-track? Feel free to add it as a comment.


13 Replies to “Quick Organizing Tips to Gain Minutes Each Day”

    1. I used your children’s scissor’s tip on my recent trip to Phoenix. Sailed through airport security without any problem, and used the scissors while I was away. Thanks! Glad I could offer a couple of new tips to you here, Jeanie 🙂

  1. I need to stop reading this, I want to do all of the suggestions, and I can’t. But great ideas.

  2. I have alarms set for time to wake, eat, open library, leave for school visits, work on projects, make closing announcements, close library. Without alarms, I’d keep doing the same thing, reading on playing on FB!

    1. I have to limit myself on FB, too. I give myself only a set amount of time each day, and can break it up however I need it–but when it’s gone, I have to stop checking in 🙂

  3. About 20 years ago, a friend told me about hanging a squeegee in the shower. When we are done, we wipe down the shower with it. Keeps the glass (and walls!) clear and shiny until it gets cleaned again. We have very hard water here and even with a water softener, marks appear all the time. I even squeegee the floor of the shower — dries even more quickly than normal here in the desert. As for your other great tips? Hubs is in charge of “paper” and records…his filing system is drop it wherever he happens to be at the moment. Good thing I do love the man… But I DO learn new language every year when he is looking for papers!

  4. I love your suggestions! While using the entire surface of the dining room table to put stuff may sound easier than bins in the mudroom, it really is unsightly. One thing I like to do is wipe down one shelf of the fridge each day, while I’m doing dishes, so the fridge never gets too dirty. Cleaning the entire thing is really too daunting. Thanks for the post!

    1. Yeah, dining room tables are so handy, aren’t they? I have a problem with them when I’m researching and want to spread things out–then I don’t want to stack it all up again. I like your fridge tip. I’ve been doing the whole thing about once a week, but I like the shelf per day idea. Now if I could just get my husband to take his turn. LOL!

    2. amreade how about lining each shelf with saran wrap and then just replacing it when it gets dirty. It sure saves when something spills.

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