I blog about Organizational Design and Emergency Preparation. Many people have no clue how these two focuses relate to each other but you cannot successfully have one with out the other. Getting organized is the first step to preparing for any emergency, big or small. Start taking those steps now to organize your home and life.
There are so many aspects of organization that relate to emergency preparations that I could write a thousand posts on the subject. However, since time is valuable and this is a “quick tip,” here is 5 steps you can do NOW to start you, your family, and your home on the right path to organization and preparedness.
Create an Inventory
If you have any emergency supplies, you should have it documented on an inventory sheet. This includes food storage (pantry, long-term, and fridge/freezer), camping equipment, tools, medical items, and any kits you have made. Keep an updated sheet on your computer and regularly print out a hard copy to keep in your Emergency Preparedness binder. Remember, if it is undocumented then you are likely to forget about an item when you need it.
Get Rid of Excess
Trust me, your home isn’t too small*. You either have too much stuff, or it isn’t organized properly. You really don’t need those outdated coupons, that old prom dress, or your collection of magazines dating 5+ years. Yes, I have been guilty of ALL of these. Challenge yourself to find one thing to to toss, sell, or donate each day for a month. Soon you’ll find that tossing things can be as addictive as shopping for things.
*Want to see some really small spaces? Try living in 330 sq feet, 100 sq feet, or ever 89 sq feet! While not practical for everyone, these homes show that simple living in small spaces is possible and sometime preferred.
Start Menu Planning
You are hopefully starting a small “home store” as part of your emergency prep. Now you need to figure out how to quickly prepare meals from that storage! Start by looking at your food inventories and creating meals from what you have. Try to limit yourself to one grocery store trip a week to pick up fresh items and then stick to your menu. After you master once a week grocery shopping, you can expand that time.
Menu planning is essential to organization, and it is an essential survival skill. If there ever comes a time when the grocery stores are unavailable, you will be prepared to open your pantry and make dinner for your family without worry. It will also save you money, time, and sanity!
Do a Little Each Day
Are you one of those people who deal with clutter, mess and chaos for a while, spend a whole day or so cleaning and organizing, then burn our and start the cycle again? I was too. This pattern is stressful, unsuccessful and frankly sucks. The only way to break that cycle is to change your mindset.
Do a little each day. You don’t have to organize the entire house right now, start with a closet or even just one dresser drawer. Do one load of laundry or dishes each day rather then letting it pile up until your eating dry cereal in your birthday suit cause you have nothing to wear or eat off of. The key is not to burn out, but to create new habits little by little as you feel comfortable.
Get Your Family on Board with “The System”
Have you ever felt like you were the only one picking up around the house? Perhaps you are constantly reminding your family where their socks, phone, or keys are. These are good indicators that your family isn’t on board with “the system” or maybe “the system” needs to be revamped. That’s all organization is: a pattern of habits that you create to simplify your life. It’s a system, and if one thing is off then the whole thing can go downhill fast.
Hold a family meeting and identify a few areas around the house that you might consider problematic and work together to find solutions. Once you have come to an agreement, challenge everyone in the family to follow the rules for a week and then re-evaluate what is working and what isn’t. When living in a home with others, you have to create these systems together or they will likely fail. Teamwork is the base of success.
Work these five aspects of organization and you will be one step closer to prepared. Now I want to hear from you:
- Do you use a meal plan? How often do you hit the grocery store each week?
- Do you have an inventory of your food and supplies?
- What systems do you have around the house that need work? What systems to you have running like a well oiled machine?
- What is the oddest thing you are storing in your home that you should probably get rid of?
- Could you imagine living in a home smaller than 500 sq feet? What do you think would be necessary to make that possible for you and your family?