Having your own homestead is a lot of work, both inside and out. Whether you’re running it as a business or not, there are tons of things that you have to do every day and it’s easy for thing to get overlooked or pushed to the backburner. Believe me, I know; it happens to me constantly. While a little bit of procrastination is normal, staying organized will help you stay on top of things and make life much simpler.
But there’s a problem: most of the organization tips you read online are meant for businesspeople who don’t mind putting absolutely everything in their phones and having constant digital reminders. While you can do that somewhat on a homestead, there are much simpler, more old-fashioned ways to keeping your life more in check.
Here are some of the old-fashioned things I do to stay organized:
1. Write it down
I’m a list maker. In fact, I have lists of lists, but even if you aren’t an obsessive listmaker like I am, writing things down can be a great way to get organized. Create a to-do list every morning while you are drinking your morning coffee, and track your progress throughout the day. This will also ensure that if you get caught up in something, you will have a visual reminder of whatever task it is you pushed off, and it can be added to the top of tomorrow’s list.
A word of advice, though: leave the list in the house when you go outside! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come back from the barn and realized my list has disappeared somehow, or it’s so covered in mud that it’s illegible. I keep my list on the fridge with a magnet so everyone in the house can see it.
2. Keep a calendar
If your family is extremely busy, this can be a great way to help track what is going on. Have the kids write down all of their extra-curricular activities on the calendar so you aren’t rushing around at the last minute. This also will teach kids to plan ahead, which is a valuable skill. Make sure that you also write down any engagements or important things on the calendar. We also write birthdays of extended family on there so I remember to call my grandma on her birthday.
Some things are just more important than others. The livestock have to be fed every day, but if you don’t get the mail today or sort the laundry tomorrow, will anything truly terrible happen? Chances are, no. Take the time to prioritize your day and make sure that you get the most important things done first, that way you can stay better organized. Just beware of always pushing things to tomorrow! If you don’t get the mail today it won’t matter, but in a couple weeks you’ll have an angry mailman at your door!
4. Have a place for everything
Ever heard the phrase “a place for everything, and everything in its place”? Part of what causes clutter and disorganization in most houses is that there is no place to put some things. This is especially true for paperwork, some of which you need to keep for a while. Next time you go through and clean, make sure that everything in your home has a place. If it doesn’t have a special spot where it goes, then make one. If you can’t find a place for it, then stop and ask yourself if you really need it. This will help not only organize and declutter, but stay organized!
5. Plan ahead
One of the hardest and easiest ways to stay organized is to plan ahead. Whether you’re talking about activities, chores, or whatever else, knowing what you’re going to do will allow you to not only prepare and make sure you have everything you need, but also communicate that with others. Know what you need to cook dinner and make sure you have it to cut down on emergency runs to the store. Track how much feed you have for your livestock and refill it before it runs out. Planning ahead takes some getting used to, but it will greatly help you stay organized.
6. Avoid time-wasters
The internet is a wonderful thing, and so is the computer… however, they are also some of the biggest time-wasters there are. When you only have a limited amount of time each day and a seemingly unlimited amount of chores, it simply doesn’t make sense to waste time. Save your relaxation for the evenings, and make sure that you’re bettering yourself with your activities.
If you cut out those traditional time-wasters and still find that you don’t have enough time, try spending a week and writing down everything you do and how long it takes you to do it. You’d be surprised at how much time you spend on some activities, and how much of that time might not be necessary.
So those are my tips. Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for getting and staying organized? Share with me in the comments below!