I turned to the two most organized people that I know, Kirsten Fischer (Designer/Owner Chosen Interiors) and Kristen Hofstede, to answer a simple question, “what do you think are your most valuable routines that keep you organized?” I sent the email at 10:58am, by 11:04am and 11:06am, I had full responses back from both of them with such a treasure trove of information it’s taken me a full week to digest and implement their routines.

The first thing I noticed was that they answered the question from slightly different perspectives. Kirsten’s emphasis was on space, physical clutter, and habits of cleanliness. Kristen first answered the question in terms of time management, and then acknowledged that in order for her to manage her time effectively she needed to have a home or surroundings that were orderly. So I decided to implement Kirsten’s routines first and then move on to Kristen’s.

Kirsten: Make sure everything has a “home”.

This was the single biggest “aha” I got out of the process because it changed my perspective. As I was organizing, I would ask myself, “where is this thing’s home?” I found I would either find a really good home for it or get rid of it because I realized I didn’t want that thing to “live” in my house. It was clarifying and made the whole de-clutter process much easier. Also, because I put thought into where things “live”, when I go to grab them there they are, and I don’t have the same trouble putting them back like I did before I replaced the word “place” with the word “home”.

Kirsten: Clean up after yourself everyday after you leave home/car/work. Make sure every day has the ability to start fresh without the day before’s mess getting in your way.

This is not rocket science, but difficult to put into practice, when I’m always rushing out the door. I realize that cleaning up after yourself before you leave, anytime you leave, feels amazing when you walk back into your space, so for the moment I’m living with being late until I can figure out how much time it actually takes me to clean up everything before I leave the house/car/office. I have to say the most remarkable part has been my car. I have never intentionally kept my car this clutter free and I didn’t know how good it would feel.

Kristen & Kirsten: To-do lists.

This is actually something that I do as well. I recently started using the Wunderlist app. It allows you to make lists on your phone and share your lists with other people. I especially like how easy it is to check something off a list. The other day, my husband was grocery shopping, checking things off a list that we shared and I was able to add something instantaneously to the list that I had forgotten we needed. This is an awesome tool for all you list makers out there.

Kristen: Calendar and invite significant other to all activities (children, work, social, etc.)

Again, you would think this is a no-brainer but my idea of keeping our schedule together is an impromptu conversation about what the next week entails. The problem is that a lot gets missed, there is confusion, and it results in many last minute calls to get a babysitter. Doing this actually cleared so much off my mental to-do list that I was really surprised as to how important it actually is.

Kristen: Priority areas – bucket main things that you want to get done over a specific period of time. 

I actually glanced past this one at first because I also do this and I was looking for things I could implement that I wasn’t already doing.  Then I realized Kristen has incorporated accountability into her routine. I love it!

Kristen: Get what you can get done and don’t over stress it!

How valuable these words were for me as I went through these tasks. This was probably my favorite take away because although I want to have an organized home and to manage my time more effectively (you would not believe the difference implementing these simple routines made) they reminded me not to strive for perfection but to create routines that I can live with and incorporate into my daily life so that things flow smoothly.

By the way, after the emails flew out, I got almost simultaneous after thoughts from each of these gloriously organized women.

Kristen: Seeing an organized room, drawer, closet – whatever, always makes me giddy!

Kirsten: Organization literally turns me on. True story!

So there you have it, organization really is sexy.

If you decide to implement what you’ve read here, let me know by writing in the comments below. If you have awesome routines that keep you organized share them please!