Cluttered Mess to Organized Success (2018) is a powerful organizational guide full of advice and actionable tips to help you better organize your life and home.
Introduction: Learn how to manage your home, your family, and your time.
Table of Contents
Life is messy and can be difficult to keep track of. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Cluttered Mess to Organized Success is primarily a guide full of worksheets and checklists, created to help you become more organized in your everyday life. While this summary doesn’t contain any worksheets, it does break down the most important organizational concepts into steps that you can easily follow.
These simple but powerful tactics will make it easier to get your home, your time, and your family in order – and, in the process, transform your life for the better.
The importance of setting goals
Recognizing your goals is the first step in acknowledging that your life is in desperate need of organization. We all have goals, but we don’t always know how to approach them. It may seem overwhelming and time-consuming to set these goals – but it doesn’t have to be. You might not even realize it, but you probably set little goals every day. These could include deciding to get out of bed as soon as your morning alarm goes off, or eating a healthy breakfast.
To start setting goals, first identify the big ones – your dreams. Once you’ve done that, you can start breaking them down into easier, more manageable goals. It’s important to write them down. Simply making note of it in your head is likely why your current organizational efforts aren’t too successful. Writing down your goals instantly gives you the motivation to complete them. You will feel more accomplished and will be motivated to keep moving forward.
After you’ve written down your goals, create a timeline that details when you would like to complete them. Don’t be too ambitious (or too hard on yourself) at this stage. Make these goals attainable and realistic. What are the steps you need to take in order to meet this goal? Be sure to write those down too!
Once you’ve done that, you have a plan of action. Now, let’s walk through an example.
What’s your dream? Is it to become an organized stay-at-home parent? Is your dream to spend more quality time with your family? Maybe your dream is to be an executive chef. No matter what your dream is, the concept of goal-setting stays the same. It starts with this main, overarching goal.
Next, you determine the steps that are necessary to get there. Say you want a more organized kitchen. How can you do that? For one, maybe you need more storage. This might require you to buy some containers for your pantry, so you can organize your collection of cereals or spices.
Another step to an organized kitchen would be to organize your cupboards. Maybe you already have cupboards dedicated to specific items: one for cups and glasses, one for plates and bowls, and one for Tupperware. If so, great! The next step would be to get rid of anything you don’t need. Decluttering is an essential part of becoming an organized individual.
In making a detailed list of steps, you’re creating a full plan to complete your goals. Remember: not everything has to be perfect right away. Pat yourself on the back for each little step you complete along the way.
Prioritizing your time
Do you ever feel like you don’t have time for yourself or your family? Each day is filled with work, school, and appointments, which can quickly get overwhelming. While you can’t really control the time you spend at work or in school, scheduling and organizing your time outside of these commitments can open up a lot of room for fun activities.
So how do you go from a cluttered mess to an organized success? Well, we’ve already discussed the importance of writing down your goals and breaking them down into steps. Now, it’s time to map out the specifics.
Learning how to properly manage your time will boost your productivity levels and save those precious hours after work from going to waste. This comes down to creating a schedule.
Where do you begin? It starts with a routine. Having a morning and evening routine can help you move through the day more smoothly. It doesn’t mean you have to do exactly the same thing every day – you can also adapt and change your routine. But having a solid set of daily habits is a good place to start.
Take a moment to think about what you want to accomplish in the morning. Let’s say you want to drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up. That’s going to take you, what, one to three minutes? Your next task is to get ready. The time it takes you to brush your teeth and hair, shower, get dressed, and put on makeup varies from person to person – but let’s say the whole process will take you 30 minutes. Now you’ll probably get yourself some breakfast – either something you whip up yourself or something you buy.
This type of routine can be simple. But it’ll keep you consistent and become satisfying as you start to manage your time better.
Maybe you don’t take that long to get dressed or eat in the morning. Say you have time left over. This could be an appropriate time to get a few chores out of the way. It doesn’t exactly sound fun, but think of it like this: if you get the hardest tasks done earlier in your day, then you can continue with a big sense of accomplishment and ease. You may even find it energizing – and this happy energy will rub off on your family, your coworkers, or even some random person you encounter in the grocery store.
Another interesting thing about time management is the amount of time it actually takes to complete simple household chores. If you’re anything like most people, you probably dread having to load and unload the dishwasher, clean the bathroom, or vacuum – but have you ever actually timed yourself doing these things?
You’d be surprised to find out that they don’t take as long as they feel – a few minutes at most. So if you knock out some chores before you head to work, you’ll likely find yourself with more time to spend alone or with your kids in the afternoon and evening.
Simply writing down these goals and tasks will motivate you and make you more likely to accomplish them. So keep a binder in a visible place, where you can easily access your monthly, weekly, and daily planners. This binder will also serve other purposes, which we’ll discuss more in the following section.
The holy binder
We’ve discussed goal-setting and time management. Now it’s time to focus on the holy binder.
The holy binder isn’t just the place where you’ll keep your schedules, planners, and to-do lists – it’s also where you’ll collect important documents. Meal planning sheets, budget tracking sheets, medical information, contact lists … they’re all fair game for your holy binder. It’s one sure way to keep your meals, finances, and emergency information organized.
Let’s start with meal planning.
Thinking about your meals one week at a time eliminates the tension of having to decide what’s for dinner at the last minute – something many of us struggle with. Either nothing sounds good, or you don’t know what to cook with the chicken you have in the fridge. Maybe you manage to get a nice meal on the table, but your family complains that they don’t like it.
Let this be an enlightening moment. Sitting down and planning out the week’s meals can bring your whole family together. Write out which meals you all would like, and what day you’ll have them. You can also include recipes in your binder – along with inventory sheets for what you have in the freezer, fridge, and pantry – and use these as a reference when grocery shopping and deciding what to cook.
Your binder is also the best place to keep track of your finances. You don’t have to include any sensitive information here, but you can improve how you keep track of the money you earn and spend.
Create multiple sheets for these purposes. Use one to track your monthly and yearly budgets. This might include car insurance payments, mortgage or rent payments, groceries, gas, and any out-of-pocket medical expenses. Deduct these from your expected income, and you’ll have a clear overview of what’s left for emergency savings or for when you want to treat yourself.
Create a separate sheet to keep track of everything you purchased in a month. Then you can figure out which purchases are a priority – and where money doesn’t need to be spent. This will help you differentiate between your wants and your needs.
There are five concrete steps to follow when it comes to managing your money. To be successful, create a budget, track your spending, pay down any debt that you have, start saving for an emergency fund, and invest 10 percent of each paycheck for retirement.
Along with your finances, keep information on your family health – and what to do in case of an emergency – in this binder. That means creating a list of everyone’s medications, surgeries, and allergies. You could also write down everyone’s insurance information and any relevant family history.
Your binder is also the place where you can include any information regarding your will and power of attorney. In case something happens to you or your partner, you’ll have everything covered in terms of your finances, home, and children.
Ultimately, this binder is your holy grail for organizing your life.
The psychology of labeling
In this last section, we’ll focus on how to physically organize your home – specifically, on the psychological power of labeling.
Really and truly, labeling your home can transcend your life. Think about it: Have you ever struggled with getting your family to pick up after themselves? You’re not alone. Labeling is magic because it’s like creating small homes for all of your stuff. It’s your own little organizational system.
So what exactly is labeling? Well, it’s as easy as it sounds. You can either print out cute labels to put on your stuff, or simply put pen to paper.
Labeling changes the way you think on a subconscious level. You might currently throw your keys and shoes wherever. But if you have a labeled, designated spot for them, you’ll find yourself putting them exactly where they’re supposed to go.
You can label anything in your home – from the drawers in your fridge to your kids’ toy box and bathroom items. If you need to label your toilet paper holder, then so be it.
It’s an incredibly functional tactic that will take you by surprise … so don’t knock until you’ve tried it!
It takes power and determination to start getting your life in order. But through techniques and tools like goal-setting, time management, a planning binder, and labeling, you can completely transform your life.
The “Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook” by Cassandra Aarssen is a comprehensive guide that aims to help individuals transform their chaotic living spaces and disorganized lives into organized and harmonious environments. With a practical approach and actionable steps, Aarssen offers readers valuable insights and strategies to tackle clutter and create lasting organizational systems.
One of the book’s strengths lies in its structured format. Aarssen provides readers with a step-by-step workbook that serves as a roadmap for decluttering and organizing various aspects of their lives. The workbook format encourages active participation and engagement, allowing readers to apply the concepts and techniques directly to their own situations.
Aarssen begins by addressing the emotional and psychological aspects of clutter, acknowledging that it can be overwhelming and challenging to let go of possessions. She offers compassionate advice and encourages readers to adopt a mindset that embraces simplicity and intentional living. By addressing the underlying reasons for clutter, the book goes beyond mere physical organization, making it more effective in helping readers achieve lasting change.
The author’s approach is practical and realistic, making it accessible to readers of all organizational skill levels. Aarssen provides guidelines for sorting and decluttering various spaces, such as bedrooms, kitchens, and living areas, as well as tackling common clutter hotspots like closets and garages. The book also covers essential organizational principles, such as creating effective storage solutions and establishing daily routines to maintain order.
What sets this book apart is its emphasis on customization. Aarssen recognizes that organizing strategies should be tailored to individual preferences and lifestyles. She encourages readers to consider their unique needs and priorities when implementing organizational systems, making the process more personalized and sustainable.
Throughout the workbook, Aarssen incorporates practical exercises, checklists, and reflection prompts to enhance the reader’s learning experience. These interactive elements promote self-awareness, decision-making, and problem-solving skills, enabling readers to develop their own organizational strategies beyond the book’s guidance.
While the book primarily focuses on physical clutter, Aarssen also addresses the importance of organizing digital spaces and managing time effectively. In today’s digital age, these aspects are increasingly relevant and contribute to overall life organization. By including these topics, Aarssen ensures that readers have a holistic approach to organizing their lives.
One minor drawback of the book is that some readers may find certain sections repetitive. However, this repetition can serve as a helpful reinforcement of key concepts for those who benefit from additional reminders and practice.
In conclusion, “Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook” by Cassandra Aarssen provides a valuable resource for individuals seeking to declutter and organize their homes and lives. With its practical advice, personalized approach, and interactive workbook format, the book empowers readers to take control of their environments and achieve long-lasting organizational success. Whether you are a clutter novice or someone looking to refine your organizational skills, this book offers valuable insights and actionable strategies to help you on your journey towards a more organized and fulfilling life.