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Camille Styles

Life Lessons

How to Stay Organized at Life

January 6th, 2016

I’ve got to admit that I hesitated to even write this post. The last thing I wanted was to sound like someone who’s always got it all together, because there are definitely days when I feel as frazzled and pulled in a million directions as every other gal living in these busy times of ours. But after months of prodding from friends and readers, I decided it might be fun (and possibly helpful?) to share the organizational tricks I lean on to help me stay sane and prioritize all the different parts of my life that are important to me. Because when we’re talking about a schedule that includes some combination of work, kids, relationships, working out, creative endeavors, hobbies, and possibly all of the above — organization is the name of the game. I haven’t always been super organized, but over the years I’ve cultivated certain habits, keeping the ones that work for me and throwing out the ones that don’t. And what better time for all of us to get a little better at gracefully juggling it all than the start of a new year? Click through for the top 8 strategies I use, and I’d love to hear in the comments: what’s your number one tip for staying organized at life?

featured image by robert caruso for chatelaine

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What's your number one tip for staying organized at life?

39 Comments under :: How to Stay Organized at Life
  1. Katie H. says:

    “If something can be done in less than one minute, do it now.” That’s my favorite and most utilized. I struggle with decluttering, but clean and simple with everything in its place is the dream.

    • Agreed — this one definitely takes practice, but once it becomes a habit to do all those small tasks immediately, life feels infinitely less overwhelming. Best of luck on your decluttering journey in 2016!

  2. Gabriella says:

    Oh my!! Camille! Those tips are brilliant and definitely motivating. We just moved house and are living amidst tools and dust, as we are undergoing construction (and living in the same house). Any tips on how to stay organised amidst the chaos? x

    • oh my gosh, I can say from experience – it is SO tough to stay organized during a move or remodel. This is really the time when “having a place for everything” comes into play, even if it’s a temporary spot just during the construction. It’s also a time when you’ve got to cut yourself a little slack and just accept the chaos, knowing it’s a season that will pass — and it’ll all be worth it in the end. Good luck and congrats on the new house!

  3. Camille – absolutely LOVED this post, from one “OCD” Calendar maker to another!

  4. Melinda says:

    Thank you for this great post! I’m a mom of twin boys who works from home, and I have a busy social life and a husband who works a ton…I always say that my life is all about “Keeping the plates spinning”. I’m pretty OCD about my calendar as it is, but I just gathered some even better ideas from your post. Wishing you a wonderful 2016!

    • Amazing — I’m sure I could learn a thing or two from you! Sounds like you’ve gotten good at the juggle, and so glad you picked up a few tips. Keep those plates spinning! 😉

  5. Jennifer Rose Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Camille! I think the first thing people always ask me about you is how you manage to get so much done. Truly inspiring! You have definitely taught me the power of iCal… hoping to follow in your productivity footsteps in 2016.

  6. THIS IS SO HELPFUL. The “to do” list in Calendar is especially genius. I love these real life lessons and tips. Keep it coming!! And happy new year. xx

  7. Christena says:

    Planning & cooking meals for the week makes life so much easier – and when i group the types of meals together (cut all the carrots and onions for all the meals) it can be whipped through – avoiding the dreaded “whats for dinner?” Curating your closet (and life) to be filled with things that you can actually enjoy is amazing – but I find myself filling up more quickly than I would like to admit.

  8. Marife Roman says:

    Camille, thank you so much for sharing. It’s always interesting to learn about other’s organisational habits, so one can acquire new ways to shift our own habits.

  9. Kate Simmons says:

    Camille, I can’t tell you how much I loved this post, and how helpful the specific examples are. I also love your answer above about cutting ourselves slack during particularly chaotic times. I am definitely a planner who likes to stick to a schedule. I find it helpful to carve out some me time during weeks when life presents a set of unexpected, chaotic circumstances. At first glance, “me time” seems counterproductive if I’m getting behind, but it ends up putting me back on track in a way too, even if I just take a step back for a short break. Thanks for your insights!

    • Hi Kate! I was just listening to a Podcast this morning about the importance of carving out a couple hours each week to be by ourselves and do something that truly feeds our souls. It was totally in line with what you said — that “me time” actually makes you more focused on the right priorities, which is actually way more important than just checking another to-do item off your list.T Thanks for the great insight! xoxo

  10. CMQ says:

    Loved this post and have a suggestion for you – I too use my notes app to store my random lists of things to remember. However, I was able to delete my “books to read” list because I use the Goodreads app. It’s one of my favorite apps on my phone (nerdy? Possibly…) because it’s basically a reading social media app. You can keep track of books you want to read, “shelve” them (into groups of your own choosing so when you’re looking for a book in a certain category like romance or self-help, you can choose from the ones you’ve earmarked for yourself), rate books you’ve read, scan the ISBN number or search for books you’re currently reading, track your progress on current reads (for those of us who love to make tangible progress), and link up with friends to see what they’re reading as well. You can look up any book by title, peruse a summary, read reviews and add it right to your “want to read” list. I love it for a variety of reasons (clearly) and would say it’s probably my most recommended app as a result. Thanks for your wonderful tips and hope you’re able to outsource your “to-read” note as well!

  11. Nalena says:

    Camille, thank you! You have always been an inspiration on to how to live in a organized and clutter free manner. I remember you once sharing that you respond to all emails within 24 hours through a flagging system. Would love it if you could share more! I have a constant struggle with my inbox.

  12. Danette says:

    Thank you for sharing all your tips! I am a paper planner user but, your approach with Google calendars and iCal makes total sense. I will try it but, keep a paper calendar handy for support. Enjoyed the post

    • Great idea — and I know that there is just something about the act of writing it down with pen and paper that helps a lot of people commit something to memory! Glad you enjoyed and thanks for sharing your approach!

  13. cbsteckel says:

    These are great! Already re-organized my List-list on my iPhone! I’m a constant pile maker. If things are around the house I group them into what room they need to be returned to rather than making multiple trips to separate rooms all the time.

    I would love to hear how you keep your kiddo’s toys and crafts organized! Trying to tackle this now.

    • I love the pile-making strategy! That is so smart. Similarly, I corral all the kids loose toys/stuffed animals into a bin on the stairwell and take them up with me in one trip instead of having to go up and down the stairs multiple times. I could probably write an entire post on kids toys/crafts organization, but I am a big fan of having tons of baskets and storage bins so that everything has a place. We have a walk-in entry closet in the living room that I throw all their downstairs toys in and then just shut the door and pretend like it’s not there! 🙂

  14. Jackie says:

    Love this post! Mostly because your organizational habits are incredibly similar to mine – particularly the slide about using the “notes” app on your phone. I have a note for EVERYTHING (my boyfriend/everyone makes fun of me), but it truly delights me to make lists (is that weird?). Sometimes, if I’m having trouble sleeping because I can’t stop thinking about my to-do list, I’ll get out of bed just to write everything down, and then my mind is instantly put at ease. And once I tackle my tasks, it’s such a rewarding feeling to check off that to-do list. Who’s with me?!

  15. Amber says:

    I have a scarf problem and you mentioned them in your “Have a place for everything” tip. I find them difficult to keep wrangled, have you come across anything that helps you keep them organized?

    • Agree that is an organizational challenge! In my closet, I have 3 narrow bins from Container Store. I roll up my scarves and then line them up tightly in the bins side by side. That way I can see my entire selection, and rolling them keeps them from getting wrinkled. Hope that makes sense!

  16. Kendra says:

    Such a helpful post! I love the idea of color-coding by category and syncing up the to-do list. Random and unrelated question, but I am in love with the large textural flower in your entryway – would you mind sharing where you found it?

  17. Kate Smith says:

    Hello Camille, great info thank you! Which calendar do you choose to use specifically?
    Thanks

  18. robynsoffice says:

    Thanks Camille, this is an awesome post, thank you so much for sharing your tips. Especially like the idea of a reminder 2 weeks before an event that you need to purchase a gift for, genius 🙂

  19. Amber says:

    Your calendaring system is brilliant, definitely going to give it a go!

  20. Lulu says:

    Why do you create your calender in gmail first rather than in ical to start off? I’m trying to get better at relying on technology rather than notes of paper floating around in my purse.

    • Creating the calendar in google allows me to access it anywhere — even if I’m somewhere and need to use someone else’s computer or phone, all I have to do is login to gmail in the browser and view my calendar. I also think that google makes “sharing” your calendars (with family members, co-workers, etc) a more seamless process. And then the reason I sync it up to iCal is so that it’s easily accessible on my desktop and phone. Hope that helps and let me know if you have any other Q’s!

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