9 THINGS TO DO AT THE START OF EACH MONTH TO SIMPLIFY AND ORGANISE YOUR LIFE
Create less stress and more time with these 9 things to do at the start of each month to simplify and organise your life. Be more organised, prepared and save yourself time, stress and energy by getting ahead for the coming month instead of chasing your tail!
A REGULAR MONTHLY RESET
I’m a great believer in breaking big tasks down into smaller ones. I’m also a fan of being consistent, keeping up with routines and not being afraid to make small changes to our lives that help simplify things even when we don’t feel like it or have much time.
For these reasons, the beginning of the month is a perfect time to evaluate where we’re at, identify what’s working (and why) and plan for new things based on lessons and experiences we’ve learnt from the past.
Any time and any day can be a new beginning, but the start of the month is also a tangible and regular fresh start. We can highlight it in our calendars to provide a structure and framework to plan and make changes and assess them along the way.
Moving month to month we can see what’s working, what’s not and track our progress. We can make adjustments where needed, get organised for the month ahead, simplify the things that sap our time, energy and space.
Most importantly, we can establish a routine so that the more mundane aspects of life run like clockwork whilst we give ourselves freedom to do more, have fun and live more fully!
If you struggle to be organised, plan ahead or feel stifled by routine, a simple monthly plan to re-set and assess things might be right for you.
If this all sounds good, here are 9 things to do at the start of each month to simplify and organise your life…
9 THINGS TO DO AT THE START OF EACH MONTH TO SIMPLIFY AND ORGANISE YOUR LIFE
Here are 9 things to do at the start of each month to simplify and organise your life.
1. Declutter your home
Decluttering your home is about so much more than clearing your space and getting tidy. There are many reasons why decluttering is a good thing but getting rid of the clutter definitely helps keep your home clear, calm and easier to clean.
A quick monthly declutter, call it a maintenance declutter, will make sure that the clutter of everyday life doesn’t build up unnoticed!
Do a walk around your home. Notice any clutter that’s built up over the past month. It’s easy for clutter to build up and we get so used to seeing it on our floors or counters that we fail to really notice it any more. Here are some tips to avoid clutter-blindness!
Pay special attention to the areas of your home where clutter build up. Entrance ways and kitchen counters are notorious clutter hotspots.
As well as the general clutter of daily life, there are other things in our homes that contribute to clutter without us realising it. Here are some reasons why your home looks cluttered.
2. Check your calendar
Looking at your schedule regularly can help you identify when you’ve got too much on your plate and stop you forgetting important things like dentist appointments and your friend’s birthday.
Go through your diary at the start of each month and make a note of important appointments, activities and special events.
Keep a list of things you need to buy/prepare/take for each of these entries and buy them/order them/arrange them now so that you’re ready.
Make sure you’ve got alerts or reminders set on your phone (or post-it notes on the fridge) so you don’t forget anything!
Here are some tips to help you be more organised at home and in life.
3. Check-in with your goals
I believe that goals are important in helping us keep focus and direction in life. Sometimes it’s good to ‘wing it’ but having a few intentional goals, that really mean something to us, are vital in making sure we show up for our lives and do the best we can. We’re all here for a reason and goals help us define and achieve that.
I also believe that it’s ok to change your goals. What you decide one day may not be right for you in 5 years’ time and that’s fine. Give yourself freedom and permission to change the direction of your life to where you can make and feel the biggest difference. You’re not the same person you were 5 years ago, so why shouldn’t your goals change too?
At the start of every month, take a moment to assess your goals. Do they still reflect what you want out of life? Or have your circumstances, needs or wants changed?
Check-in with yourself and refresh your goals regularly to better suit you now (you’re much more likely to achieve them then!).
4. Check your finances
Use the start of each month to get on top of your money management. Few of us really enjoy ploughing through bank statements and receipts so breaking it up into manageable, monthly chunks seems much more bearable!
Check your income and expenses, match receipts against bank statements, get rid of any outgoings and subscriptions you’re not using. If you have any, pay off as much debt as you can afford and try to put a little money aside into a savings account if you can.
Check out this post on how to simplify your finances for some more tips and help.
5. Meal plan
I love eating and I love cooking but I really don’t like the stress of deciding what to cook, choosing something that everybody wants to eat and then finding that I don’t have everything in the cupboards or fridge that I need to make the said meal. It’s stressful, tiring and yet another decision at the end of a long day of decision-making.
This is where meal-planning comes in. Every week, usually on a Sunday, I make a plan of what meals and snacks we need for the week ahead. I add the necessary ingredients to my shopping list, go shopping or order an online delivery and I then stick to the plan as much as possible (with the odd take-away or dinner out thrown in).
Weekly planning is great but why not be even more organised and plan for the whole month ahead? Perhaps not every meal and snack but a loose, flexible plan of the main meals and key ingredients.
For more tips on meal-planning check out this post on meal-planning made simple.
6. Clean your home
Clearing the clutter is one way of easing the burden of managing our homes and freeing up some precious time and energy for ourselves. My second top tip for simplifying the home is getting some simple household routines in place that keep your home tidy and clean but with minimum effort from you. You can check out some daily routines that I like to follow in this post on 10 simple household routines.
However, even with the best will in the world, sometimes we let things slide. We hoover but run out of time to dust, we clean the kitchen counter but forget about the door and drawer handles until we realise how sticky they are! I dust the table tops and shelves but always forget to look up and do something about the odd cobwebs from the ceiling.
- Keep a list of jobs that need doing but which you always forget and make a point of doing these at the start of each month.
- Set an alert to change the bedding and towels, wash the windows, mop/wipe/hoover all the floors, clean the kitchen/bathroom and entrance way (and anything else that needs doing regularly) at the start of every month.
- Assess your home, how many people live there, how you use the space and what you need to do to keep it clean as this will be different for everyone.
- Use the first of the month to give your home a good, detailed clean and then maybe a regular ‘power hour’ here or there will be sufficient to maintain things until the next month.
7. Plan your self-care
Looking after ourselves is one of those things that falls to the bottom of the priority pile for many of us, unless we make a conscious effort to make time for it.
Each month I plan just a few little things that I’m going to do for myself. More than a few little things seems unrealistic in my busy season of life (young kids and work) so I deliberately keep to about 3 things on my list.
For example, these could be to:
- Finish my book
- Go to the hairdresser
- Have a date night with my hubby
Nothing too complicated or far-fetched but things that will actually make a difference to me and that I can definitely achieve in the next month.
Make a list now of 3 things you’d like to do in the coming month to look after yourself…
8. Reflect on the past month
I think reflection should be an integral part of our regular routine. I love to reflect on what’s gone well because it makes me feel uplifted and positive.
However, reflecting on the things that haven’t gone so well is equally important. It helps us work out why things weren’t successful, we can learn to avoid repeating past mistakes, shift negative thought patterns and behaviours and find ways to improve or change things for next time.
Here’s a little challenge for you…
- Grab your notebook.
- Write down 5 things that went well last month. What made them go well, why do you consider them to have gone well and how can you repeat or do more of that this coming month?
- Write down 5 things that didn’t go so well. Were they tasks you didn’t finish, wishes that didn’t come true? Work out why you consider them to have not gone right and what you could do to change things. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, “If you keep doing the same thing, don’t expect a different result.”
If you find that writing things down helps you, then try these posts to encourage you to keep writing:
9. Assess your wardrobe
In some parts of the world, there’s not much difference between the seasons. In others, one month it’s shorts, the next it’s a warm coat! Depending on where you live, regularly assessing your wardrobe is a great way of making sure that you can get dressed easily and quickly without a shed-load of unused clothes clutter getting in your way.
I must admit that I’m personally not a fan of capsule wardrobes. Not only do I feel restricted in terms of choice, but I prefer to layer my clothes which means I can wear most of my clothes throughout the whole year, rather than be confined to seasons.
However, I do find it so much easier to have less clothes, keeping only the ones that I love to wear, feel comfortable in and that I know suit my shape and style choice.
A decluttered wardrobe is so much more efficient too. I can find what I’m looking for, I can mix and match easily and I seldom have to spend more than a few minutes deciding what to wear. It makes my busy mornings MUCH easier!
Take a few moments once a month to go through your own wardrobe. Clear the clutter, give it a quick tidy, sort out your seasonal clothes, donate anything that you don’t like and get rid of anything that is damaged beyond repair. Be mindful if you go shopping, invest in pieces that will enhance your wardrobe and not just drain your bank account!
Check out these posts for more tips:
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS…
I hope these suggestions help. If you need a quick summary or checklist, here’s a quick re-cap of 9 things to do at the start of each month to simplify and organise your life:
- Do a maintenance declutter
- Check your calendar
- Check-in with your goals
- Check your finances
- Clean your home
- Plan your self-care
- Reflect on the past month
- Assess your wardrobe
If you have any other tips or suggestions please let me know in the comments!
RESOURCES TO HELP YOU BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
Planning your month ahead is just one of way getting organised and prepared. The real benefit of this is to make life easier and carve out more time – for what you want to do, not just what you have to do!
Here are some other resources on productivity and time management you might like:
- 15 ways to be more productive – Get more done in less time
- How to reset your home – And reset your mind too!
- How to create a daily routine to simplify your life
- How to stop living for the weekends and enjoy your week more
- Maximise Your Time – My popular little time management course to help you be productive, organised and the boss of your schedule
DON’T MISS OUT!
I’m Antonia and on this blog I share practical inspiration to simplify your home, time and life. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest! You can also subscribe to Balance Through Simplicity and receive regular simplicity tips straight to your inbox for free. Make sure you never miss an article plus you’ll get a copy of my free Declutter Starter Kit as a welcome gift!