Today I and my team of crack organizational experts will provide you with cannot-fail advice on how to organize every single thing in your life, from preparing your Christmas list, to making your holiday meals, to keeping your finances in order.
Follow our simple plan and you will never be disorganized again. You will say, “Oh thank you for saving my disorganized life! I would like to send you four hundred dollars! I love you! Would you rather have five hundred? OK!”
But before you write that check – we prefer cash, credit cards, or cashier’s check – takes our simple little test to see how disorganized you truly are:
1. When strangers walk into my house they think:
a. Was your home just featured in Architectural Digest? It’s flawless!
b. What a comfy, homey place. A little clutter makes it look lived in.
c. Are you saving those magazines for a reason? I haven’t seen a copy of Look in years! Wait! Is that a mood ring?
d. I hear your voice, but I cannot see you! Is that you behind the rotting fruit? Oh my goodness! What IS that?
2. When preparing to file taxes, you:
a. Simply pick up the files you have carefully maintained all year and carry them off to your accountant.
b. Spend a few days getting your files in order. You have them, but you are a few weeks behind.
c. Dump out your giant paper bag of receipts and pray. Sort the information into piles on the dining room table. When you run out of room on the table, make more piles on the floor. Start over when the dog runs through the room.
d. File for an extension and begin calling merchants to ask them for receipts for things you bought in June. Make up numbers.
3. When preparing a holiday meal for thirty guests, you:
a. Establish a schedule and a shopping list. Begin two weeks ahead of time, freezing what will tolerate freezing. Have cocktails with your guests while the very last items are finishing on the stove.
b. Hire a caterer a few months in advance to beat the rush.
c. Serve lots of appetizers and drinks because dinner may get to the table a few hours late.
d. Muss your hair, throw your robe over your clothing, and answer your doorbell after it’s been rung several times. Using your best at-death’s-door voice, express your surprise that it is Thanksgiving, because you have not been out of bed in a week, you have been so sick. You don’t think it’s contagious. Or not very. Your husband may remember. Offer to call him at the hospital and find out.
If you selected C or D for any of the above answers, or you thought, “Set house on fire,” should have been an option for questions 2 and 3, boy do you need our help. Right away.
Get ready to change your life with these three easy steps!
Step 1: It all starts in childhood. Begin by finding more orderly people to raise you. Find the kind who will make you actually pick up after yourself instead of letting you get away with murder. Do not settle for one of those mothers who likes to be a martyr to your slovenliness. She should make you clean your room. If she doesn’t, find a different mother.
Step 2: Develop good habits. By age six you should be making your bed every day. Also, help with the dishes and do your homework every afternoon before you go out and play or watch television. Do not minimize the importance of youthful effort to create lifelong routines. Help with the dusting. Do you think we’re your servants?
Step 3: Maintain to-do lists and take pleasure in crossing things off. Do not get carried away. A to-do list that is fifty pages long can be a tad oppressive. If you are color coding everything, and have an established system of symbols to guide you – stars for completed tasks; triangles for tasks that you need someone’s help on; circles for tasks that can be delayed twenty-four hours but not forty-eight hours; parallelograms for tasks that can be delayed forty-eight hours but not longer than seventy-two hours; dodecahedrons for tasks that require a deep understanding of quantum mechanics as well as some smattering of advanced calculus; tori (plural of torus) for tasks that involve time travel and/or the presence of extinct mammals; the outline of a hippopotamus for tasks you probably will never complete in this or several more lifetimes; a star in a circle in a square with horns for tasks that you probably should not complete if you expect to maintain the respect of your neighbors – if you have this system, then you are spending way too much time organizing, which is just another form of avoidance and procrastination. Return to Step 1 immediately.
We know if you follow these three simple steps, your life will never be the same again. Disorganization will be conquered, and you will accomplish everything you have dreamed of doing. So start today! Somewhere out there is the perfect mother waiting to raise you!