Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Creating a Master List for Your Home

So a few weeks ago I told you how I'm trying to purge and organize our entire room - for the sake my happiness and the sanity of my neat-n-tidy sweetheart, and to keep us from packing a lot of junk and taking it all the way to our {hopefully} new home in Iowa.  I've been very inspired by Tsh's book Organized Simplicity - the book really gave me a vision for a clutter-free, simple life, but there's no two ways about it - purging and organizing still can be an overwhelming process.

Today I want to share the method I'm using to break this huge task down.  It's an idea my good professional organizer friend, Gail Newton, came up with {the same one who also told me God gave me all the time I need to do everything He wants me to do - she's awful smart}.  
Her idea is to Create a Master List for your home.  The basic idea is to break each room down into specific tasks.

FIRST: Take a notepad and go to each room in your house.  Sit look around and make a list of every task that needs to be done - every space that needs to be purged, cleaned, fixed, organized, etc.  You can see how I did this for my entryway in the picture below {yes, my front closet is already ready for some maintenance, but this time I'm being ruthless - nothing stays unless I truly use it or think it's very beautiful!}

Next you will put all of this data into a handy dandy spreadsheet - such as in Excel.  You'll have a column for the 1. Space  2. Rank  3. Job  4. Time  5. Needed and 6. Outside Help.

1. Space Column:  In this column you name each general space (Entry Way, Kitchen, Office Desk)
2. Rank column: Here you'll rank which job is the most important in each space with "1" being most important.  If I felt like more than one task was a very important "1", I made it a "1" as well.
3. Job Column: In this column you name each specific job - try to break down tasks into smaller tasks as much as you can.  I put an abbreviation for each space {ie. EW for Entry Way} in front of each Job so that it will be easy to identify when we sort according to Time later.
4. Time Column: Now you estimate how much time it will take you to complete that task {now is a good time to overestimate!}
5. Needed Column: This column will show what supplies you might need to buy to do the project{storage bins, closet hooks, etc}.   

6. Outside Help:  Here, you'll put the name of anyone who will be enlist to help you with that task...such as "Sweetheart" ; )

In the picture below, you'll see that I've sorted all the Job's according to priority within each Space.  This is easy to do with Excel, using the sort/filter button.  So below, we have "EW" -  abbreviation for the Entry Way- and show the 1st, 2nd and 3rd task I have to do.

So now you have your Master List!  But you're not quite done.  Using Excel, sort your list by "Time" - so that the job taking the shortest about of time comes up at the top.   You can do this my selecting the entire Time column and using the sort/filter button again.

 I have this list along with the the original Master List on my refrigerator.   This second list is the one I actually refer to most, because I can use it to pick a job to do depending on how much time I have.  For example, the kiddos are drawing with markers =  about 10 minutes of time to do a project, so I pick a ten minute project from my list and go for it.  Later during nap time I might have time for a 30 minute or hour-long project.

This method really has been helpful to me so far.  I love how it helped me break down everything that needs to be done into small, defined tasks.  It also gave me a idea of how much time total this Simplify Project is actually going to take, so I can be more intentional about getting a certain amount of work done each day {at least two hours if I'm going to get done by our goal date}.  Definitely feeling motivated with an actual house on the horizon!

I don't know how well I explained this - please feel free to comment if you have questions or need clarification!  Even if you're not moving it's a great tool to keep you plugging away on your home as you find time.

If you leave your email address {or email me at everydaylovelyblog@gmail.com} I'll send you a copy of my own Excel worksheet you can use it as an example and to fill in your own list - prepare to be shocked, it is LONG. : )

p.s. thank you for your kind congratulations for the Dr. and happy encouragement about the potential house...we heard back from the owners and they sound quite positive...at this point we just need to get a contract signed....and sell our house!


  1. I am sooooooo enjoying these posts about organization..... While I have a LONG WAY TO GO...... I did start (based on your hints and pics!!!) china cabinet cleaned out and re-organized :) YES!! Hall closed re-done and organized! YES!! MOVING RIGHT ALONG .... little by little!!!! This is so great!!!! Been wanting to do this for a long time!!!!!!! Thanks, Terri

  2. you're kinda TOTALLY blowing my mind here (as i take a break from randomly throwing things into boxes like a crazy woman)!! i would like a list...but i'm a little scared. don't scare me k, i'm fragile :)

  3. This is a great idea! I'm planning on starting a little blog series about organization and simplifying (we may be moving too in the near future!)...I may have to ask you for a guest post! This idea is perfect for staying sane through the purging process :)

  4. I created something similar for my home not too long ago. This is such a great idea. I love how you incorporated the time and rank. Thanks for sharing.

    Mrs. Delightful

  5. WOW!! Love this list! Would love to have a copy of it so I can try my best to have my family live a more organized life. Fingers crossed for your new home and a huge congrats on the DR. for your hubs.


  6. This is such a good idea! I love making lists...but they are never as organized as this!


  7. I just found your blog via House of Fifty.
    Loving it.

    Do you have a Facebook page?
    I'm signing up via e-mail but I'd love to link up.

    ~ Dana
    Cooking At Cafe D

  8. I love your ideas on how to simplify, clean out, organize and all the rest. Would you please send me your how to??

  9. I would love to have one. bcbarnes@harding.edu

  10. Oh I SOOO need one!! Thank You!!