A Tale of Two Katies

Organizing is a useful tool in accomplishing more in less time and having a fuller, less stressful life. Below is a story about how being organized changed one person’s morning schedule.

The Old Katie

The Morning Routine

It’s 7:15am and only minutes before Katie needs to be out the door and off to work to be there by 8am.

Katie needs to find her keys, sunglasses, cell phone and purse. She needs to find some toll money so she doesn’t get stuck at the bridge again searching through the car seats trying to find enough money to make it through the toll. And, she needs to make lunches for her, Bill, and the kids.

She finds the keys on the kitchen table buried under the mail from yesterday (5 min). She finds her sunglasses in one of her coat pockets – not the coat she was planning on wearing today (5 min). She finds her cell phone under a pillow on the couch (5 min). After searching the whole house, she finds her purse in the car on the backseat floor (10 min). Making the easiest lunch she can think of for the kids, she grabs out bread, peanut butter, and jelly, and makes a sandwich for each of the kids and stuffs it into a plastic baggie and then into a paper bag that she had to scour the pantry looking for. While looking for the bags in the pantry, she found buried juice boxes and and threw those in the paper bag with the sandwich (8 min). Almost forgetting, she remembers that there is some money on the dryer that she found in the wash last week. She grabs it, counts it and there is enough for the toll (2 min).

After finding her keys, sunglasses, cell phone, purse, and toll money, making the lunches for the kids, telling her husband to go out to eat for lunch and planning on going out to lunch herself, even though they are tight on money this month, she finally gets out the door at 7:50am, 35 minutes later. With the usual traffic, she will get to work at 8:20am, 20 minutes late, not including any traffic she may encounter due to leaving later.

What a way to start off the day. As a result, Katie feels frazzled, forgetful, and behind all day due to her reactive morning routine. Unfortunately, this is not a rare morning for Katie but a frequently occurring, morning routine. Routines can be good for you or bad for you. Katie’s routine needs a complete overhaul.

On the way to work stuck in traffic, Katie sees a sign for a no obligation, 1 hour, free consultation by a Professional Organizer. She makes note of the phone number on a scrap of paper in her car and vows she will call the moment she gets into work.

Katie calls the Professional Organizer once she finds that piece of paper a few days later and schedules a meeting time.

The Consultation

During the free consultation, the Organizer hears Katie’s morning routine and makes a few suggestions based on what she hears.

The Suggestions

Problem 1

The first problem she hears is Katie can not find the necessary items she needs to take with her out the door everyday.

Solution 1

The solution the Professional Organizer suggests is an entryway organizer with hooks for each person’s keys, sunglasses, and carry bag (i.e. purse) with a small shelf or basket for each person’s cell phone and any other small items they carry with them each day.

Problem 2

The second problem she hears is the use of morning time to make lunches.

Solution 2

The main solution the Organizer suggests is to pack kids’ and adults’ lunches the night before. A few other related suggestions she makes are: Involve the older kids in good food choices by having them help you pack their lunches the night before. Use leftovers from the night before in lunches when possible. Designate an area in the fridge for the refrigerated portion of the lunches and an area in the kitchen for the non-refrigerated portion of the lunches. Making lunches for everyone in the family, will save the money that would be spent on lunches out which takes us to our third problem.

Problem 3

The third problem she hears is money location and management.

Solution 3

The Professional Organizer suggests a couple things. In response to the money left on the dryer, she suggests keeping a small container near the washer to hold contents of pants’ pockets. For the toll money, the Organizer first suggests an electronic pass that allows you the comfort of not having to carry money with you for your normal daily tolls, but if that is not a possibility, she then suggests on Sunday night to put a week’s worth of toll money into the car’s middle console area or a comparable location so the money is within reach and there will be enough for the whole week.

The Professional Organizer offers a few more suggestions and then the free hour of consulting is up. Katie feels inspired and wants the Organizer to come back for another visit. The Organizer suggests a visit in about a week to follow up on her morning routine progress and to help in other areas of her life that she feels needs some organizing.

The New Katie

After meeting the Organizer and implementing the suggestions, Katie believes this morning will be different than the rest.

The Morning Routine

It’s 7:15am and only minutes before Katie needs to be out the door and off to work to be there by 8am.

She puts the refrigerated portion of the lunches for her, Bill, and the kids into the paper bags already containing the non-refrigerated portion of the lunches sitting in an organized manner on the kitchen counter and has everyone grab their lunches going out the door.

With the money for a week’s worth of tolls already in her car’s middle console she doesn’t have to worry about the toll money all week. By next week however, her electronic pass will have come in the mail and she won’t have to worry about tolls to and from work again.

She grabs her keys, sunglasses, and purse from the hooks and her cell phone from the basket in their entryway.

Katie is out the door in record time at 7:20am, 5 minutes later, and gets to work at 7:50am, 10 minutes early, even with her 30 minute drive. Katie feels relaxed, efficient, and productive.

The Challenge

I challenge you, my readers, to think of one event in your daily routine that could be organizationally fine tuned or overhauled to make your day less reactive and more proactive.