I’m gonna be the first to put my hand up and say that I’m not the world’s most organised person. I mean, I have ‘the chair’ – you know the one – for clothes not quite clean enough for the wardrobe, not quite dirty enough for the laundry, and said chair is almost tall enough to be listed as a landmark on Google Maps.
So the fact that I’m writing a whole post about organisation – well, it’s pretty comical. I’m sure my Mum is looking at this right now wondering if some hacker has taken over her daughter’s site because the girl she raised doesn’t exactly have much wisdom in this area to share. (BTW, Hi Mum! Do we have a date set for Dad’s birthday dinner yet? How was the footy the other night?)
But, the older and dare I say it, wiser, I get – the more I realised that one need to acquire even something even organisational-adjacent because life is pretty goddam hard when you come home and realise that you have no dog food, again. (Side note, the dog really doesn’t mind sharing a BBQ chicken with me, but I digress…)
So here it is. F*&k, I feel like a massive imposter right now, but in the interests of impressing on you all that I’m an actual real grown up, with her life together, some of the time – lemme share with you five things that have made a massive difference. (Disclaimer: none of them have helped me remember the aforementioned dog food.)
Get Dropbox. Use it. All of the damn time.
I sort of look in a little bit of shock anytime someone says to me that they ‘don’t really use Dropbox’. BUT WHY NOT??! I shriek, somewhat hysterically. This is all before I go about installing it on their computer, muttering about how they just haven’t seen the light yet and it will change their life.
When someone asks me how I work – the answer is Dropbox. I have it installed on all of my computers, iPad AND iPhone so all of my work, files and personal bits and pieces are synched and available anytime, anywhere.
If I forget my laptop? No drama. I can use any computer to log into the online server and access my stuff. If (touch wood), my computer dies? Well, that sucks, but all I need to do is download the app on my new one and hey presto – everything is exactly where I left it before the sad Mac face appeared. If I need to access and send something when I’m not in front of my computer? Yunno, I think I can stop there. You see where this is heading. Basically, you treat the Dropbox folder on your computer as the main storage portal for…well…your life. It’s 2017 and the human race has evolved past saving things locally, y’hear me?
And yes, before you start whinging, yes, you do have to pay for it, but it’s less than your monthly Netflix subscription and you can’t put a value on having 24/7 access and security to all of your digital stuff, can you? (And don’t even start with the whole ‘but my computer has Backup TimeMachine’! nonsense. No-one in the history of Apple has that thing configured correctly, me included.)
Remember that time (literally 2 minutes ago) when I was banging on about the virtues of Dropbox? Well here’s part two, where I convince you to start throwing away paper. (Or at the very least – doing away with the old fashioned safe/fire safe box.)
Scan everything. Passport, drivers licence, insurance documents, university transcripts, medical records, tax documents – the whole shebang. Pop them in a dedicated Dropbox folder and not only do you have basically foolproof backups in the event of an emergency, but you save valuable time in your day to day life. It’s ridiculous how easy those grown up admin tasks are (say, filing your tax return) when you have all the info easily on hand.
‘But Em – how safe is that really – keeping your files in an online storage space?’ Excellent question. Pretty safe, according to the recent EFF ranking, where Dropbox scored an incredibly impressive 6 stars. They’ll protect your files from hackers and even government officials. (because I just KNOW the CIA is trying to get their hands on my latest Bali holiday pics…NOT ON DROPBOX’S WATCH.)
Get rid of things. Lots of things. Many things.
It took me a really long time to realise that less things = less cleaning up. Which is embarrassing for a lass who considers herself somewhat educated. And while I’m still working on the whole ‘minimal’ life skill and my place generally has more stuff than I’d like, the pure satisfaction that comes from realising that I just really don’t need something physically in my life – so be gone with you – is second only to the joy of that first glass of wine on a Friday afternoon.
There’s a great rule bouncing around the internet – keep only things that are useful or bring you joy. No clue who coined it, but boy, they’re a super smart cookie.
Things I’ve parted ways with? Glad you asked:
- DVDs and CDs. Ripped the much loved ones to digi format, signed up to Spotify and Netflix, donated the lot to an opp shop. Hope someone out there is enjoying my special edition Sex and the City box set.
- Fantasy Life clothes. You know the ones. That will fit you when you’re thinner/fatter/on an exotic European holiday, or that generally have no place in your real life.
- Kitchen appliances. Sweet jesus I had a well stocked kitchen. More appliances than Gordan Ramsay tucked away in that corner cupboard – you know the one, where you shove all the stuff you bought because the bloggers were using it. All these things, for a lass who’s cooking revolves around the one pan that basically does everything. I love it so much I bought two – you know for one this one dies – so I’m struggling to come up with any valid reason to require any other kitchen gadgets…
- Decorative…uh…crap. Oh man, I got ruthless with this stuff. Truth? I don’t need ‘things’ cluttering every surface. I kept the ones that mean something to me, or that are on trend (thank you, Kmart), and the rest found a grand new home decorating the shelves of Abbotsford Salvos. Now I have a ‘one in, one out’ rule that seems very Game of Thrones, but also very necessary.
Direct Debit is your bae.
There are only three things that I have to physically pay myself – you know, by logging into my netbanking and typing in the details like some sort of medieval peasant. (Gas, electricity and water, because I know you’re just dying to know, amiright?). Everything else? Direct debit, bah-by. I have every single one of my monthly expenses set to auto pay – as close as possible to pay day – so I don’t blow it all on that amazing Ena Pelly leather jacket I’ve been eyeing off forgetting that I have grown up responsibilities, you see.
If you can remember to pay your bills on time – well great for you, and we can obviously never be friends – but I find the whole notion of bills so bloody boring that I will literally procrastinate until the red letter arrives and even then probably push my luck/forget for another week. (FYI, I’m the same with putting petrol in my car – how I’ve never run out and been stranded on the side of the road is a complete mystery.)
Side note – I run everything via Paypal instead of directly from my bank account – just to add an extra level of security/ability to disconnect instantly without having to cancel your credit card.
Sunday afternoon is for hosting your own cooking show.
It’s not often that I’m ahead of the trends, sports fans, but I can legitimately say that I, Em, was on board the meal prep bandwagon before it was even a ‘thing’. I’ve been hosting my own mini cooking show, run every Sunday afternoon for quite some time now, and if it had a name, it would be called ‘Em cooks lots of shit and drinks nearly the whole bottle of wine’. Catchy, eh?
It’s a pretty simple formula. I do a scout around my pantry for what I already have. I shop to fill the gaps – enough for 3-4 dinners – and then write them on a post-it note that I stick to the fridge. This avoids the inevitable Wednesday night ‘I HAVE NOTHING TO EAT FOR DINNER, GUESS I BETTER ORDER UBER EATS’ drama while a delicious piece of salmon sits in the freezer screaming ‘WHAT ABOUT ME, DICKHEAD??’. Related: does anyone else think I should see a doctor about my atrocious short term memory? Also related: Maybe I should stop drinking so much wine while I compile my weekly menu…
I also take all of the ‘last week’s’ veggies out of the drawer, make them into some sort of delicious soup, and hey presto – lunch for the week if there’s no leftovers.
Sounds like a lot of work? Truthfully, it’s not. Plus you can watch Netflix on your laptop AND drink wine (and pretend you’re Gordan Ramsay if you live alone).
So while don’t have carefully organised Tupperware or a colour-blocked calendar – and my morning routine basically consists of ‘drink coffee and try to make sure you leave the house with two shoes on that match’ – bit by bit, I think I’m slowly becoming someone who has her life together. (This week, at least, anyway.)
Got any to add? (aka, please help me become more adult-y, guys.)