Monica's Tips for Staying Organized

Organization is a big thing for me. Because of the mixture of rampant brain fog and medication side effects, my memory is not particularly reliable anymore. I tend to forget things, I barely remember conversations, and I have trouble retaining things I’ve read.

My number one defense against forgetting my own name is staying organized. Below, I’ve noted the ways that help me, and hopefully, there is something there that helps you, too!

How to stay organized varies by person

Organization is a personal thing. Everyone has their own methods for staying “organized” ranging from towering piles of paper to equally spaced, meticulously noted storage boxes. In my natural state, I fall somewhere closer to organized chaos but, given my more frequent lapses in memory, that style of organization no longer works well.

I try to be as regimented as possible when it comes to managing my life. Otherwise, things unravel very fast. As long as I maintain a routine, my life stays on track and things don’t get thrown to the wayside.

6 ways to stay organized with RA

1. Storage

"A place for everything and everything in its place" has never rung so true to me. I have a basket with my car keys. If I don’t put the car keys in there, it takes me wasted minutes (or hours, or days) to find them. I condition myself to know exactly where everything is. If I change the placement of an item just a bit, it might as well be lost forever.

I don’t get all fancy with storage containers. I often re-purpose old candle jars, some of my extra coffee mugs, and mostly, I use the shipping boxes. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just needs to hold my stuff!

2. Post-Its

I have post-it notes stuck everywhere to remind myself of to-dos for the day. They are small and easy to stick anywhere I go throughout my house. Tip: cut them in half and get twice the post-it power!

3. Calendar

I keep a calendar that has all my major appointments, meetings, and classes. I also use it to keep track of pain levels, menstrual cycle, and skincare.

4. Lists

I keep lists for everything: grocery, pharmacy, pets, Target, Costco, books I want to read (because I will forget), and online retail.

I often get to the store and completely forget what I need to buy. Thankfully, I have my handy list with me! There’s a small caveat: I often forget to put something on the list. I’ll think it, but never actually write it down.

While I prefer pen and paper, I don’t always have the list handy so I downloaded an app on my phone that I can whip out the minute I think of something I need to get.

5. A master to-do list

Similar to the post-its, which I use for individual reminders, I have a master to-do list for the day. These I put on paper. There are great apps but, I honestly never remember to check them (the irony). A good solid list on my nightstand is the way to go.

6. Colors

This may be the millennial side of me, but colors are the best way for me to identify things. I color code everything. Color schemes change with my mood, so there isn’t a master list. But, a bright color in large print reminds me that I need to pay attention to something.

How do you stay organized? LMK in the comments below!

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