We met when we were in our early 20s -- she managed a personal training gym and she hired me to fold towels (you fold them in half, then each side in into thirds, then in half vertically again. She was VERY SPECIFIC about this and God help me when I failed to do it correctly). And she used to take me on her errands (because by then we were pals, opposites totally attracting) -- giving me a break from constant towel folding. These were excellent chances to observe her personal brand of crazy-organized up close. On one visit to the bank she rejected several of the 20-dollar bills she was given by the teller because they were not crisp enough and therefore did not slip easily into her perfectly organized wallet.
1. Kitchen must be cleaned before going to bed. With a small child kitchen must be cleaned up before HE goes to bed -- must not waste the precious moments you have once he is asleep.
3. Be a gracious guest. Send thank you notes IMMEDIATELY. People just don't write them anymore. Have stationary ready to go. Write it that night.
4. Have a small stash of "hostess gifts" ready to go. I pre-wrap them. My current stash is a small boxed set of teas. ($12.) I have a few boxes ready to go. Overnight at boyfriend's parents, host of the soccer brunch, kids art teacher, host of book club... it's wrapped and ready.
6. Make your bed as soon as you wake up. Ditto with the kid's bed.
7. Fill your gas tank when it is half full. You never have to worry about running out of gas. You are still filling it with the same frequency-- just at half full, not totally empty. (Ed's note: Really? I can't do the math on that. Hmm.)
(UPDATE! We just had a long conversation and determined that she in fact fills up her tank TWICE as often as someone who lets it get down to empty first. But Allison points out this gives her twice as many opportunities to clean her windshield. Garbage in the car is cleaned out every time she leaves the car, so there's never any garbage in it.)
8. Wash your car every week. Then it's always clean. (Ed's note: Allison's car is ALWAYS clean, inside and out.)
9. Do laundry often. I do it daily. Then it is never this overwhelming -- "f*ck I have to do laundry thing"-- also, the child's soccer uniform is always ready to go!
10. Pack the child's lunch the night before -- and choose their clothes. No discussions in the morning.
11. Balance your checkbook the day that your statement arrives. Only keep the current statement on file. No, I do not do this electronically.
12. Freezer gets cleaned out every six months. If you have had it for six months and did not eat it -- toss it.
13. Water your plants on the same day every week. My day is Friday. I put the water out the night before so that the chlorine can evaporate.14. Junk mail obviously goes right out the door. Catalogs must be looked at the same day as received. Recycle or keep a few that you know you will order from -- currently I have four-- two for my son and two for me. (Ed.'s Note: I literally have 300 design magazines but I use them weekly, if not daily.)
15. Magazines -- if the next month arrives-- the previous month goes. It does not matter if you have not finished it! I take mine to the gym. Other people don't seem to mind reading last months mags. (Eds Note: HAHAHAHAHHA. I love her perplexed condescension!)
16. Books: love it -- give it to someone who will enjoy it too. Didn't like it: donate it ASAP. I put mine in a book donation bin by the Safeway in my 'hood.
17. Kids clothes: find a child one year younger to donate clothes to -- let them sort through want they want to keep. The rest goes in a clothing donation bin.
18. My clothes: one year rule-- if I haven't worn it, off to the bin -- lucky for me, same Safeway parking lot.
19. Wipe up your kitchen floor and bathroom floor once a day-- takes two minutes, then it's always clean.
20. Kids paperwork -- send it to their grandmother! Max's grandmother lives in Michigan. Once each week, I send her a "Max packet" with all of his old school work and math and spelling tests. She loves it and I don't have extra paperwork around. Ten minutes time to go to the post office.
21. Max's artwork: I framed a few things that I liked. Makes Max feel special. Toss the rest. Pottery too!
(Ed's note. I'm adding a couple of her habits I already knew:)
22. Clean out your purse every night before you go to bed.
23. When you get back from the grocery store, immediately wash the fruit you will eat out of hand (peaches, apples, grapes..) and put in a bowl in plain sight in the fridge. That keeps it front and center as a snack choice and lets family members know it's clean and ready to eat. (Don't do this to berries. They should be washed right before use, or they will get soggy and rot faster.)
Who out there can top Allison? NO ONE. Go ahead, try, in the comments below.