10 organization tips that will help you build your relationship.
Relationships are driven by organization. Yet what could be less sexy than filing and label makers? We hear you. Organization -- both for an individual and a couple -- isn't the most thrilling thing we can do. Having a hook near the door where you put your keys isn't "exciting," but it does prevent you tearing the house apart trying to find the keys when you're late for work. The same holds true for couples. Using these 10 organizing principles isn't particularly fun or stimulating, but the payoff is huge.
These benefits are indirect but very real: the less time and energy you spend hunting for things, maintaining your system or taking a second trip to the grocery store because you forgot something, the more time and energy you have for the things you want to do. Organized people don't love organization for its own sake (well, maybe the creepy ones do), but because being disorganized is a pain. Spending a little time developing a system that makes sense for you will save you all sorts of wasted effort and stress down the road. And a couple with less waste and less stress is going to be a whole lot happier, believe us.
10. Have a "State Of Our Union" meeting each week
Having a team meeting each week lets you keep the lines of communication open. We're not talking about cuddling on the couch, either. Sit down at a table and run this more or less like a business meeting. The fact is that every relationship has some "business" to it -- tasks that need to get done, upcoming projects you need to prepare for, financial concerns and so on. Spending a little time each week focusing on what needs to happen to keep your home running smoothly means that these conversations don't sneak into the "fun" times you have together. Meet up, make a plan and get back to living in bliss.
9. Use a joint calendar
Having a calendar you use is vital for staying organized with commitments. Sharing these appointments with your partner helps prevent conflicts of scheduling, and also keeps you both reminded of things you're doing together. So avoid the whole problem by using a web-based service like Google Calendar makes it easy to share events or even an entire calendar with your significant other -- but if you insist on pen and paper, keep it in a place you can both refer to it.
8. Track your finances
Using a budget and reconciling your checkbook are fine, but technology has made tracking your money even easier. We love automated solutions like Mint.com, since you're able to track your balances for all your accounts in one place, along with detailed spending analysis. For those who prefer an offline solution, consider budget software like Quicken. Money fights are some of the most common in relationships, so track your spending. Having an open discussion about spending habits before you're over budget for the month will make things better for both of you.
7. If you combine your finances, streamline the system
There are dozens of ways to handle money in a relationship. However if you agree to jointly handle money, make the system as streamlined as possible. At minimum, we'd suggest a joint account that you both pay into, so you can pay bills jointly, and allows you to move money back and forth if one of you needs to pay the other for something. This type of central "pool" makes sharing bills easy, while also making it difficult for your partner to spend your private finances.
Every relationship is different, but if you have trust issues around money or just prefer your privacy, that's something to keep in mind. If one of you pays their half of the rent or mortgage to the other each month, have a set day that the transfer happens. Whatever your system, make moving money an easy thing -- the goal is to not feel any stress around your financial system.
6. Use a joint shopping list
Nothing's worse than getting home from the store and realizing you forgot one thing -- except, maybe for having to run back out to the store just to get that one thing. It's a waste of time and energy, and the odds of it happening double when you become a couple. Keep a shopping list somewhere you can both see and add to it, and before you take it to go shopping, make a final check for anything you're low on that's not been added to the list.
5. Have a system for paying bills
Missing a bill payment can waste money on late fees, and falling far behind on your payments can hurt your credit or even see your utilities turned off. Spending a few minutes setting up a payment system can save you both headaches. It's usually best to have one person pay the bills each month or at least split them up -- he always pays the water and she always pays the cable, for example. Once you're clear who's paying what, set up automatic payments for everything you can. The more you can automate this part of your finances, the better.
4. Have a mail system
Have a system for who gets the mail each day -- we like "first one home gets the mail" since it works no matter how much your schedules change. Once the mail is in the house, have a place where it lives, so both of you always know where to find it. Having a spot for mail to come into the house -- and for mail that needs to be sent -- will keep you organized and avoid the stress of looking for a lost bill or important document.
3. Save for goals as a couple
Having savings is important and so is having goals. A savings goal is the best of both, and a great way to get organized as a couple. Planning a trip or a home improvement project? Figure out how much you need to save each month, and each contribute to a joint account. Even if you don't have combined finances, joint savings accounts can be set up easily
2. Divide up the household chores
Most people don't enjoy housework, but splitting the load makes it more bearable. Decide who's responsible for what and divide up the work in a way that gets you both involved in keeping the house running smoothly. Even if you don't like cleaning the house, there are probably some chores you mind less than others, so do those. Don't mind cooking but hate the cleanup? Maybe you should both agree that one of you cooking means the other washes up afterward
1. Use a to-do list app that allows task sharing
While many still swear by pen and paper, to-do list software does have a number of advantages. If you're open to using an electronic program, look for a few key features: it should sync to your smartphone and it should allow you to share tasks. If you and your partner can share tasks, it makes compiling a shopping list or errand list easy. The key to organization is having a home for everything; having a trusted "one spot" to look for everything and know it will be there. Having one spot where both of you can look and find everything you need to buy and do will simplify errands and chores for you as a couple.
10 organization tips that will help you build your relationship.