When I moved out in 2018, I was determined to keep my life in order and prove that I could adult like everyone else.

The prospect of juggling a full-time job, housework, bills, socialising and everything in between was overwhelming, but I knew I’d feel a whole lot worse if I didn’t try.

Fortunately, I already had a few organisation habits on the go and was ready to put them to the test. I’ve lived in my own home for well over a year now, so below are my tried-and-tested methods to keep your life in running order, without going mad.

Categorise your inbox

Looking at an empty inbox is one of the best feelings in the world, right? The only issue is you have to keep some emails.

I keep my inbox clean by organising everything into folders. My current system looks like this:

  • Bank. This isn’t very full anymore, thanks Monzo!
  • Bills. Accompanied by several sub-folders like Council Tax and Mortgage to keep track of pesky welcome emails or demand notices.
  • Bookings. This keeps my inbox free of restaurant confirmations.
  • Car stuff. For tax, MOT and finance emails.
  • Holidays. I usually separate this into sub-folders if I have more than one holiday booked and then create more sub-folders for flights, accommodation and entertainment.
  • Jobs. For any freelance work or old emails, I like to keep for sentimental reasons. For example, I still keep my work experience acceptance letter from More! Magazine (rip) when I was 18.
  • Misc. Because there’s always a misc email.
  • Moving. This contains all our old emails from when we bought the flat.
  • Online Orders. ASOS, Amazon, Nespresso, etc.
  • Tickets. To store tickets for upcoming events.
  • University. This folder is purely sentimental and contains all my grade emails from university – first-class honours degree baby! 
  • Website. All the admin for running this blog and Small Biz Writing.

This method makes it easier to find the email you need rather than searching through promo deals and emails from your Nan to find that one important email about your dream job.

I’d also advise decluttering it once a month or so to remove out-of-date emails taking up valuable space. Oh, and bonus points for colour coordination.

Unsubscribe from promo emails

Speaking of promo deals, if your inbox is constantly full of junk emails you don’t care about, it’s time to take action and finally say goodbye to that Dominos TwoForTuesday email you get every week.

This doesn’t need to be done all at once, slow and steady wins the race in this situation. Every time you get an unwanted promo email, scroll to the bottom, unsubscribe and delete it.

Wowcher won’t be offering you 56% off of toilet rolls anymore.

Buy an ‘adult folder’

Unfortunately, the world hasn’t gone paperless yet, meaning that just like my inbox, I need to organise my paperwork.

Enter my ‘adult folder,’ i.e. an expanding file organiser, i.e. a dream for people like me.

I keep everything separated into categories: driving, qualifications, bank, bills etc. So, when someone asks me for an important document, I know for sure it’s in my folder in the appropriate sub-section.

Create a finance spreadsheet

I created a home budget spreadsheet to track our monthly outgoings before we’d moved in. Not only does it help us stay on top of all our bills, but it gives me better headspace knowing my entire financial health is neatly organised in my Google Drive.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or pretty, it just needs to be maintained. If you’d like to use mine, I’ve created a downloadable version here for you.

Otherwise, you just need to note down every outgoing you have and every month adjust as necessary. That way, you should know how much is expected to leave your bank account and the amount you have leftover.

Create multiple calendars

Are you sensing a theme here? Just like my inbox and adult folder, I organise different parts of my life with multiple calendars.

For context, I use Google Calendar, and have seven separate calendars with different colours to make visualising my schedule easier. I currently have:

  • Events & appointments. This is the Amy-only calendar and tracks nights out, dentist appoints and everything that I’m doing by myself.
  • Amy & James. A tad unoriginal, but it’s our joint calendar filled with our joint ventures like date night or family events we’re required to attend together.
  • Bills. All of our bill due dates are noted so I can track it against our bank statement. 
  • Gym. Simply to track all of my booked classes.
  • Habits. This primarily schedules in meditation sessions to make sure I remember and do it!
  • Work. I schedule in my work days so I can visually see how my week looks.
  • James. We share our personal calendars to keep each other informed of the rare times we’re doing something apart.

What ways do you stay in control of your life? I’d love to hear some of your methods in the comments down below!

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UK based content creator sharing organisation hacks, budgeting tips and small space living solutions.

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