Organizing for Singles

Posted By on March 4, 2011

I’m a single chick myself, and I know firsthand how hard it is to keep up with everything you need to take care of.

So let’s talk about Organizing for the Single Person.

The first major issue with singles is that we don’t have anyone to delegate to unless we pay them. If friends help you, you still have to pay them in food, beer or both.

I know the women faculty members at work always talk about how they need a “wife” at home like many of their male counterparts. The wife packs for trips, takes care of the house and kids, etc.

Meanwhile, members of the women faculty, like many married women with or without kids, are pulling double-duty in most cases.

Stay organized by hiring help

Just this past week, I had a talk with a single male doctor. His work life wasn’t the problem with time management, but his life at home had some issues. He doesn’t like cleaning and doesn’t want to spend the time doing it. I suggested he hire a housekeeper to take that burden off his plate.

I’ve encouraged clients to make these choices. If you hate doing the lawn, can you afford to hire someone? What can you take off your plate and make your life easier?

Delegating can cause feelings of embarrassment, guilt and shame, and I encourage my clients to stop that kind of thinking when it comes to delegating. Delegation is a sign of good leadership, a sign of knowing your boundaries.

Organizing tips for my fellow singletons:

  • Make sure clothes and shoes in your closet are wearable.
  • Get ready the night before when possible:
    • Lay out clothes
    • Pack the gym bag
    • Pack lunch
  • Create a schedule of what rooms will be cleaned when
  • Post cleaning schedule on the refrigerator.
  • Make a laundry schedule by asking these questions:
    • How much do you need to have dry cleaned?
    • Do you need a laundry service to do your laundry for you?
  • Buy freshly prepared food if you don’t like cooking.
  • Keep a shopping list at the ready on paper or smart phone.
  • Pay your bills online.
  • Get budgeting help, use services such as Mint.

A recent article on bartering between friends has spurred some people I know to start a Facebook group on bartering. Each of us can describe our skill sets and can exchange bartering services. It’s a great way to save money and get help.

Have a discussion with your friends about bartering and see if they’re interested. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I say it takes a village of singletons to rally around other singletons.

So my fellow singletons, what organizing tips do you have to make life easier?



6 Responses to “Organizing for Singles”

  1. Monica Premo says:

    Can I join the singletons, just for a little while? Living with 3 teenage boys (phase 1: oldest is already off at college, phase 2: second one leaves in August, phase 3: two more years away), my husband, and his 87-year old mother can be trying. It’s really the teenage boys who throw my world into a tailspin.

    If I were a superhero, my power would be to make people follow my rules, put things back where they belong and add things to the grocery list when we run out of them. I know the grass is always greener on the other side, but I long to return temporarily to the sanity of living alone!

    I totally agree with and support the idea of hiring or bartering help – you are doing everything yourself. If you don’t deserve to hire help, who does?

    I like to combine tasks with something I’m already doing or like to do. Clean out the car while I’m getting gas, do my nails while a watch a movie, run errands when I’m out for other appointments, etc. Having a basic weekly schedule for household chores helps to break down the tasks and saves you from marathon cleaning. I learned a lot from about creating daily and weekly routines.

    Thanks for the glimpse back into your world!

  2. I especially like the part about delegating help. When my husband died, someone asked me if I missed having a man around. I replied that I missed having my husband around but that I had lots of men around. She looked surprised so I responded, “I have the handyman, the man who helps me in my yard, the man who helps me with my car, etc.”

  3. Love the part about delegation. When my husband died, someone asked me if I missed having a man around. I replied that I missed my husband but that I had a lot of men around. She looked surprised so I explained, “I have the handyman, the man that helps me at times in the yard, the car repairman, etc.”

  4. Julie Bestry says:

    Of course, the advantage is that when you create a home for something and diligently put it away, you never need to fear that someone else will move it or put it elsewhere. (Of course, if something isn’t where it ought to be there’s nobody to blame but yourself!) :-)

    As a singleton, I find that works for me is the old standby, to have a place for everything…but not just in space, also in time. If I spend all day making an unholy mess, that’s fine, because I know that when dinner is over, before anything else gets done, it’s cleanup time. The today’s detritus never makes it past the border into tomorrow. It’s all about ritual — it’s only a rut if you WANT to get out of it. :-)

    Janice, you’re so right — delegating is a challenge. It’s tough to balance the “Darn, I don’t have anyone to help me” with the fierce independence (that becomes all the more fierce the longer you live alone). Yesterday, I needed to add coolant to my car, but couldn’t get the reservoir cap off. Forget bartering, it was all I could do to force myself to call my leasing office to ask if the maintenance guys would let me borrow a pair of expandable pliers. I knew when the guys showed up, they’d want to remove the cap for me and be gentlemanly, and it took all my forbearance to be gracious.

    A bartering circle is just what we all need, not only for organizing our space and time, but for helping “the independent singleton” get over the need to do it all on one’s own.

  5. Kimberly Fields says:

    Good tips but tell me more about the single doctor! Thanks.

  6. Ellen Delap says:

    Single life has challenges and thanks for being honest about them! I agree, delegating takes money but it is well worth it! And having lists help you not re-invent the wheel, be accountable and stay on top of things! Thanks for sharing!