Tuesday, February 26, 2013

6 Steps To A More Organized Life

6 steps to a more Organized Life
by: Tasha Bradshaw

A few years ago I visited a professional organizers blog that boasted, "Get Organized Once and For All!  I laughed; I wish it were just something that you did once and then you’re done!  As a mother life is moving from one stage to another and from one season to the next at such an incredible speed I often wish life would slow down so that I could catch my breath!  

Throughout my mothering years I have been on a quest to simplify the time and effort that it takes to maintain a house of order so that I can spend more quality time enjoying my family.  As a mother of six children ranging in age from 2-10 I have found six helpful tips that our family doesn't want to live without.

1.  Cut the Clutter

2.  Coming and Going

3.  Personal Treasure Boxes

4.  Place for Papers

5.  Consistency is Key

6.   You Can't Do It Alone

1.  Cut the Clutter

Everything you own really does take some of your time. It either needs to be dusted, put away, cleaned, arranged, or picked up.  The less you own the less time you have to spend caring for things.  This includes clothes. We have found that having fewer clothes is so much easier.  In reality we usually only wear a certain percentage of our clothing.  We try to buy items that mix and match.  It is much easier for children to help put clothing away when the drawer isn't bulging with items that don't fit and are rarely worn.  

We have all walked into a room that is so strew with toys and seems so overwhelming to pick up.  By cutting back on the amount of stuff that is in our home it makes it easier for kids to see where items go and the putting away process seems so much less overwhelming! 

2.  Coming and Going

Let face it, life is constantly in motion and we are running from one thing to the next.   In my post titled, “Launching and Landing,”  I mentioned how essential it is to have items that we need easily accessible when we leave, and easy to put away when we return.  Here is part of that post:

I read in the book, "Project: Organization, Quick and Easy Ways to Organize Your Life," by Marie Ricks, that you should have a "launching and landing" place in your home.  

We were fortunate when we bought our house that there was an unfinished mudroom just off of the garage.  We were able to have it finished how we wanted and it has made coming and going much easier!  

Here are some important ideas for "launching and landing":

Have an assigned place for your keys.
Have a specific place for your coat and purse.  We each have our own hook.  It is easy to grab what we need on the way out the door and easy to put away. 

Where do backpacks go?  We hang ours.

Where do you keep gloves and hats?  We have a basket for ours

Where are you going to keep library books that need to be returned?  We keep them in a basket so they are easy to grab when returning to the library.

3.  Personal Treasure Boxes

When my children were younger their rooms were beautifully arranged just as I wanted them to be.  I quickly learned that as children grow they have opinions too.  They have special papers, special toys, and many things that I personally don't want to save!  Our solution was to give each child their own Personal Treasure Box.  Their treasure box is a special box just for them.  They can keep anything they want in their treasure box.  There is only 1 rule:  The lid must fit on!  If the lid doesn't fit they need to clean it out so that it will.  If they choose not to clean it out that is when mom has the right to "help" clean out.  In their treasure boxes they have a variety of treasures from McDonalds toys to art projects they love having their own personal space. 

4.  Place for Papers

It seems that papers come in by the armful and if they aren't carefully dealt with they can easily cover the kitchen counters.  I highly recommend the Mind Organization for Moms program on the Power of Moms website.  Each day when my kids come home from school I grab my "inbox" and quickly put papers I receive into 1 of 4 folders: 

1.  Today (things that need to be done today) 
2.  Weekly Review (things that need to be looked at this week) 3.  To File (papers to file, or art projects to take a picture of) 
4.  Read and Review (items that I would like to read over, but it doesn't have a deadline)

I also have an accordion folder with a slot for each child to put papers that we need to keep and study from.  (Spanish or spelling words)

Our children bring home beautiful projects and artwork from school, but if I kept everything I would need to build an extra room on the house!  I keep a few favorites in their file and then I take a picture of everything else.  They can look at the pictures of their artwork on the computer and I plan to print them in a book.

5.  Consistency is Key

I really believe that being consistent is one key to a successfully organized home.  Yes, there are busy weeks when it feels like everything is falling apart, but when we just keep trying it makes all the difference.

We consistently read our scriptures, consistently pick up our rooms, we consistently eat dinner together, we just keep trying and keep working!  Success comes from not giving up!  

6.  You Can't Do It Alone

At times my husband will open a cupboard and say, "Why is this in here?"  My response is, "The kids unloaded the dishwasher." While it may at times seem easier to do everything yourself so that it can be done exactly like you like, I know that as a deliberate mother I step back and think about what a disservice it would be if I did do everything myself.  When our children grow up and live on there own I want my son to know how to achieve a streak free bathroom mirror.  The only way they learn is if we teach them and allow them to practice.  Our kids have turned into amazing helpers and I know they feel satisfied when they have worked hard and can see results.  They feel ownership in keeping our house clean because they are a part of the process. 

We have daily chores as well as Saturday chores.  I am now reaping the benefits of taking time to teach the oldest kids when they were young because their efforts really make a big difference in our home!

Getting organized is an endless process, but for our family it is worth the effort so that we can live the quality of life that we desire.   

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been able to finally articulate what I love so much about what you seek to achieve. You have a plethora of ideas on SYSTEMS that are excellent for a big family (or any size family for that matter).

You can buy all the cute folders, boxes, and bins in the world (which I do because they are pretty), but it won't do you much good unless you have a system, and keep it simple and minimal.

Thanks for sharing. I love any ideas on paperwork systems. I've just been studying up on this myself. I'm realizing that every family is different and has different needs, so I have to customize a system that works for us. This takes trial and error. Then, when I get it perfected, the family needs change. But at least in the process, I wasn't drowning in papers.

Thanks again for sharing.


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