Spring is generally a time of renewal, refreshment and reducing. People all over the world are spring cleaning, clearing and cl-dumping (I couldn’t find a third “cl” word). My, shall I say problem, is that I do these things in Summer, Fall and Winter! I seem to be on a perpetual organizing trip, one that never ends, stops or ceases.
According to a family member, a person can actually come into my home and get me organized. Arrange folders with all pertinent information inside, color-coordinate closet clothes and tidy knick knacks. This, I’m told, costs a fortune but is well worth it.
Now, I will say there have been times when I’ve gone about organizing. One day last spring I was inspired to organize my kitchen cabinets…or the things inside my kitchen cabinets I should say. I went out and purchased plastic containers for cereal, put dry goods in labeled mason jars and used CD bins to house potatoes, onions and garlic. A year later, the mason jars are still labeled but empty, and the plastic containers sit on the shelves, get this, right next to the boxes of cereal. What went wrong? Maybe I was better off with my disorganized, disheveled kitchen.
Because of the current state of things, I’ve been inquiring about “organization” to find out if my situation can be changed. The answer is “yes,” but it will be a lot of work for me, uggghhh!
I wanted to see if there was another suitable name for “organization,” so I did a search on a thesaurus website. When I typed in “organize,” it asked me if I meant “agonize!” Ha! The answer to that one is “yes!” Once I figured out the right search term, a few words came up that I thought were interesting. Here are a few: adapt, codify, classify, lick into shape (no joke), run and standardize. Some words were oxymorons having the opposite meaning: dispose and establish, set up and settle. This research didn’t help me very much. Do I dispose of something, or establish it? How do I classify mis-matched socks?
It just so happens that I was talking to someone today, and she mentioned that in the back of her car she has a bin that holds a change of clothes for every member of her family. This is a foreign idea to me since I can barely get clothes washed, dried, folded and put away in everyone’s dresser. How will I remember to change out the bin in the car? So I inquired about her organization skills. Highly organized. Another woman joined in the conversation, and she said that when her son was little, she cut out pictures of toys and put them on bins so her son could tell where each toy went. Another highly organized person. Two in the space of 10 minutes…interesting.
The picture-on-the-bin idea is not foreign to me, though I’ve never personally used it. My grandma takes Polaroid pictures of her shoes and tapes them to the shoe box before they do time on her closet shelves. I completely see the wisdom of this, but if I tried it, I just know Polaroids would come slipping off in my mad dash to get out of the house, and I’d come home to boxes, stray pictures of shoes and shoes that didn’t make the cut on my closet floor.
So, why do my efforts result in more work than before? It turns out we are supposed to start with organizing one thing. If you can do this for a period of time, then start another “one” thing. Also, really think about whether or not your ideas will work for your particular family. Will your children take off their shoes and carry them to the bedroom? Will you reload the plastic bins with cereal every other Sunday? Before you go out and spend money on all the fancy organizing tools (and there are a lot), write it down, think about it and try one thing.
I’m currently adopting the “one thing” idea. My laundry room has been clean for two days now. No piles of shoes or dirty laundry adorn the floor right now. I’m hoping to keep it that way, but wondering when I will really have it down. Do I follow the 21 day rule? I guess time will tell.
The hardest part for me will be maintaining what I’ve organized. In talking with people, it seems that the organizing is the easy part, but the maintenance is where people get tripped up. This is definitely my problem, and will be the hard work I mentioned before. I am a junk-drawer-thrower-inner, a land-as-they-may-shoe-taker-offer and a dirty-clothes-on-laundry room-floor throwin’ mama. In my haste, I don’t create waste, unless we’re speaking about time, but in my haste I create another -aste word that doubles for disorganized. Maybe…haste makes disorgan-aste?
If you are organized, or have any ideas that have helped you, inquiring minds are desperate to know. Maybe you have one of those fancy organizing tools that really works, a system that keeps certain things in order or maybe you have maintained that one area you struggled with previously. Help us to get organized, stop buying bins and create systems of maintenance. What will life be like in a tranquil, peaceful and organized home? I hope to find out! Thanks for your ideas!