Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Organization: A Place for everything and everything in its Place

I get many, many questions about how I stay organized. Well, I am not as organized as most people think. At least I don't feel that way. Having six kids will do that to you. It has definitely taught me to go with the flow more. Don't believe me? Just look in my diaper bag. Or don't.

I think one the primary "rules" for organization can be summed up in the old axiom: "A place for everything and everything in its place." If you don't have a place for something to to go, then it will end up just lying around, becoming clutter.

You can spend hundreds of dollars buying containers, baskets, shelves, etc. to organize your stuff. And I use many of these, but not always. Sometimes simpler containers (like shoe boxes you already have lying around) work just as well. The point is when you set out to organize an area of your home, assign everything a place. Label it if that helps you or your family. I have a Brother label maker that my husband bought me, but before that I used masking tape and a sharpie marker.

Then of course, once you get everything assigned a home, you must periodically go through and put stuff back in its home. This is the second part of the axiom. Inevitably, the area will need to be straightened up, but if it was thoroughly organized to begin with, this will take a minimum amount of time.

You can even delegate! Yesterday I assigned the "straightening up" chore of two of the cabinets in our school room to my oldest four daughters. These cabinets store our art supplies and the other, our games.
First they went through everything, throwing out what they did not want anymore. This is the messy part. In the game cabinet, they put any little pieces back in the games they belong to.

This is the final result. I DID NOT TOUCH THESE CABINETS. I only took pictures - I was cleaning elsewhere. This only took them 20-30 minutes to do both cabinets.

My point is that everything in there had a home, from when I had organized the cabinets years ago. But since my kids are bad about just throwing their coloring books and games back in these cabinets, I make them clean it up. And it was a relatively easy task.

So think about your home. What part of it stays constantly disorganized? Do your bills lie around on the kitchen table because they have no home? Winter coats? Shoes? Children's art projects? Tools? It could be because they do not have a well-defined home.

Give 'em a home (and teach your kids where it is).


Tiffany said...

For our family it's a bit more complicated than having a home for everything and having everything in it's place. We don't have any problems staying organized. But we have almost 6 people in less than 1,000 square feet. So, for us it's about getting rid of things that have no function. If we don't use it at least once a year, we don't really need it. I've become the queen of using space efficiently. :)

Tami said...

Hey, Tiff, you are stealing my next organizing blog post! ;-) I love to purge! My family hates it!

Candace said...

From a gal who lots of space (now), I still purge often.