Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Background or Backbone to Organizing My Shoebox and the Lives in It

To some extent I think I am hard wired to be organized.  When I was only a tween I would organize the books on my shelf in rainbow order.  I loved arranging and rearranging my room whenever I cleaned it.   That’s the thing though, I was born and raised in a rather disorganized household.  Both of my parents are sort of magpies, they hate to throw things away, have no interest in keeping the house clutter or dust free and honestly just aren't that neat.  I’m not saying they are dirty just scattered and cluttered.  It drove me crazy growing up.  I vowed that I would have a tidy house.  I just didn't know how to maintain it with out seeking outside help. I knew how to clean like crazy but how could I create an environment that felt peaceful and stress free?  It isn't a perfect system (I don't live alone!) but there are some basic tenants I'd like to share.  
My challenge now is that I have two preschool children, a baby on the way,  and a busy husband and we live in a house that is less than 1000 square feet with no garage, or basement and no storage space in our attic.  Luckily I am a SAHM so I do have some time to devote to organizing our little shoebox but it requires systems.
Follow a Routine- I am ever so thankful that I found the flylady.nety.  The Flylady has created a wonderful system that ensures that everything gets done to keep your house clean without driving you insane.  She has wonderful daily, weekly, monthly routines that keep your house in order.  I can’t say enough about her- follow her and you’ll see what I mean.
Take the Time to Coordinate with Your Spouse-  following some sound advice from the book  Family, Inc. my husband and I are now working better as a team at managing our household.  The authors Caitlin and Andrew Friedman have developed a system for running their household using sound business management tools.  In their book they outline how you can implement work related solutions into your own household.  I bought the book after reading an article about it.  I thought it would appeal to my husband because he likes to read “business” books.  I knew a "touchy feely" book on organization wouldn't appeal to him.  So far the solutions seem so obvious but we just weren’t doing them.  We have implemented a weekly meeting so that we can go over the upcoming weeks to do lists, calendars and issues.  We also finally synced our calendars so we don’t spend so much time trying to figure out what we are doing!  I love my big wall calendar but have now realized I can’t live without our Google calendars that go everywhere with us. 
A Place For Everything and Everything in its Place- Seriously, the old adage is true.  You really have to have your household set up so that you know where everything goes.  We have put a good deal of time and effort into creating storage solutions in our house because our space is so limited.  We have added closet organizers, kitchen cupboards, extra shelving units and all sorts of solutions to keep things organized around here.  I also label like crazy so that I get help in putting everything away.  It is one thing if I know where everything belongs but it is heavenly if the whole family can help.  I also rely heavily on the fly ladies saying that “You can’t organize clutter.”"You Can't Organize Clutter."  It reminds me to get rid of things rather than save everything.  If we aren't using it, we try to get it out!   It is honestly so much easier to keep track of important things if we don’t have clutter laying around.  Having a place for everything also helps keep our rooms neat.  Every night when I put the boys to bed or check on them, I do a sweep of their room, toys in bins, books on shelves, everything off the floor.  This way I know that the path is clear for us if they should cry out in the middle of the night and for them when they wake up far too early and race to our room.  I like that I can tidy their room, with their help, so quickly because everything is organized.  I will try to identify little tricks I use to make all of this possible.  I hope that you'll share some of your ideas as well.
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