May 15, 2008

Getting Organized

The Why & How of Organizing
By Tara Bertic
Grace Bound Publishing

Maybe you’ve thought about organizing, but don’t know where to start. Maybe you’ve tried to get organized, but gave up in the overwhelming big picture of the chore. Here are some quick tips to help jumpstart your getting organized.

The first place to start is to eliminate and consolidate. Begin by placing a laundry basket on the floor in front of each room’s doorway. Then walk around the house and pick up those things that do not belong where they are and put them into the baskets in front of the doors of the rooms they belong in. Put the full baskets inside the their rooms to be gone through later.

Next, go through each room in your house with a box and a garbage bag. Do one room a week until you have accomplished the chore. Start a task calendar. Put on it those things you would like to see accomplished on a weekly basis. Remember, there are 52 weeks in a year. Chances are, it took you at least that long to become disorganized. Give yourself a break in determining how long it should take you to get organized. Start with smaller or less cluttered rooms to help motivate and encourage you for the bigger and more difficult rooms ahead.

Put garbage in the garbage bag and items that you can yard sale or donate in the box. Call the Kidney Foundation; they pick up! Have a yard sale or check your newspaper for listings of local churches having ones for a fundraiser and donate your items there.

When eliminating and consolidating, consider how often you use or look at what you are trying to determine whether you should get rid of or not. Don’t save something just because it’s "like new" or cost too much to simply give away. Your unwanted item could be the answer to prayer for a stay-at-home home school mom who shops at Goodwill. Trust me!

Don’t get distracted by other tasks that need to be completed when you are consolidating and eliminating. Take a notebook and pen with you into each room you are cleaning out. If you see something that reminds you of something else you need to get done, jot it down and then get back to the task at hand. At the end of the day, you can refer back to your list and add the things you wrote down to your task calendar.

Now you are ready to begin actually organizing! Again, set yourself goals on your task calendar and don’t be unreasonable about your expectations. You won’t get your entire house organized in one day, one weekend, or possibly even one week. Use your task calendar and again, determine which rooms during which weeks or months you would like to organize. Then figure out how many of the tasks you would need to complete each day to accomplish that goal…and complete them, day by day.

Most importantly, DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF WITH OTHERS. THERE ARE DEGREES OF ORGANIZATION. Just because your food pantry is not organized alphabetically or you have not labeled your freezer shelves like your type "A" personality neighbor, does not mean you are any less organized. So start organizing today and reclaim your home, your time, your life.