Organized! (Photo credit: mgstanton)

Does anyone else think it’s hard to stay organized?

Does anyone else have a hard time getting organized in the first place?

Man, I’ve got other things I want to do.

There are a lot of more interesting activities than sorting papers or changing over clothes from one season to the next.


If I leave a stack of stuff in the corner for long enough, I don’t even see it anymore. And if I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist, right?

Not quite.

I’ve been getting after my kids about throwing their stuff on the floor rather than putting it away, but truth be told, I’m not a great example. While I might not throw it on the floor, I set down onto any convenient flat surface books, papers, stray earrings, pencil-top erasers, hair binders, chapstick and other miscellaneous items…

And then forget about them.

My dresser top is a disaster right now.

Five Minute Chunk

Part of my problem is that I don’t know where to start. Here’s how this process usually goes:

I consider where to start. I feel motivated and have a mental list of my goals.

I look around at the various options of things to handle. I feel overwhelmed.

I begin organizing one area, and while returning things to their proper place, I find a new task that needs attention. I get distracted by this new task and forget about the other one I was doing.

This process continues until I have five projects going all at once and the place looks ten times worse than it did before I started.

I feel discouraged.

I feel angry.

I abandon all projects and remove myself to a different location. Or I throw everything in a garbage bag and put it in the trash, only to discover there were important items that needed follow up, which was why they had been kept in the first place but now they’re long gone and my bill is overdue. The collectors come and repossess my house, my car and my bike and I have to go live under a bridge.

Which is a bummer.

Okay, that last part hasn’t happened but I have been drastic and thrown things out in a organizing-induced fury only to regret it later.

The way I’ve learned to handle myself so I don’t go all nuts-o is to stick to one area and work on it in five minute chunks.

You can do anything for five minutes, right?

At first it is harder than it sounds, since I apparently have the attention span of a gerbil. But as I remind myself to stay with the project at hand, I can get a surprising amount done in five minutes.

Then I can go play.

If I stick to the five minutes, I don’t have time to make piles of projects strewn about the house. I take care of the one, then I can gauge if I want to continue or if it has grown tiresome and I feel like doing something totally different. Usually it is the latter, but sometimes I see the progress I made and feel inspired to press on. Breaking it into manageable time portions helps keep it do-able, rather than seeing ALL the projects and feeling like I must complete them ALL AT ONCE.

I’ll admit this is a weak spot for me, so I’m open to suggestions. I know some of y’all are organizing machines, so please help those of us who are less gifted.

Why Get Organized?

There are some houses I’ve visited where everything was meticulous. You weren’t sure if you should even sit on the couch because it looked like no one had ever sat there before. Everything was pristine and it almost looked like it was a model home — nobody lived there.

I don’t want a house like that.

I’m okay with a little mess. (Some might say that I’m okay with A LOT of mess.)

When we have people to our home, including kids, I want them to feel welcomed and comfortable. If something gets spilled, nobody’s going to freak. If somebody needs to come in from a rainy or snowy day, I don’t want them worrying about messing up my entryway.

However, when things get too disorganized, there are no signals to people, or rather there are too many signals. “Put your stuff EVERYWHERE!” the signals say.

When things are tidied up, it is easier to notice things that are out of place. This makes it easier to maintain; it’s just getting to that point that’s hard.

Here are some reasons to get organized:


Organized! (Photo credit: nicholasjon)

  • To create or positively contribute to a sense of order, structure and peace

If things are a mess and you can’t find stuff, you get stressed out.

  • To avoid injury.

If you trip over toys left on the floor, you get mad or even hurt, and that’s no fun.

  • To allow family members to grow in independence

If you have a spot you keep certain items, people in the family know where to find certain items when they are needed (ie. pencil sharpener, keys, tape, etc.) and can do so on their own.

  • It leads (eventually) to more enjoyable time being together

When I sit down at home and see hair balls floating down the hallway, it isn’t as much fun to sit and relax. I’m better off taking the time to invest in a little cleaning/organizing now in order to better enjoy my down-time later.

  • It makes me more inclined to have people over (kids and grown-ups)

I’m more inclined to say yes to my kids ideas of having friends over, and I’m more apt to offer my home as a meeting place if I don’t feel embarrassed about the state of things or wish I had a spot for my friend to sit but too bad because it is covered in magazines and dish towels.

Getting organized allows more space for relationships to happen. And while I’m not super keen on organizing, I’m all about relationships. So today I’m going to work in five minute chunks to tackle a couple messy areas and contribute to the atmosphere of my home. If I’m not back in a couple days, send somebody over to check on me.) 🙂

What are some ways you stay organized? Is there a certain household task that you dread? If you’re going to put off cleaning, what is your favorite excuse?