After losing weight, getting organized might be on the top of many New Year’s Resolution lists. Seems it’s a constant battle to bring order to our overflowing closets and counters. Which makes sense because life is always changing, demanding more of our attention and energy, and requiring that we adapt to new ways of doing things.
Really, nothing ever stays organized. If it did, our homes would be museums, filled with artifacts behind glass and guards on patrol ready to pounce should someone get too close to a treasure. That’s not reality in my home. My home is filled with family that invades it daily with life–and a messy life it is.
What’s a woman to do? Shrug her shoulders and accept disorder? Or accept the challenge with a stalwart heart? Well, maybe somewhere in between will work. Most of us accept the challenge but simply don’t know where to start. Our hearts are willing but shaky.
Today, if that’s you, I’d like to suggest an approach to getting organized that might help. You see, I understand what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by a task. There were projects I put off for years before I figured this out. What helps me is to break down a big task into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
Here’s what I mean. If I told you to go organized your bedroom closet and you were already feeling overwhelmed, you wouldn’t know where to start. If you did, you would have already done it. But if I suggested you go and remove all the shoes that don’t fit since you had your three babies, you might be able to do that. The problem with any big task is we write it on our to-do list as if it’s one easy step: Organize house! That will probably stay on my to-do list for 10 years without a breakdown of tasks.
Instead, organizing is multiple steps. These steps overlap each other and often don’t fall into simple chronological order. It’s not like baking a cake, where it’s exactly ordered and measured. Organizing, like life, is messy. Accepting that is part of the mental battle we face.
The other problem with organizing is all the decision-making required. On most days, I’m just plain sick and tired of making decisions. Some days, if one more child asks me one more question, there might or might not be a hissy fit thrown by one should-be-more-mature mother. So, when faced with decisions on what to do with clothes I don’t wear, kitchen appliances I don’t use, and books I won’t read again, I prefer to go and watch a movie. It’s so much easier.
If you want to be more organized this year, the first step is to break it down into projects (kitchen drawers, hall closet, or bedroom dresser). Make your projects smaller and more manageable. When you are ready to tackle one, do an assessment of only that project. Grab a clipboard and pen, and review the job like a general preparing for battle. Identify all the tasks involved. Don’t worry about the order, just list everything that needs to be done. This list will grow as you delve into the project.
Once you’ve got your list of tasks, certain ones will obviously move to the top. Normally that’s removing the extra. On another sheet, start a list of alternate homes for items you don’t want. That might be a favorite donation spot, tubs in the garage for a yard sale, or a bag to take to your sister. Consider selling some items through consignment stores or E-bay. Keep this list handy and add to it – it will ease decision-making, and help you be a better steward of your items.
Bringing order to our lives and homes is a godly principle. First Corinthians 14:33a says, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” As our homes reflect more order, there is greater peace. Break it down into little steps and you’ll find it’s not so overwhelming after all.
For ongoing help in this organization battle, please visit my blog Her Organized Life (www.Herorganizedlife.com).