What It Means To Be Organized…One Person's Opinion

Every once in a while, I go on a cleaning frenzy.  The kind an expecting mother has when she’s “nesting”.  Everything gets turned inside out, shaken out, dusted, wiped down, etc.  We go through trash bags like crazy and the box of things to donate to charity sits by the front door and collects my contributions. 

I don’t do this alone.  I drag my reluctant family into this as well.  Belongings are collected from the all corners of the house to make their way back to the appropriate bedrooms.  It’s amazing the stuff you can find under couches, refrigerators and washers!  And actually, the kids sometimes seem to enjoy helping out with the cleaning.

I make everyone go through everything once more to get rid of stuff.  My husband grumbles while we do this saying “I’ve purged and purged and purged but I still have too much stuff!’  My response?  When the house is clean, we have room for everything. If we don’t something has to go.  For example, last night I came home to a countertop and kitchen table covered in stuff.  Those two places are the worst for collecting school work, projects, things that need to be taken to the basement (the basement door is in the kitchen), etc.  There was a pair of sunglasses that have been moved from one end of the counter to the other for a month!  No one wears them.  No one will claim them.  Those sunglasses went into the charity box.  One less thing to deal with.  The school work can go.  The projects can go (if a child wants to keep it, make it their responsibility – they can keep it in their room).  Put items back where they belong.  Tadaa!  Clean!

I am a woman on a mission. I grew up hearing, “A place for everything and everything in it’s place”.  That does NOT mean I was the perfect child with not a toy out of place.  That simply means I HEARD it.  Something must have sunk in.  I am more interested now in practical things than I am in knick knacks.  I still love my knick knacks, but when there are too many to display without looking over-crowded, some have to be packed away or parted with.

Yes, my house is cluttered.  VERY cluttered.  It is a sea of random papers, toys, trinkets and odds and ends that get moved and dropped and forgotten.  It’s the stuff I secretly toss in the trash or in the charity bin after everyone has gone to bed.  I have kids (and a husband) and with kids (and a husband) comes clutter.  I guess it’s part of the package.  I decided I would rather have fun with the kids than yell at them 24/7 to pick up their stuff.

Even though my home is cluttered, I still claim that I am reasonably organized.  Now, I DON’T have my DVDs alphabetized, my closet is NOT color-coded and I DO have a box of crumpled, faded receipts that span several years (although they ARE contained in a nice snap-top box).  My house is littered with toys and games and I am constantly going behind everyone cleaning up. That being said, I can still proclaim myself reasonably organized. 

When I’m at work, I tackle the jobs in front of me, no matter what they are.  If the next thing on the to-do list is something I’d rather deal with later, I still do it immediately.  That way, I don’t have to have this unpleasant task looming over my head.  I’d rather get it taken care of here and now.

When I walk in the door every evening, my keys get attached to the handle of my tote bag (with a carabiner).  My bag is placed next to my home office desk.  My coat is hung on a rack by the front door.  My lunch bag is emptied and hung on a rack in the kitchen and the evening routine begins.  Every morning, I know where to find my coat, bag, keys and lunch.  I’m out the door at the same time practically everyday.  I created the routine for myself after years of constant oversleeping, rushed mornings and stress (followed by anger and frustration with myself).

My husband knows to leave the mail on my desk.  I sort through it every evening, toss out the junk and place the bills in a “to be paid” bin.  Once a week I go through the bin and pay the bills.  Most of the bills are on a recurring schedule through the bank so I just verify that the bill is scheduled to be paid on time.  The statements are filed away in an “Annual Household Finances Folder” (that’s just my fancy name for a portable file box that holds all the paid bills for the year).

People have their own opinions about what it means to be organized.  For me, being organized is simply being able to find what you need when you need it and to be on time with the things you need to get done. 

I have a place for everything in my home.  It just so happens that until the kids can be trained differently (or until they grow up and move out) the kitchen table is the place for their homework and artwork, the living room floor is the place for their stuffed animals and coats and the stairs is the place for their shoes.  I’d rather it be different BUT…I can find everything when I need it and the important things get done when they need to be.  Everyone is happy and life goes on.

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