“Good moms have dirty ovens and sticky floors.”
I’ve heard this quote before and it never sat quite right with me. I think the idea that moms should set housework aside for the more important work of enjoying and raising your children is a fine notion and reminds us that children grow up quickly while we’re busy with other things. However, I also don’t think the homes where we raise our children need to be left to turn into chaos during these important years with our kids. In fact, an organized home is a great gift to yourself as well as your children.
Being organized and having an organized home does not have to mean you are a perfectionist who ignores your kids while you make sure all your closet hangers are exactly 2 inches apart and the spices are sorted alphabetically. To be organized means you can find what you are looking for when you need it, and that clutter and mess don’t stop you from enjoying your time with friends and family. For example, if you are constantly late because you can’t find your keys, always fussing at your kids because they can’t find their shoes, and tripping on laundry every time you try to get out the door (by the way I’ve totally been there and still get this way from time to time when I don’t choose to stay organized), this is an opportunity for taking that time to organize so entering and exiting the house can be less stressful and time consuming. Now, imagine being able to leave the house without a fuss because your keys are where you can find them, the shoes are lined up and ready for the kids to put on, and walking out of the back door isn’t a tripping hazard. Can you see how taking the time and effort to get organized can translate into a more positive home life for your whole family?
So let’s get started! Here are 3 key components of organizing that have helped me on the path to a more organized home:
1) Everything needs a home.
-You will not be able to quickly and consistently find the items you need if you don’t have a set place that they are to be kept. Likewise, you won’t be able to keep clutter under control if you don’t have a place to put items back when you are done using them. Literally every item in your house should have a home, and “in a pile over there” or “somewhere in the closet” are usually not specific enough locations to maintain an organized system. Take your closet for example: just because all your clothes make it into your closet at some point does not mean it is an organized space. Does it belong on a hanger, in a basket, or in a drawer? Do you have a place for dirty clothes other than the floor? Would having a home for clothes that need to be dry cleaned or altered help find what you need you next time you run an errand to the dry cleaner or tailor?
2) Identify problem areas.
-If you don’t know where to start organizing, here is your answer. Identify the problems you are consistently running into in your home, and come up with a solution. For example, we don’t have a real entryway into our house, so shoes were always piling up on our kitchen floor or washing machine (two places closest to the back door). It took me a few months of living here before I finally opened my eyes to this problem and bought a hanging shoe organizer for the back of my laundry room door. Now the shoes are still where we need them, but they have a real home and are out of sight. Once you know what your trouble areas are, Pinterest is sure to be able to help you with a solution if you are having trouble coming up with one on your own.
Before and After: our pantry was definitely one of these problem areas! The problem was that I would have to dig and shove things if I was ever looking for something in the back of the pantry. I borrowed the idea from Pinterest to use baskets (from Office Depot) to sort like items, so that when I am looking for that one particular spice, I can pull out my spice basket and look without knocking down everything else on the shelf. Problem solved and organization achieved!
3) Get rid of stuff.
-This is definitely the tip that helped me most when I decided I wanted a more organized home. I was constantly reworking all the stuff I had and trying to find ways to make piles of stuff look nice and neat, until one day I realized that maybe getting rid of the piles of stuff would solve some of my problems in organizing it. And I’m not talking one trip to Good Will and calling it a day; I mean I have gotten rid of hundreds and hundreds of items that I didn’t even realize were taking up so much space in my home. Some of the top items I was glad I eventually sent packing were craft projects I kept saying I was going to get around to but finally admitted it probably wasn’t going to happen, home décor items I liked but finally admitted I didn’t have place that I liked for them in my current house, and clothes I finally admitted that I didn’t really love how they looked or fit and no longer enjoyed wearing. When all the extra stuff is gone, you can better enjoy and more easily organize the things you do choose to keep.
These tips are just some basics to get you started towards an organized home and life, and the possibilities are endless for organizing everything from your pantry to your planner.