Organization is not one of my gifts. God has quite the sense of humor in making someone like me the mother of ten! My mother did most of the cleaning when I was growing up. She admits to cleaning my room rather than putting up with the hassle of making me clean it. Don’t expect any great secrets to reorganizing your home from me. I just wanted to share what my struggle with organization has taught me.
I think that organization is a lot like faith. It isn’t something you are born with, it is something you learn & I didn’t learn how to organize until I realized how unorganized I was. When I started having kids I knew that something would have to change. I had to learn some organization skills or else one of these days I would lose one of my kids amid the clutter & chaos. I then became an Emilie Barnes “junky”. I bought every book she wrote on organization. I bought all kinds of books on the subject, but who had time to read when there is so much to be done not to mention a bunch of kids to keep up with. So, the books got put up on the shelf until a few years ago. I was desperate to get organized! I read the Emilie Barnes books & then I bought some more books. I read & read but I was still so unorganized. I even made a notebook like Flylady said to. I was still unorganized. I went to every homeschool meeting when organization was the topic. I came home & bought file folders, I labeled drawers and did all the other things that help to keep the guest speaker organized, but it didn’t work for me. A few times I would walk into a room armed with my 3 boxes (ya know, keep, throw away & give away) determined to get it under control and set the boxes down, walk out & shut the door. The job was too big. Then I would remember the words of Emilie Barnes, “It only takes 15 minutes.” So I would set the timer & start sorting but got distracted & then my time was up. Oh well, there is always tomorrow. It helped a little but after time it would all fall apart & things would be a mess again. I was so frustrated.
I first had to realize that I could read every book ever written on organization, but unless I applied any of it I couldn’t expect to get organized. That may seem like a “well, duh” thing to say but how many of you (yes, I know you are out there) complain about how unorganized you are, but you could tell someone else how to get organized because you’ve read all the books on it. I know what I need to do to get the job done. But it’s a lot of hard work & I am a very busy person working very hard on a lot of other things (like an article on organization). It takes time & I don’t have a lot of time. But change takes time and I had to learn how to make time for it. In Vicky Caruana’s book “The Organized Home Schooler”, she says, “This is similar to making the choice to follow Christ. It takes time to get to know Him. It requires changing how we spend our time. Time spent for ourselves and our own purposes must be changed to time spent in His Word and for His Kingdom. God challenges us with His ways and His Word. It’s more a matter of a willing spirit than it is a matter of time.”
After I realized that those books didn’t do me any good until I had a willing spirit to change I then realized how many bad habits I had. Instead of putting the paper in the right file that I had labeled and into the right drawer that I had also labeled I just put the paper on the counter that we knick named “junk counter”. All I was left with was a lot of empty drawers & a very full counter. Changing these bad habits into good habits has become a never ending journey. I never really thought that I needed God’s help with this. But after time I found myself looking for scriptures to help encourage me not to give up. I got the kids involved & we as a family began encouraging each other to break those bad habits. And slowly but surely the chaos, disorder & stress that was brought on by the disorganization became less. It’s still not totally gone. I don’t think it ever will be. As long as I have kids at home there will probably always be a level of disorganization, but it won’t destroy our peace. The opposite of peace is stress & peace is mentioned in the Bible at least 230 times! God wants us to live in peace & orderliness.
“For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace.” (1 Cor.14:33)
There are so many great resources out there to help, but like I found out they only work if your heart is ready to change. So, if you print out this newsletter to read later don’t just set it down. Put it in the right place, file drawer, folder, notebook, etc…and you are on your way!
“The Organized Home Schooler” by Vicki Caruana
“Confessions of an Organized Homemaker” by Deniece Schofield
“12 Steps to Becoming a More Organized Mother” by Lane P. Jordan
“15 minute Organizer” and other books by Emilie Barnes
“Speed Cleaning” by Jeff Campbell
“Hidden Art of Homemaking” by Edith Schaeffer
“Side-tracked Home Executives” by Pam Young and Peggy Jones(my favorite)
“Clutter’s Last Stand” and “Is There Life After Housework?” By Don Aslett
“401 Ways to Get Your Kids to Work at Home” by Bonnie Runyan McCullough
“Choreganizers: The Visual Way to Organize Household Chores” by Jennifer Steward