Desperate to Be Organized!

 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!

Resources

“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

Websites

FLY Lady

Managers of Their Homes

Organized Home

Organize Tips

Large Family Logistics

3 thoughts on “Desperate to Be Organized!

  1. Robin

    I read your post on being disorganized and I just feel so close to you right now,lol. I don’t have 10 kids but I do have 3, 2 of which are 4yo twins. This is our first year homeschooling and I am so far doing a disastrous job. My main weakness is scheduling housework and homeschool. For some reason, I can’t change the order of importance of the two. By the time I do the top-of-the-list chores, the day is almost over. I’m only speaking of the ones that if I don’t do them, we can’t function, such as laundry, (oh how I loathe laundry). I can’t even imagine what laundry is like for you. Some days, like today, I just stand back and look at it and then just walk away. I can’t bear to do it right now. It seems so hopeless. Then other days, I’m all motivated and just jump in and tackle it. When it comes to the bills, I get disconnect notices for the utilities because I haven’t paid them. I have the money to pay them, but I keep putting it off and putting it off until they have to threaten me. I just hate having to go through it all.
    I have a sensible, well laid out plan that would work perfectly… If I would just stick to it! I can’t seem to stick to a diet though either, so maybe my problem is commitment. I don’t know.
    Anyway, just wanted to post and let you know you are not alone, I can definitely relate to your situation (minus 7 kids).
    I did happen to find a group that gives you a plan for each week on decluttering your life. Sounds like you are already an expert on the how-to part though. You just have trouble implementing it., like I do.

    Reply
  2. Dana Post author

    Robin,

    Thanks for your comment. I totally understand how you may feel as though you are spinning your wheels all day & then wonder at the end of the day if you got anything done. That is where the 15 minute rule really came in handy for me. Rather than trying to accomplish big jobs, I just broke them down in to many small jobs. For laundry, we do a little everyday. I don’t think that should be a “big family” way to do laundry. It is a good habit to make no matter how many live in your house. Now, my little bit of laundry is 4 loads a day where your little bit may only be a load. But washing, folding & putting away one load is so much easier than spending all day trying to do it. Look for my post on teaching your kids to be organized soon. It is still on my computer & not here yet. I just started this blog & am still trying to get all of my old posts transferred. But when we can teach our kids to do small jobs well like sorting clothes, folding & putting away their laundry it is creating peace for you & them.

    Take heart & keep going!!!

    Reply
  3. Christine

    Wow, I sure relate to you on a lot of levels. I have the hardest time going to bed on time to get up early enough to make the schedule work. Even after I go to bed, I often lie away with stuff going through my head. This is killing all my homeschool efforts and causing me to almost unschool most of the time.
    My dh created schedules which I love in excel. Then he and I just made a menu/calendar one that I will try next. I have to put those together because my menus are totally affected by my calendar. I am also trying to be more healthy, so the menus are more challenging than before. I do hope these three things will help my frenzied efforts.
    You are right, our flesh is the thing that defeats us most often. My oldest two children are straying spiritually and this drains the energy out of me, too. KWIM? There is nothing harder than watching a child, who was trained so carefully, fall for worldly lies and thinking.
    I just pray and hope my other four will follow hard after Christ. And that I will be more organized and consistent in our home. If I do have a good day, it is ONLY the grace of God that enabled me. Grace is what we all need in abundance. May He give us a lot this year!

    Reply

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