Monday, November 28, 2011


Today I have another installment of  odds 'n' ends thoughts for you.
  • In my six commandments of organizing, I mentioned having a place where you can dump things and sort them (commandment #3). In our house, this is the foyer. We have a rather large foyer compared to the rest of our townhouse, so this area is often where things are dropped for further review. Beyond that, it's the island/peninsula in the kitchen. I'm hoping to get back to some room-by-room posts on kids' rooms and other spaces soon.
  • My husband and I love watching Mythbusters and are catching up on some old episodes via Netflix (we save lots of $ by not having cable). One of the episodes tackled the myth that there are dirtier things in the house than the toilet seat, including money, computer keyboards and the number one culprit--the kitchen sponge. Interestingly enough, we get another magazine that talked about the same type of thing, saying the kitchen is often the dirtiest room in the house. If you use a sponge, you should run it through the dishwasher or microwave every day. Otherwise, you should use dishcloths and pull out a new one at least daily.
  • I'm curious to know if you've started your holiday shopping yet. I did a lot before baby was born, but will probably finish up with online purchases. There was a lot to choose from in stores even before Halloween this year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Priorities, Priorities...

Here's a quote that I, in my orderly nature, find a bit hard to swallow:

"If all we needed to follow was a plan, we'd have no need to follow Jesus."

I'm sure that if you are here reading this, you are somewhat like me and thrive on planning. Or at least, you desire to be a bit more on top of things in your life. How would I know how to shape my week without looking over the calendar, listing out chores to be done (even if just mentally), and considering the people and things that are seeking my attention?

Glynnis Whitwer, author and inspirational speaker, recently shared a great post about the myth of multi-tasking, which tied in with a devotional on seeking God's agenda for our day. Reading these articles really challenged me as an organizer and as a Christian. There are countless things that I can accomplish in a day (provided I have the energy) but are all of them worthwhile?

I can constantly follow my toddler around the house, picking up, wiping and straightening, but is having a pristine home the ultimate accomplishment for my day? (If it was, how would I have learned that he loves to take a cloth and wipe up messes?) 

I love to watch a certain TV show during his naptime, but isn't it a better use of my time to rest, call a friend or do some chores I'd rather not be doing while he's awake and wants to play?

May I challenge you today, dear reader, that while a plan, a checklist, accomplishments and cleanliness are all worthwhile and sometimes even fun, they are not necessarily the end goal? Nay, let an orderly home with good systems in place be what makes you quick about the "have-to-do's" of life so that you have time leftover for the really meaningful stuff.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Six Commandments of Organizing (Part 2)

Here's part two of the post I shared earlier with the cardinal rules of organizing, as I see them (complete list):
  1. Each area of the house should be set up for only one type of activity.  Don’t pay bills in the kitchen, or eat in the bedroom. Use rooms for their intended purpose and designate an area for paperwork in an office or at a desk. Don’t cram all your activities into one room, or you’ll set yourself up to lose things!
  2. Handle items only once, or at the very most, twice.  Sort your mail next to the trash can.  Toss junk mail right away, take bills immediately to your desk (or schedule them for online payment immediately). Don’t make a habit of ‘piling’ unless you make a habit of sorting the pile for an hour each week!
  3. Designate one place in the house that will always be clutter-free to serve as your sorting area. You need a place to set down grocery bags, stacks of paperwork or supplies, and any other items you bring home with you. Unpack or spread out the items, then start putting things away immediately, working to clear off the sorting area.  Sometimes you have to make a mess in order to organize or clean it up!
  4. Work methodically, starting in one place, and sticking to a task until it is completed.  Try not to get overwhelmed.  Focus on one drawer or shelf, and work with it until you are done. Set a timer if it helps you keep moving. Small successes will be a big motivator.
  5. Group items with similar uses together where you use them.  For instance, store the supplies that you use to clean the bathroom underneath the sink or in a nearby closet - don’t hide them in the basement!  You’ll save time if you keep extra trash bags in the bottom of the can, protected by the bag that’s already in place.  Plus, you won’t need to find a shelf to store the bags on.  If you absolutely do not have room in the area, box up items, label them clearly and store them together with similar items in a storage area.
  6. Ask yourself: Could someone else benefit from having this item more than I am benefiting from it?  Check with them to see if they could use it.  “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Remember Matthew 6:25-34 – Do not worry about clothing, storing up treasures, or other things.  If you have not worn it in two years, picked it up in a year, or if it has a thick layer of dust on it, it isn’t doing you any good! You can donate just about anything to various causes, or you could bless a friend with something they can use, but may not be able to afford.