I suppose I do consider myself organized as a whole but I know what my desk looks like as I write this and can barely get the junk drawer in my kitchen open. Still, I had gone over to help a friend clear out a space in her basement and she raved to someone else in the church about how helpful I was and so here I am. All I remember is that I bossed her around and insulted her stuff for a couple hours and it was still a mess when I left to meet Isabelle's bus but apparently when you have too much stuff that is what you are looking for in a helper. :)
Now that my services have been won by someone I have started thinking about my approach to organization and how to tackle the areas she has suggested we work on, the front closet, the back door and the kitchen counter. Conveniently the most unorganized areas of my home as well so I have put a lot of thought into those areas over the years.
Today I thought I would share a few random thoughts that come to mind on organization. While I might not have ever come up with any of them on my own I do speak from personal experience in each of them.
Clothes: I go through my clothes every spring and every fall and put together a pile of clothes for the good will. Since I can only fit seasonal clothes in my closet I do it at the turn over. While I don't buy a new wardrobe every year I do pick up a few new items each season. And while some of my older clothes may still be in perfectly good shape or be items that when new were my favorites eventually the new takes over the old and no mater how good it looks or how much I loved it in the past I am never going to wear it again. Bless someone else. Remember, just because you own 10 pair of jeans doesn't mean you wear 10 pair of jeans. The goal is not a full closet. The goal is an organized closet full of clothes you wear. If you wear the same 2 shirts on an every other day rotation because they are all that fit you then no matter how full the closet is, you only have 2 shirts. This how organized your closet would look with only those 2 shirts in it. And your husband wouldn't be able to say you don't need to go shopping... Some say if you haven't worn it in 6 months then get rid of it. I tend to lean more toward a year, I think mostly because I can't afford to shop as much as I want sometimes I am forced to bring an item back to life for a time. And a specialty item like fancy clothes I will keep for a couple years even if I don't wear them.
As I was going through my girlfriends storage stuff a few weeks ago she had a couple bins of decorative napkins. Some bought for future use and still in the package but many left over from past parties. They were beautiful napkins, we share an affinity for such things, but I asked her to be real. Having been stored for quite some time the edges had begun to curl and she would never put out such beat up napkins for a party. However, there was no reason not to use them to make her family feel special. She has several varieties themed for the upcoming holidays and I told her to use them up by the time those holidays were done. (See how bossy I am.) Another thing that comes to mind that similarly is hard to store are candles. If you have them, burn them and then get new ones. They don't last forever.
What are you saving for a special occasion that will never come? What could you be enjoying now that will just be thrown away by your children after you die? If you have something you love use it or display it. Fancy dishes are a big one. Use them or loose them. Better to break one enjoying it than have them gather dust and bring no joy.
Have you seen those hoarder shows? Those people are letting their stuff define them and control their lives. You are more than your stuff! Let it go.
Organizational Maintenance: The work is in maintaining an organized home not getting it organized. The organization is actually the easy part. If you designate a place to put something you have to actually put it there when you are done in order for it to help. And while it seems like so much more work to actually put the item away than to just leave it sitting on the table next to you, it will only take a moment. If you wait til the house is full of stuff to put away it will take all day. (Is that a cleaning or organizational tip? Either way.)
One truth which I am learning applies to all areas of my life is that organization is a process, a journey. You do not get healthy in a day, become godly in a day, raise children right in a day and you don't get organized in a day, you get organized over a lifetime. It is an ever changing, ever improving aspect of your life. Take it one step at a time.