As a professional organizer, I often hear stories from people how they “used” to be organized before having children. And, I totally get it! As the mama to 3 little girls under the age of 10, I know the mess, chaos, and STUFF that comes with kids. Stuff is an inevitable part of parenting, but that doesn’t mean that you have to sit back and wait for them to go to college before doing something about it. I am serious. And I am also realistic with what I tell people about getting organized. Because let’s face it, no one really wants to be disorganized and there is no one perfect system for you and your family. And you know what, that is ok!
Photo: My girls creating with their imagination. And yes there is a blanket fort in the back.
You don’t live in the pages of a magazine or on Pinterest or on an Instagram feed. You live in your home where you raise your children and they learn, play, and feel safe. Arts, crafts, and creating are ALL apart of parenting. Yes, this get messy and you know what - that is OK. If items have a home after all the fun it will make it super easy for it to be picked up and put away too (and not necessarily by you).
Life happens, decluttering & organization is not a one-time event but a lifestyle requiring practice by the entire family. Really organized people are not born organized, they have to cultivate healthy habits, which then help them to stay organized and still have fun.
However, before organizing there is another important step often overlooked. Editing your stuff . Simplifying. Minimizing . And yes, you can do this with kids. Joshua Becker has a great article about this process you can check out here .
“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy.” – Richard Halloway
Here are 3 important steps to get your organizing on:
PAUSE & PRIORITIZE
Before you get organized you must first pause. Take a breath, reflect, and think.
What are my priorities in life (not yesterday and not 20 years down the road) today?
Is the STUFF around me supporting my priorities?
Am I living intentionally or are things getting in my way?
Do items in my home bring me joy or evoke sadness and frustrations or discomfort? ( yes I mean those adorable shoes in your closet that KILL your feet why do you still keep them?)
Are items taking up space in your home useful to your currently lifestyle?
Allow yourself permission to release items no longer serving you. Release in the dictionary is defined as to allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free. These items are recycled responsibility, donated if in great shape, or yes, placed in the trash if they full filled their purpose. Learning how to declutter your home and (and as a result, decluttering your life) doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be. And the benefits are numerous.
Less to clean.
Less to organize.
ASSIGN A HOME FOR ITEMS
If you want to be organized, every item must have a home. You can’t put something away if it doesn’t have a home. If you do, you’re just stashing stuff, and you’ll probably never be able to find it again. Now you need to understand something about storage. Storage isn’t about keeping as much as possible: it’s about knowing where to find what you need any time you need it. Being organized is having a specific home for your items - a place for each of them. Items take up expensive real estate in your home.
Having a home for an item should mean that there is only one logical place for you (and others) to look for it. For example, there should only be one drawer where you would find your pots and pans, and only one place where your child will find favorite puzzles, stuffed animals or markers.
Will things be perfect when you are managing toddlers at home? Heck No. Will they be perfect with school age kids at home? Again, no. Then it will defiantly be perfect with you have teenagers at home. Nope again. If you are getting the hint, things are never going to be perfectly organized in your home. And you know what, that is ok! You live in your home where you raise your children and they learn, play, and feel safe.
Remember, don't try to tackle everything yourself. Your little people can totally help. Involve your kids (at an age appropriate level for the task) and establish simplification and getting organized not just a one time event but a lifestyle.
Start clearing the clutter in your life today so you can focus on what you love. If you need support in the process reach out. Mindfully Minimized would love to help.
Less is more.