With the arrival of sunshine, many of us are feeling the need, and finally the desire, to organize. But if you hate that very word, stop trying to be Martha Stewart, and instead try one of these quick tips to jumpstart change.
1. Accept some chaos. Understand that no matter how many great tips or fabulous formulas you use, if you have a family, there will be mess. It doesn’t mean you have to accept it everywhere, but simply not to stress when the garage is untidy AGAIN (not that this happens at our house, every other week). Or that your children don’t remember their dishwasher day AGAIN (every Monday and Tuesday). Or that the boys’ bathroom continually smells like, well, a boys’ bathroom (again and again and again…)
2. Bite off chewable chunks. You don’t need endless hours to complete a task, but you do have to be content with a little here, a little there. A few weeks ago my goal was to declutter the kitchen cabinets. So I did one drawer, A DAY. Can someone say excruciating? But that’s all I could do with my baby, my other six kids’ schedules, and Back to Basics. But it’s paid off. Tonight, at the last minute, the kids wanted to make s’mores, and in a moment I was able to quickly say, “The crackers are up above the fridge, the candy bars and marshmallows are in the kids’ cabinet, and the metal skewers are in the bottom specialty drawer.” Can someone say Stellar Mother Moment (that no one appreciated but me)?
3. Stop making so many lists. I could probably start a support group on this. My BFF is generally a large sticky pad in a bright color. Very sad. So a few months ago I had an epiphany—stop rewriting the same things and like Nike, just do them. So I did. I made one list for the week then went through it daily. When something new needed to be added, I opted first to just do it. It was utterly amazing how many of the “yucky” things (i.e., filing, sorting, tracking) I got done that kept getting bumped to the next week’s list. This works for quick cleaning too. One day I noticed that the silverware tray was full of crumbs. I went to write it down, then realized that it would take me just as long to empty the silverware, wipe out the tray, and put it back in. Within minutes it was done and I avoided an additional “to do” pulsating in the background. So next time you’re tempted to write something down, ask yourself—can it be done now?
Remember, getting organized isn’t about white-knuckling your way through several months of work, and then breathing a sigh of relief. It’s changing a little here, a little there, and making it work for you.
Connie Sokol is a mother of seven, and a sought-after speaker. She is a monthly contributor on KSL TV’s “Studio 5” and regular blogger for KSL’s "Motherhood Matters" blog. She is a former columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine. Mrs. Sokol is the author of several books including the award-nominated romance Caribbean Crossroads, Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, Life is Too Short for One Hair Color Series, Create a Powerful Life Plan, and her soon-to-be released 40 Days with the Savior. Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats. Visit www.conniesokol.com for more.