It can be so discouraging to get your home organized and then watch helplessly as the clutter makes its way back in. How does that happen? It’s basically a mindset – to get organized is one thing, but to stay that way means you need to approach each day with it in mind. Rather than give up, try working some habits into your family life to make organization stick around. Here are some tips for getting organized and staying that way.
Grow with Your Family
Organization needs change over time, and it’s good to be adaptable and change methods along the way. One of the ironies of staying organized is that rigid inflexibility tends to make things worse – if not in actual clutter, then in feelings of resentment and being stifled.
So it only makes sense that you will have to “update” your organization from time to time to keep up with growing kids, changing jobs, and various phases. Here are some tips.
- Toy bins will need to make way for space for age-appropriate items, like journals, art supplies, electronics, and other teen interests. You can update the bins or sell the old ones and replace them, but it’s going to require some reorganizing as your kids grow.
- Get rid of the old to make space for the new. Nothing scraps organizational efforts like accumulating stuff on top of stuff. As your kids’ interests change (yours, too), don’t be afraid to get rid of the things you no longer use and create space for the new stuff.
- As your kids grow, the level of organization they are responsible for will increase. Begin to delegate tasks and try to let family members do it their own way. This is part of letting organization grow with your family.
If you are using organizational methods that just aren’t you, or just don’t fit with your family dynamic, then it’s no wonder you can’t keep up with them. You may not be the type to do spreadsheets, for instance, even though your friends rave about how much they helped them. If a dry-erase board or piece of paper and pencil work for you, go with it. Some people do better with an old-fashioned pocket calendar than fancy software.
The same is true in your home. If you are using the methods others have told you about, they may not work for your family. Organization should flow naturally from your lifestyle and be at a level you’re comfortable with. It’s okay, for instance, if there are some things you prefer not to have too organized.
The Need for Space
Space needs definitely change within a family. Babies, for instance, take up little space in and of themselves, but their stuff can take over the house! Teens, for example, may need more personal space but fewer square feet than, say, an active first grader. And even the adults in the house may go through phases where personal space is more of a priority than at other times. So be ready for these changes and adapt your organizational methods to fit them.