Organization Tips for Messies

I have a confession to make: I'm a messy. Well, some of my readers may already know this, since I blogged about it in the House That Cleans Itself series. But sometimes I really can't get a handle on my messiness - and oh! I feel it ought to be a lot easier to be tidy! Anyone with me here?

In 2013, things got especially out of hand at my house - in large part because I had the attitude that as soon as I got one corner of the house really tidy, the kids had destroyed another part. And while that was (is!) largely true, it's no excuse. And all that mess was beginning to depress me and stress out my hubby. So, like many other homemakers, at the beginning of 2014, I began to work on the mess in earnest. (The above photo shows my desk. On the left, my old, broken, falling apart, messy desk. On the right, my new, truly organized desk.)

I know a lot of bloggers write about organization and being clutter free - but unlike most of them, organization doesn't come naturally to me. At. All. So here is my best advice for messies like me: Work on it a little bit every day.

Some people advocate turning the kitchen timer to 10 minutes. During those 10 minutes, they do all the decluttering and organizing they can. I think this is a fine place to start, but for me, the following motto works better:

Declutter and organize one spot every day.

Except the Sabbath, which is (gloriously!) organization free.

Most days, I'll tackle something largish - like one wall (or half a wall, if the room is really bad) in a certain room. On really busy or tired days, I might declutter and organize something more simple, like a kitchen drawer or two. The real trick to making this work, though, is not to feel like I have to get all the decluttering/organization done in one chunk of time. So if I have 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there and 3 minutes there, I will take advantage of all those minutes to get a little de-messifying done.

It works. And as I see myself making progress, I become more enthusiastic and energetic about the whole keeping tidying thing.

Other Tips for Messies:

* Pinterest is a fantastic place to find inspiration for organizing your home.

* A lot of the organizing ideas you'll find in magazines and online require an investment (like purchasing bins or shelving). If buying such items isn't do-able, consider less expensive alternatives, like purchasing bins and other items at The Dollar Tree or a thrift store or garage sale. Or, think hard about how you could repurpose something you already have. Even cardboard boxes can be made attractive, with a little know-how. (For one example, visit Catch My Party; for another, see HandiMania.)

* It's usually difficult for messies to see the answer to their organizing problems, so don't be afraid to ask someone who is more organized for advice. This could be your husband, another family member, or a friend. This can be tough, because often we messies feel judged by those to whom organization comes easy. So pray about it, confess to your family member or friend just how tough this is for you, and ask for help. I know when I do this, a great weight is lifted from me, and some really useful, true solutions are often found.

* Don't give up! If you try one type of organization (say, putting coloring books in a basket) and it just isn't working for you or your family, try something different (like putting them in a bookshelf).

* Never stop. This is the hardest part for the true messy. But if you don't continue decluttering and organizing, even after you've worked over the entire house once, the mess will return. Make tidying up a daily habit, continuing to use whatever method works best for you (my small chunks of time throughout the day method, or the 10 minute method, or something else that works better for you). You can do it!

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