It's Monday morning. You are frantically searching for your daughter's
field trip permission slip which was due back last week. Or maybe it's the
client file you must bring with you to today's staff meeting. You know it's
here somewhere--you just saw it yesterday. Meanwhile, your eight-year-old
wanders in whining that he can't find his other sneaker. In the background
your two teenage daughters are having their daily battle over who used whose
Suddenly, there it is, taunting you. Your senses are overwhelmed by the
flashing red lights and that hideous shower scene music from Psycho. No,
not the item you're looking for. It's your list of 1999 Resolutions. Right
where you left it. In January. And the number one goal at the top of the
list: Get Organized!! Groaning, you glance at the clock. You're late.
Again. As you corral the kids toward the door, you wonder aloud, "Where did
I put those blasted car keys?" And so it goes.
No, I haven't been spying on your family. The reason I know your morning
ritual is simple: Been there, done that. And so has nearly everyone else.
Relax. It IS possible to get your life in order. Others have done it!
Improvise to Organize. The most common excuse for not being organized is
lack of time. Bottom line: No one has enough time--ever. So, we must
adapt. Organization SAVES time. The average American spends one hour per
day looking for misplaced items--that's more than one day per month! You
cannot control the clock, but don't let the clock control you.
A few time-saving, stress-lowering tips:
1. Parents, stop being "all things to everyone". Divide household chores
between family members.
2. Your kitchen timer is a valuable tool! Use it as a reminder to turn off
the sprinkler, end a long-distance phone call, or leave the house at a
certain time. Set it to divide time taking turns on the computer or video
games. Set it for five minutes in the morning while everyone does a quick
"pick-up" of the house. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in
five minutes and you will come home to a tidy house. Procrastinators, set
the timer for 15 minutes and get started with the undesirable task. When
time is up, you may stop for the day. Chances are, once you get started,
you will want to continue.
3. Assign each person a different color. Each individual's color now
designates who "owns" every item in the house from toothbrushes to bath
towels to storage containers. This will end the constant bickering over what
belongs to whom.
4. Keeping track of items is as simple as assigning a place for each and
keeping it there. (You always know where the milk is, don't you?) Obtain
containers to use as "In" boxes for each person, plus an extra for papers to
be filed. Use anything from baskets to plastic to cardboard. Specify
ownership by color. Stack containers in a convenient, permanent place. Use
this system to route paperwork, including notes, school papers, etc. between
family members daily. Once a paper has been dealt with, place it either in
the filing box, back in the sender's box, or the garbage. Garbage is NOT a
dirty word--if you don't need it, don't keep it! Assign one responsible
individual to file weekly.
5. Place a box by the door and put in it anything needing to go out (videos
and books to return, film to be developed, borrowed items, homework, mail,
etc.) Distribute items at least once weekly.
Strategize to Organize. Formulate a strategy that will work for all and
establish a routine. Be patient, this will take some doing. Have short
weekly family meetings to update calendars, plan for upcoming events,
discuss conflicts, etc.
It's never too late to improve life through organization. Why not start
now? Set that timer and GO!
© 1999 Judy A. Near
About the Author: Judy A. Near owns and operates Near at Hand Interiors, a Professional Decorating and Organizing business in Lawrence, Kansas. She offers both group seminars and one-on-one consultations. For more information call 785/865-0621. Judy can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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