A number of years ago a friend confided in me that her home was a mess. She never had friends over because she was embarrassed at how her home looked. This was an educated, creative, delightful woman who was a great wife and mom. She was also a military wife and was living in base housing with very limited storage. Organizing just wasn’t her thing.
I talked her into letting me come help for a day. Another friend joined in the clean up project and we headed over to my friend’s home. One step into her kitchen told me my friend hadn’t underestimated the job. I knew we were only going to make a small dent in one day, but it would at least be a dent.
Instead of trying to tackle everything, I suggested we focus on just working through what we could recycle. So we found a big cardboard box and started looking at papers piece by piece, and tossing recyclables into the box. What we couldn’t recycle went in a pile for another day. This work went pretty quickly, and by the time I left, she had reclaimed her kitchen table and other work surfaces.
She still had work to do, but what a great feeling we all had at the end of that day. My friend felt empowered to keep going. Her husband was pleased. And the family had a place to eat dinner together that night.
If you feel overwhelmed, one way to start is to pick one thing to clean up – like recycling. If you only have 10 minutes a day to attack your dis-organization, then I suggest you pick one item on this list and work at it 10 minutes a day. When you’ve gotten through with that project, then pick another task. Here are some ideas for ways to get started:
Put all financial statements in one place (big plastic box, shopping bag) to organize later
Recycle junk mail (see What to Shred)
Recycle papers that you don’t need any more
Gather magazines and put in magazine holders
Gather magazines and donate to your local school, nursing home, etc.
Gather catalogs and recycle, store or donate
Put receipts in a plastic receipt holder – organized by month
Gather kid’s school papers for sorting later
Throw away broken toys
Gather birthday, anniversary, holiday cards and store in a shoebox
Gather personal letters and put in a pocket folder
Throw away expired coupons
Put good coupons in a coupon organizer
Before you even attempt to begin to organize your home, perhaps you might make your own list of problem areas unique to your situation. Then you can tackle your home item by item. This way all you have to do is one thing at a time.
In His Love,