You love organization. You dream of those beautiful closet systems with everything perfectly in place. But, even without the dream system, you still love to utilize cute little storage bins or shelves to keep everything neat and tidy. And, on your own, you succeed quite well.
The problem is, you’re not on your own. You have adorable little ones who are too young to appreciate and understand your organizational system. You have middle schoolers and teenagers who are just too “busy” to learn your organizational system. Or you have a spouse who simply prioritizes his time and views life differently than you do. The result can be, well, chaotic.
Maintaining Organization and Sanity in the Chaos
Family is a beautiful combination of personalities, passions, and interests. But living with other people always introduces a measure of chaos, no matter how closely knit you may be.
If you love organization, chances are you are either married to or the parent of someone who, well…doesn’t. And this means that you are going to have to watch out for the perfectionism that natural organizers tend toward.
It also means that you need to find a way to make sure that there is peace in your home. And that peace includes your ability to find ways to maintain your sanity through organization!
Here are a few tips for balancing your desire for organization with the realities of family life.
Organization in Your Spaces
Unless you run yourself ragged and confiscate all opportunity for family rest and play, chances are you’re not going to keep the whole house neat and tidy all the time. So, pick your spaces.
Keep your own clothing and make-up drawers neat. Find a way to organize the house so that you have a work space that you can keep tidy. Establish a “no toys in the living room” rule. Focus on organization in the rooms you frequent, even if chaos “hides” elsewhere.
And remember that, while it’s important to help your children learn how to tidy their rooms, it’s okay for them to have a different approach to organization than you do.
Now, this does not mean that you avoid setting up a chore system or just let everywhere except your spaces remain in chaos simply because other members of the family don’t appreciate organization like you do. Chores, tidiness, and cleanliness are still very important!
The key here is to remember that the standard of organization can be different in your space than in other spaces in the house. That’s very different from being surrounded by filth and perpetual clutter.
Minimal Organization Requirements
Let’s take a closer look at that idea of standards of organization. Sometimes the biggest clash between those who love organization and the rest of the family comes because their organizational standards are different.
You might have a clear picture in your mind when you tell your child they need to keep their collections organized. But that picture may look very different in their minds!
So, communication is important. But it’s also important to establish a manageable level of organization.
Instead of setting broad, overwhelming organizational structures, establish small rules. For instance, if your child loves to collect rocks, shells, and who-knows-what-else, then the rule can be that everything brought in from the outside must be in its bin. If you find anything outside the bin, the whole collection must go.
Pick one tidiness requirement for the family or for each child, then stick to it. The instruction to keep the bedrooms tidy can be vague and overwhelming. But a specific rule can be much easier to handle and can tackle the biggest source of disorder for each child.
Let’s be honest and realize that clutter increases stress, and stress strains relationships. But, nagging and fussing and complaining strain relationships, too.
If your family feels that they can never succeed because they don’t see and deal with the clutter the way you do, there will be continual strain. Prioritize those relationships by choosing to find a middle ground, honoring the beauty of the various personalities in your home.
When your teenager or young adult knows that they are safe and welcome to share every aspect of life with you, that cluttered bedroom doesn’t seem as big of a deal any more.
Is “organized” part of your planning personality? What else describes you? Take our Planner Personality Quiz to find out!