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 Sanity in the Chaos
Here are a few tips for balancing your desire for organization with the realities of family life.
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.
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 strains 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!