Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I am not an organized person. Don't tell anyone.

I am organizing today. I spoke in front of a group of women yesterday and endorsed the book and its methods, The House That Cleans Itself, by Minday Starns Clark. I was on a panel with other women who talked about how they keep their homes organized, tidy, and clean. Kellie talked about the Fly Lady, Kelsey talked about her own organization method as a reformed hoarder, Kelly talked about Managers of Their Home a scheduling guide for busy Christian families, and Jill talked about how she keeps her home and life organized with 4 kids and a home business. I felt like a complete fraud. I WANT to be organized, but I am not naturally so. I find myself stuffing and stacking rather than putting things neatly away. I was hoping none of the women in the audience ever came over and inspected my basement or the clutter in my kitchen cupboards. And that is why I was organizing today. 

I love the book, The House That Cleans Itself because the author is not a born neat freak -- like some of my friends on the panel; my friend Jill gets excited to clean when she smells bleach, bless her heart. Like me, Minday Starns Clark, found herself overwhelmed. She developed her methods out of frustration when she found herself wading through clutter just hours after a big cleaning attempt. I've implemented many of the ideas like keeping my sight zones clear and organizing for the way I live instead of trying to change my habits to fit the organization. I also pray more as I face the mess in my house. It's very therapeutic and prayer always reminds me that the mess on my floor is not as important as my 2 (and sometimes Daddy makes 3) mess makers.

Over the last year and a half, since first reading the book, I've organized several areas in my home according to The House That Cleans Itself. The ideas work really well and it takes little effort to maintain tidiness after the organization is complete.  I recently organized my very cluttered mess at the back primary entry. We still need shelves built and a few more pegs on the wall, but already the organization methods is working. No longer as shoes and rugs and gloves and coats piled so high that the back door won't open. I love that my husband comes into a picked up area when he is through working.

Today my project was the TV cabinet with our TV that will be obsolete except for DVD and VHS viewing. Underneath was stored board games on one side and DVDs and Videos on the other. I toyed with the idea of taking a picture to show you, but it was gruesome and I wanted you to get some sleep tonight. Imagine at least 8 decks of playing cards mixed with 2 decks of Uno, Taboo, Bible Flash cards, Bible Memory, Old Maid, Dutch Blitz, Addition and Subtraction flash Cards, the Prophets game, and a few random scrabble pieces, Chinese Checker balls, Candy Land pieces and cards, a Twister turn table, and Logus Sr. (a word game that challenges your brain and your agility) letter tiles. Even though that game cupboard was off limits, Emma and Mandy got into it occasionally and I was always too irritated at the time to help them clean up the mess properly. So, I always stuffed the mess back in the cupboard because who really wants to spend their morning playing 15, 346 card pick-up?

I am happy to report that the games are organized and put else ware. Up really, really high and you have to be 19 years old in order to get them out without supervision. That's the new house rule. 19 years old. The videos are across the room in a drawer with the kid's movies easily accessible. The cupboard is now empty and my hubby asked me at lunch what I have planned to put in there. I am thinking toys, so I no longer have to reprimand little hands from opening those eye level cupboards. Toy's in labeled bins. Oh, that would be lovely. For now, I am just relishing the fact that I completed my organization project and maybe someday I will not be embarrassed to let people see the dark corners of my home. That would be my goal, to have every area in my home neat and tidy. And everything will clean itself, just like the books says. That brings me to the question, what are do you have the hardest time keeping tidy?


11 comments:

The Cowgirl's Typewriter said...

I'm not an organized person either. Strangely, that falls to Katie in our family. My half of the dorm room is always hopelessly cluttered while my roommate's is amazingly clean. I realized how bad it was when a friend walked in and said, "I've never seen it so messy in here." Oops. Saturday's project is to clean my room!

Shawna said...

I have the hardest time with the dining room. I have the best of intentions to have all of us have dinner together and it never fails that the dining room table once cleared, ends up filled again with other crud. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the clutter and I just wish someone would come over and take it all away.

Andee said...

I was totally going to do a FB note about HTCIS. I was feeling frustrated today as I experiment with yet another try to figure out "what works for me" when it comes to organizing. I think it's really important to remember that no matter how clever they "system" you found is, if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work. Find something that does--even if its not clever or cute. Sigh. I want to be Martha.

Kellie said...

Don't feel bad, I'm totally not organized by nature and have to really work at it. My husband and mother laughed their socks off when I told them I would be on the panel! Seriously though, I think those of us that aren't born loving the smell of bleach require a little more help in the form of established systems that we can follow. At least I find that it helps me some. And please don't look in the dark corners of my home. I promise I will tackle the guest room closet some day but it won't be this week. Maybe next week. Or next year.

Grace said...

My poor husband went through many months of grei ver the way his new bride kept his house. And that was before kids!!! I have gotten better, but don't come over now to make me prove t to you!

Ratzlaff Reflections said...

Hey, I thought the panel was awesome. I'm pretty sure I follow your method, but please don't look in my craft room. I'll get to that eventually, but since no one ever goes up there, I don't really care too much.

But, I loved what you had to say! It was REALISTIC!!

Leah said...

Any flat surface, but the coffee table in front of the couch is where I have the most trouble. I can't help piling junk mail and anything else that needs sorting before storing/throwing away into a huge messy pile that never goes away no matter how many times I clean up!

Lindsay said...

Thank you Alysun!! I am so like you in this area. I LOVE, the idea of being organized and wish so badly I was like Jill. But instead I am impatient and just stash things everywhere. I don't really know what system I am going with, but I'm trying to do just a little bit of organizing every day. It's hard because I get so "gung-ho" and want it to be perfect in a day. So I am trying to slow down, baby steps, right? Also, realizing that it is ONGOING, is really key for me. I think, once everything is in order I don't have to do anything. But with kids and all the junk that come in, it really is ongoing.

I really enjoyed the panel, and I'm glad you shared. I feel like a failure in this area sometimes, and it's nice to know that is doesn't come easily for everyone.

Sara said...

Your post has really inspired me to find a new way to deal with my clutter and bad cleaning habits (wish your panel had been at my MOPS group!). Based on what you said and comments others have made, I've spent some time researching and reading reviews on Amazon.com about Flylady's book and The House that Cleans Itself. They both sound awesome and I'm having a very difficult time deciding which one I should order. On Flylady.net I read about what she calls CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) - that's pretty much me. I panic whenever someone shows up unexpected (hmmm, I seem to remember that the ONLY time you've come to my house was an unexpected visit - a five-minute warning does not count! =). When we have planned company over, I have to furiously clean all day to make my home presentable. I would love to be able to keep my home tidy (not necessarily perfect) all the time so that I am ready for anything and anyone.

Oh, and for me, my bedroom is the hardest to keep clean. I guess it is because no one else sees it, because I can just shut the door when anyone comes over, so it always gets put off being cleaned until last. It is a huge source of irritation to my husband and no matter how many times he threatens to just pack up all my extra clothes that are on the floor, chair, end of the bed, etc, and take them to Goodwill, I still can't keep on top of it even if I get it clean for a day or two. My second hardest area to keep clean is my desk - tons of paperwork always piling up and lots of stuff I don't know what to do with that gets stashed there.

Anonymous said...

Organization and schedualing are definately not natural for me, but is a nessesity in this occupation. Before Christmas I re-organized my cubbards and I used regular cardboard boxes and cut them so that they wouldn't be super tall, and labled them 'grains' 'dried' 'snacks' 'baking' ect. It has been much more fun to cook when I know where everything is :)
K.P.

Anonymous said...

As you know I have a cupboard also. I tried the labeled toy bins. They worked ok. I have found that having the little people train and zoo, and one labeled toy bin seems to work better. It is also a good place to put board books (fast to pick up and put away...) After living with my mother in law for several months (whom is the most organized person ever!), I learned that even organized people have their messy hidden places... So don't worry you and I are not alone with out hidden stashes of stuff to sort tomorrow...