by Esperanza DeLaLuz
Organizing is what you do before you do something,
~~ A. A. Milne
Let’s start with this premise: Organizing things does not make you a better mom. But it does make it easier to find the Band-Aids, and for me, being ADHD, I am able to be a better mom when I have inner peace; and my personal inner peace is disturbed by chaos. But I know lots of wonderful mothers, including my own, who love and care exquisitely well, in a state of frequent disorder.
That said, I am a passionate organizer. People actually pay me to come organize their kitchen or garage. There are some basic principles to organizing that might be useful to most people to one extent or another, that I thought I might share:
1 Simplify – there are lots of wonderful systems to encourage us to simplify, but most of them boil down to only keeping things that you need, or use, or enjoy. Less stuff means less clutter and less maintenance. But there is also something to be said for having useful backup supplies like food storage, meds, or craft supplies, for preparedness purposes also. But remember, those things are only useful to you if you can find them when a crisis makes them necessary.
2 Contain things – using baskets, boxes, bags, bottles, tubs, cupboards, drawers, etc., This is probably the most important element of organizing. My grandmother used to say “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” My father used to line his top drawer with all kinds of tiny boxes with places for each thing he kept there: watch, coins, keys, etc. So I come by it naturally. But when things are where they belong, my environment is neater, I can find things I need, and I am aware of how much I have and if I have things I can do without.
It is also helpful to use similar sized and shaped things. For example, having all your dishes or food storage containers the same size makes them stack more neatly. This doesn't have to be expensive -- I actually cut the tops off plastic bleach bottles and used them to stack all my round containers of that size inside them, which kept them from falling over.
3 Put like things together – it continually surprises me when I go to help someone clean or organize, how often I find similar things in several different places. Now, it makes sense to have things in different places when you use them in multiple places. I have scissors in every room, for example, and of course, toothpaste in most every bathroom. But keeping things together that are the same, or that are used together makes sense. And subdividing those grouped things, so that each kind of thing has its own place can be very useful. You will notice if it is missing, for one thing, or if you have more than you need.
4 Label your stuff – I am probably too focused on labels, because I am absent-minded, and my labeler is one of my favorite tools. But labeling things helps us remember where they belong. Labels can help you identify what goes where and if it is missing. Most of the time you can do this subtly; you can have specific colors of towels for each bathroom, for example, or other visual cues that identify where things belong without actual labels. But you can also do them in cute ways, with fancy labels that are part of the décor.
My sister pointed out that using pretty baskets to organize my craft supplies was more appealing, more “Feng Shui” than using my labeled assortment of plastic boxes. She was right! So, over the years I picked up lots of fancy baskets at second hand stores. But then I found that they didn’t look good with labels on them. (But it gave me another fun crafting project to make a lot of cute little wooden plaques to attach to the fronts of the baskets.)
When keeping multiples for utility purposes, labeling which set goes where is very useful. For example, I write on those scissors with a permanent marker which room they belong in, so they don’t end up all in one room when I have used them.
5 Store things where they are used – we keep the dishes in the kitchen naturally, but sometimes don’t apply that same idea to other places in our home. Closets, cupboards or drawers are less likely to become catch-alls, if you limit them to containing only things that are useful in that place. Of course, there are things that get used in multiple places. Some people keep multiples like I do with the scissors, others make a specific cabinet or dresser drawer for all those things. I have a “utility dresser” with drawers for simple household tools, tape, batteries, lightbulbs, and other things that everyone needs to get to often. Some people keep a “junk drawer” for things that have no specific place, but this is a poor idea since it gets crammed full of stuff that does not ever get assigned to its own place.
6 List stuff – Keeping a list, in a notebook, on the back of a cupboard, or on a computer, can be very useful, especially with stored supplies. It also helps keep supplies current. If there is a list on the back of the medicine cabinet mirror of what you plan to keep in that cabinet, you might be more likely to notice you are out of Band-Aids. A list of what goes in each cupboard on the back of the door, or a master list of desired food storage items, or a list of where important documents are stored can be very useful. Just make sure you have a specific place to keep the lists!
7 Put things back! – This is probably the hardest part for most people. We are naturally lazy, and we don’t want to get up and put things away all the time. But a basket on the stairs for things that need to go upstairs, or a defined place in each room to set things that don’t belong in that room, can make it easier to go around and put things back. You can also make a game of it for little children. Some younger children actually think it is fun to go put Daddy’s tie in the bedroom for a few raisins! But you can also set up a pattern of going around gathering and putting things back once a day, if you cannot make yourself put things back right away.
8 A few clever helps – everyone has stuff in their house that other people left there. Setting up a basket by the door for these things not only contains them, but also makes it easier to remember to give them back or return them. A box by the garage door for things that need to go out of your home on errands makes it easier to get those errands done and get those things out of your house. Having a specific shelf for your purse, or for school books and back packs, makes finding them much easier.
Drawer dividers, hook racks, extra shelves inside cabinets, and tote bags can be very useful tools. Having a tote specifically to hold smaller things for organizing (tiny boxes, plastic packets, bags, and such) makes it easier to find something to use to contain and organize things. A place to set things when you first come home, such as a table, bench, or shelf keeps things from getting piled up on the floor.
Setting up a specific rack in which to put outgoing and incoming mail, a key rack, a mirror, the family calendar, and a place to leave notes, all by the front door can be very useful. A hook rack for hat, coats, sunglasses, flashlight, umbrellas, tote bags, sunscreen or other things that are often needed as leaving the house is useful, too, especially if it can be near the door.
I hope that these general principles can make your life a little bit easier!
Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing.
~~ Doctrine and Covenants 88:119
by Meagan Waite, Assistant Director - My Discovery Destination!
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and the world is all-aflutter with overpriced red roses, paper hearts, and boxes of chocolate. I am also aware of the fact that some people refer to February 14 as Singles Awareness Day–I am in that demographic myself. Now I’m not down on romance just because I am currently footloose and fancy free. Just because this is the month of “amore” doesn’t mean that it is only referring to fairytale love.
English is among the largest languages by word count. That being said, we native English speakers don’t have nearly enough for the word “love.” Now, the Greeks…they know about words of love.
Eros means passion. Philia is a deep friendship. Ludus is a playful love. Philautia is the love of self. But, it is agape, the love for everyone, and pragma, long standing love, that I wish to talk about.
I believe that the love of a parent for their child falls into a combination of agape and pragma–an all encompassing, lasting love. And when you love someone you want to wrap them up, hold them tight, and protect them from the world. But, it is the nature of children to grow up, become adults, and have children of their own (and in case you aren’t yet there, grandchildren are the BEST!).
Once you find yourself in the phase of life with adult children and grandchildren, you can no longer safeguard your babies from everything because they are no longer babies. Take my advice–while your children are young, wrap them up in the protective bonds of family, proven to be the best prevention for risky behaviors.
We are all busy so make the best of the limited time you have. The Discovery Family Adventures are fun, fast, flexible, and free. The Teaching Important Parenting Strategies (TIPS) that are built in make interactive, deliberate parenting effortless.
Show your children you love them. Give them experiences that will protect them for adulthood, parenthood, and beyond. Give them something they can pass down to those grandbabies.
One for the Money
Two for the Show
Three to get Ready
Four to go
This past week I began listening to Every Day Millionaire by Chris Hogan, a book my daughter recommended from her Finance class. In it, Hogan corrects some myths many believe make a millionaire. Using the old nursery rhyme, here is a little something I have taken from what he said:
One for the Money
Money is a tool, not the means, to becoming financially successful. DISCIPLINE and CONSISTENCY are the key ingredients.
Two for the Show
The purpose of having money is not showing off what you have. Money is for spending wisely on your needs, not trying to keep up with the neighbors.
Stay out of debt. Don’t get loans.
Three to get Ready
Hogan says, “We are only young once, but we are also only old once.” Preparing for the future starts today. You do this by saving wisely and not spending everything you get.
These are some other things to remember:
1. Take advantage of any matching funds your employer offers.
2. Most people don't earn their money by taking high-risk investments; most people lose money by taking risks.
3. Know what your net worth is. Take all your assets and add them up. Being a millionaire does not mean you have millions in the bank.
Four to Go
Know what you want when you are 50. Do you picture yourself working, or spending time with your family and doing things for others? Make a plan and set some financial goals. Having a plan makes it possible to reach your destination.
The next book I plan to read is The Cheapskate Next Door by Jeff Yeager.
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