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
Where did all the money go?
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.
My twin daughters are in a kickboxing class at the local community college and this video was assigned to them as homework. It struck me as so simple that it is well worth the couple of minutes to review information we likely are already aware of but need continual reminders about. Moms, this is what we do -- we are the reminders, the repeaters, the consistent, kind, and friendly reviewers and encouragers!
From the YouTube Description:
Wellness means overall well-being. It includes the emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. Incorporating aspects of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, such as choosing healthy foods, forming strong relationships, and exercising often, into everyday habits can help people live longer and improve quality of life. The Eight Dimensions of Wellness may also help people better manage their condition and experience recovery. This short animated video explores the Eight Dimensions of Wellness and helps people understand the practical strategies and ways they can begin developing healthy habits that can have a positive impact on their physical and mental health. To learn more about SAMHSA’s Wellness Initiative, click here.
Excuse this House
Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there.
Ours boasts it quiet openly,
The signs are everywhere...
For smears on the windows,
Little smudges on the doors.
I should apologize, I guess,
For toys strewn on the floor.
But I sat down with the children,
And we played and laughed and read,
And if the doorbell doesn’t shine,
Their eyes will shine instead.
For when at times I'm forced to choose:
The one job or the other,
I’d like to cook, and clean, and scrub...
But first I’ll be a MOTHER.
Is Time Really Money??
If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,000 ----
That carried over no balance from day to day...
Allowed you to keep no cash in your account...
And every evening, it canceled whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day...
What would you do??
Draw out every cent every day, of course, and use it to your advantage!
Well, you have such a bank----and its name is "TIME."
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.
Every night, it rules off as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.
It carries over no balances.
It allows no overdrafts.
Each day, it opens a new account with you.
Each night, it burns the records of the day.
If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours.
There is no going back.
There is no drawing against the "Tomorrow."
It is up to each of us to invest the precious fund of hours, minutes and seconds in order to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success!
The above is a quote I've had since high school and it has often influenced my decisions of how to spend my time. I used to think that sleep was a waste of time, until I realized that getting enough sleep helped me use the awake time more efficiently, plus it contributed to my health.
Due to this quote's message, I rarely watch television or get stuck in the rabbit hole of social media. I choose mindfully how much and which media to intake.
A few years ago, my brother died suddenly, with no warning, and that unexpected death taught me that procrastinating might mean I never have a chance to do what I really want to do!! So I learned that it's not just a matter of filling my time... instead, I invest my time and spend it on the people and projects that are most important to me!
I've figured out that I can't do everything, so I want to make sure that what I am doing is based on my priorities: People first (they have feelings!). Projects second. And the unimportant things are what go undone. What's unimportant to me (like cleaning out the kitchen sink everyday) might be important to someone else (like my mom), but we have to respect each other's usage of time!
Because I try to live according to this philosophy, I don't feel bad or guilty about taking down time when my body and spirit send the signal for it. I just relax, knowing I've made good use of my time, and that giving myself a break is important, too!
April 12th, 2021
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.
By Grant Colfax Tullar
What does self-reliance mean to you?
Written by Leigha Westover, Co-Founder of Momivate and Director of Income & Outgo
What does Self Reliance mean to you?
Please take a moment to ponder the meaning of Self Reliance.
Webster's dictionary states that self reliance is reliance on one's own efforts and abilities.
If we are to take this into account then I am not very self reliant -- I need the aid of others to provide my clothes, food, and shelter. In our society we have prospered by using our personal efforts and abilities to share and provide for others’ needs, as they also do for us. In exchange for the services rendered, we use the value of currency
As a child I learned to work and contribute in our home while my father went to work to provide for our needs. As I progressed in years, my desire to become more independent increased. I secured a job in a delicatessen as a part time server, so I was able to provide for some of the increased desires of a teenager, such as entertainment.
Approaching my young adult years I continued to thrive, and advanced to being able to purchase a car and move into an apartment with other young adults. My understanding of finance was just to meet the basics and get by. As I was learning and growing socially, spiritually, and mentally, I did not increase my understanding of providing beyond what I needed.
I continued to live by the basic principles of earning just enough to get by for the first 25 years of marriage. We struggled, trying to get ahead financially and we never got there. We always had barely enough for us and sometimes not even that. My underdeveloped outlook on budgeting limited my family. Occasionally I would stretch out my faith to believe there would be enough when the kids wanted to invite a friend to eat with us. And there alway was even when I lacked faith and said no.
As you seek to understand what self reliance means for you in your life, you may discover that you have more learning to do. Identify principles -- statements of truth -- you can try to apply to your daily life.
Some principles to consider
Pay the Lord first (tithing and/or donations), then pay yourself (savings), then SPEND WISELY.
Build up the self-discipline necessary to live according to your budget.
Be willing to sacrifice for the sake of stability.
Less really can be more. Simplify! Embrace the concept of ENOUGH.
Get out of debt and save to purchase what you want.
Money is not a god worthy of our worship. Trust in financial good karma!
It may not always be money you will be blessed with. It may be as simple as creating a revolving closet in your home or extra food in your garden, etc. As you are blessed with plenty, bless others with it as well. We do not need to hold on when others' burdens can be lighter.
Work together to make things work: Value ALL the work necessary to make a family successful, whether or not it brings in financial income.
In the Bible, we read “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). I believe that if our desire is to do good continually to comfort, strengthen and clothe our neighbor (love them!), we must budget wisely, and then when we are blessed with excess, we can pass it on to others.
Our Team of CouncilMoms take turns submitting blog posts in each area of the RAISE UP acronym. Guest authors are encouraged to submit their blog posts as well (CONTACT US for more info! Thank you!)
Join our Momunity!
Provide your email address or texting number and we'll alert you to new posts!