In my book, Secrets of an Organized Mom, I compare the lives of mothers to one big game of Whac-a-Mole. Just when we’ve smacked down one problem or responsibility, another one pokes up its stubborn head. Let’s face it; life as a mother is inevitably unpredictable. Just when we think we have everything under control, a child breaks a leg, a partner gets a new job (in another state), or a roof springs a leak. So much rests on our shoulders that it’s easy to see why we’re all running on a treadmill to stay still. It’s a classic catch 22. If we could just find the time to get organized, life would be calm and peaceful. But life is never calm and peaceful, so there’s never time to get organized.
Moms often ask me for the single organizing tip that will make the biggest difference in their lives. In Secrets of An Organized Mom, I talk about the “Ten Commandments of Organizing”. Although all of these commandments are important, there are three tips that, taken together, can help busy moms conquer the organizational challenge once and for all.
Routines work. If you always put your cell phone in the same pocket of your purse, you’ll always know where it is when it’s ringing. If you always put the bills in the same place, you won’t lose any bills. If you always take medication at the same time in the same place, you won’t forget to take it. When things are done the same way every time, the behavior becomes rote. You don’t have to think about what you’re doing. This is the fool-proof way to avoid misplacing anything or forgetting anything again.
Group like things together, and designate a place for everything. This is the only way to know how much of something you have and when you need more. You’ll also always know exactly where to find what you’re looking for. This applies to everything in your house, from black sweaters to magic markers to batteries. This will help you avoid having too much of one thing and not enough of what you really need!
Store things where you use them. Keep school supplies where your kids do their homework, keep your reading glasses next to your bed where you read at night, and keep tote bags in the closet where you store sports equipment. It’s easy and convenient!