Simplified Organization for 5 Chaotic Areas

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Organization isn’t my natural gift and I also tend to over-complicate things.  Yet here I am, writing about simplified organization.  I’ve read many books and blogs about how to organize. I interview my most organized friends to find out their secrets.  It’s still very much a mystery to me.  But I’ve decided to start small by just taking a couple areas in my home to tackle and keep perfectly (not perfect) organized and/or clear from clutter and debris.  

I don’t know one single person on this planet who has never declared that they are going to get themselves more organized in some way or another.  I, myself, have made this declaration approximately 400 billion times.  What usually happens is that I stand in a room surveying the hot mess that surrounds me, feel a bit of anxiety over the whole situation because I don’t know where or how to begin, wonder what the point even is, walk away, and never get organized.  Oh, and don’t forget how I lose my blessed mind at my family as if the whole thing is their fault and their fault alone.  

I typically don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I had this recent A-HA moment that just so happens to coincide with the New Year, so I thought this would be a good time to share it.  Yes, I still want to get organized. But instead of trying to fix it all at once, I have recognized a few common areas where chaos tends to overtake me and will just manage those areas as best as I can for now.   

We all have those chaotic spaces where junk and who-knows-what just tends to collect.  For me it’s the following 5 places: 

  • My purse 
  • Minivan
  • Dining room table 
  • Bedroom dresser
  • Top of dog’s kennel

Having these areas identified has helped me to see things in a more manageable light rather than looking at the whole entire house.  Sure, there are other areas that are in serious need of life-altering organizing (I’m looking at you, garage), but I can’t think about that right now.  The garage is expert level organizer and I’m not there yet.  Right now, I feel like if I can keep my five areas under control for however many weeks it takes to create a habit, then I can add on more areas as I need to.   

Here are some of the general guidelines that I’ve established for myself for each area:

My Purse – I started off with a brand new purse.  Oh, and it’s super cute, by the way.  A little Vera Bradley number with some coordinating extras, like a wallet, makeup bag, and a side-body pouch that holds what I need and can easily grab to “just run into the store really fast.”  The most important thing that is mission critical to maintaining pristine organization in my beautiful bag is NO RECEIPTS and NO SNACKS! I’m fairly certain that in all my other purses, the receipts were multiplying like rabbits. My new rule is that I will not stuff receipts in my purse and if it’s one that I need to keep, I’ll ask the store clerk to put it in the bag of items rather than taking it myself.  When I get home and put away whatever I bought, receipts go in an accordion folder. As for snacks that turn into crumbs that will never come out of the deep recesses of my bag, my children have backpacks and they are now required to carry their own junk. This has been working remarkably well.  Check back in two weeks. 

  

Minivan – I have been the proud owner of my minivan for 1.5 years. It’s the very first brand new car I’ve ever owned. I love that big lady. When we drove it off the lot, I declared that she shall remain looking as clean and lovely for all her days. I’ve made a solid effort each and every day to take out what comes in.  I use one of those Rubbermaid cereal containers for garbage and keep a catch-all basket in the back seat for catching all the things.  I’m also kind of hard core towards my children to get all their stuff out when we get home.  Some days/weeks are better than others, but surprisingly, keeping my minivan clean has been an actual thing.  

Dining Room Table – If I blink, it’s out of control and buried under a mountain of stuff.  Papers, backpacks, Amazon boxes (don’t judge), laundry, overdue library books, dinosaur figurines, coloring projects & crayons… These are the more common items found on my dining room table.  It takes real effort to keep stuff from piling up on the dining room table.  I find it’s a matter of assigning a home for things and making sure they go home.  ALL DAY. EVERY DAY.  

Bedroom Dresser –it’s the same as the dining room table, but with a borderline hoarder level collection of earrings, coffee mugs, my son’s rock collection, and whatever my husband pulls out of his pocket at the end of the day.  Please send me all practical solutions to organize/store/display earrings and pray for my patience as I continue teach my husband not to leave his pocket garbage dump on top of our bedroom dresser.

   

Top of the dog’s kennel – I don’t know it happened, but our poor yellow lab’s kennel has become the #1 place for all things to pile up on. I’m working on it, ok!  It’s just that life is hard and I need someplace to put the stuff from the dining room table when we want to eat there.   

Those are my 5 areas I’ve committed to keeping organized as best as I can.  And isn’t that the most important part to remember? We tell our children to just do the best they can but how often do we tell ourselves that’s all we need to do?  For now, the best I can do is manage these five areas.  I’ve found so much grace in this revelation.  I don’t claim to be the next Marie Kondo or as eloquent as Emily Ley.  This is just my own simple way of staying ahead of all the chaos that life can so quickly stir up.  

Do you have areas in your house you’ve identified as clutter magnets?  I’d love to hear what they are.  Happy New Year, Scottsdale Moms! 

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