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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Get organized in chewable chunks

  • If you hate getting organized, stop trying to be Martha Stewart and instead try one of these quick tips to jumpstart change.

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  • If you hate getting organized, stop trying to be Martha Stewart and instead try one of these quick tips to jumpstart change: accept some chaos, bit off chewable chunks and forget the lists.
    1. Accept some chaos. Understand that no matter how many great tips or fabulous formulas you use, if you have a family, there will be a mess. It doesn’t mean you have to accept it everywhere, but simply try not to stress when the garage is untidy again (think post-Scout camp). Or when your children don’t remember their dishwasher day again (every Monday and Tuesday). Or that the boys’ bathroom continually smells like, well, a boys’ bathroom (again and again and again…).
    2. Bite off chewable chunks. You don’t need endless hours to complete a task, but you do have to be content with a little here, a little there. At one time my goal was to de-clutter the kitchen cabinets. I completed one whopping drawer — a day.
    Can someone say "excruciating"?
    But that’s all I could do with my baby and the rest of the family’s schedule. However, it paid off. Shortly after that, at the last minute, the kids wanted to make s’mores, and in a moment I was able to quickly say, “The crackers are up above the fridge, the candy bars and marshmallows are in the kids’ cabinet, and the metal skewers are in the bottom specialty drawer.”
    Can someone say "organized mother moment" (that no one appreciated but me)?
    3. Stop making so many lists. I could probably start a support group on this. My BFF is generally a large sticky pad in a bright color. Very sad. So a while back I had an epiphany: Stop rewriting the same things and, like Nike, just do them. So I did. I made one list for the week, then went through it daily. When something new needed to be added, I opted first to just do it. It was utterly amazing how many of the “yucky” things (i.e., filing, sorting, tracking) I got done that usually got bumped to the next week’s list.
    This works for quick cleaning, too. One day I noticed that the silverware tray was full of crumbs. I went to write it down, then realized that it would take me almost as long to empty the silverware, wipe out the tray, and put it back in. Within minutes it was done and I avoided an additional “to do” pulsating in the background. So next time you’re tempted to write something down, ask yourself: Can it be done now?
    Remember, getting organized isn’t about white-knuckling your way through several months of work, and then breathing a sigh of relief. It’s changing a little here, a little there, and making it work for you.
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