Being organized is something we agree we should do, promise ourselves we'll start doing each and every December 31st (or next Monday, or when school starts, or when the stars align, or when the pigs are flying). But why? Why be organized? If we dig deep and think about how being organized makes us feel, how it changes how we talk to ourselves and how we talk to our children or our partners, we find a well of inspiration and energy. Once we get started (the hardest part), energy and motivation magically builds on itself as our closets become tidier our meals start planning themselves, and the car is always gassed up.
What happens when we get organized? Here's what you can expect:
Cuts down on friction: Ever notice when you are early for something there is no traffic? When you are late for something everything goes wrong? I don't know about you, but I'm a blamer, under stress I start hurling blame, shame and pain at anyone and everyone. My poor family. If time is managed more effectively there are not as many angry triggers. I act and speak more respectfully to everyone (including myself). If I get gas every Thursday, no matter what the gauge says - well then every Saturday I'm ready to drive to soccer practice, no checking, no panicking, no pushing the limit, no looking frantically for a credit card, no swear words as I pass a long line at the pump on the way to the field Saturday morning.
Let's your core values shine through: If a core value is education we create a homework area where supplies, papers, laptops and books can be kept. We organize it regularly. We are consistently plucking out the comic books, the Chipotle receipts and the general crap that inevitably, naturally and habitually creeps in. We right size our kids extra curricular activities and social life to accommodate down time before homework and ample down time after homework to be ready for sleep. We are consistent about family quiet time in the evening to set the scene for quiet and thinking endeavors. We model reading and learning and planning ourselves.
Changes your brain: Routines change your brain. Once you have routinized something your brain does not have to put much effort into completing the task. Think about diapering a baby. I don't know about you, but day one diapering my baby took 20 minutes and a lot of thought. By day 512 I could diaper my baby, while issuing orders to my toddler, all while talking to my sister on the phone. No sweat. That's the power of routine. Routines work best when you start building one by one and at the top of the list are things you do EVERY day. When a routine is lodged in your brain it overpowers your fleeting thoughts and feelings of, "I don't feel like it, I'll wait until later" and you find yourself making your bed without even thinking about it.
Helps during stressful times: When you swipe and swish your bathroom every day (now that's just taking a damp rag and running it over your bathroom, it's NOT getting out cleaners or sponges or scrubbers or toilet bowl cleaner) - then when someone gets the stomach flu they can pray to the porcelain god without being grossed out by icky gross bathroom stuff. A surprise guest can use the bathroom without you elbowing them on the way up the stairs to be sure it's all flushed and yuck free. Best of all, you get to use a fresh-ish, hotel-ish, clutter free-ish bathroom every day, every SINGLE day. You deserve it!
It's Fun! With the right attitude, some practice, and some peppy music, a reasonable time limit and enough trash bags - organizing is fun. It really is. It's also a strangely satisfying endeavor -- think of organizing as a cheap thrill for your brain and eyes.