I recently realized that there is a big difference between “neat” and “organized.”
When I simply make a space neat, it becomes messy very quickly.
When I make a space organized, it stays neat much more easily and for a much longer period of time.
Organizing a space takes more work, but it pays off in the long run.
How To Organize
So, how do we make things organized? Here are a few tips from a “creative-person-who-is-trying-to-be-a-type-a-organized-person.”
1. Study the space. Let the space get all junky and then study it. What is the space meant for? Do you use it the way it’s meant to be used? If not, what do you use it for? How do you WANT to use it?
Be honest. The easiest thing to do is organize the way your currently use the space.
For example, we had some bookshelves in our dining room where the kids kept their art stuff. I wanted it to be neat and tidy looking but…it wasn’t.
It was pretty messy because the girls never put the construction paper back in color coded order. They never alphabetized the art books or made sure the crayon boxes all faced the same direction. Seriously, where do they get off?
Ok. Yeah…I never did either.
So, since we didn’t organize the contents of the space to make it look neat, I needed to come up with another solution to avoid the cluttered look.
What did I do? I bought cabinets with doors. Now we just “stuff and shove.”
(Not really. Ok…yeah…sometimes.)
Where was I?
Instead of trying to make the space work and keep it neat all the time, the first thing I did was admit that it’s not going to be a neat enough space to leave out in the open. Sad, but true. Admitting I wasn’t Martha Stewart was the first step towards my success.
Let’s move on.
2. Give Everything A Home. I looked at all the stuff we kept in our “art center” and noted how we used it.
I bought trays for the construction paper, pencil boxes for the markers/pencils/paint, and more trays for the coloring books.
I also made little boxes for each child filled with crayons, scissors, glue and tape. That way, they just need to grab paper and their box for just about any craft they want to do.
3. Label. Label. Label. Then, here’s the key, I LABELED each box. That way, the kids always know where things go, they never argue about which box is theirs and there is never a question about the contents of any of the boxes.
Now, I rarely have to clean the art center. Everything has a home. The kids know where that home is, and should anything be out of order….we. just. close. the. doors.
I’ve used the neat vs. organized idea with lots of things. My computer hard drive. The myriad of cables to all my techie gadgets. Our coat closet filled with hats, gloves, scarves etc. My cabinets. My iPhone.
My house isn’t perfect, but it’s also not a pit. That’s cool with me.
What is an organizing tip you’ve learned lately? Click here to comment.
(FYI-This post was originally posted on my old personal blog back in the cave-man days of 2008.)Leave a Comment