October Organizing Tips

They say Rome wasn't built in a day. The same is true for organizing. If you've been following along our months since the beginning of the year, you've gone through several areas of your home and applied principles of the Flexible Structure Method™ to getting organized.

But the work isn't done. There's no magic finish line in organizing, because once you get organized you have to maintain the system you created. So this month, review the areas you've already organized and let's look at some ways to keep the maintenance going:

  • Analyze: What is working? As you go back through your briefcase/purse, closets, bedrooms, car, dining room and kitchen, examine where things have begun to pile up. Ask yourself:
    • Why are those things there?
    • Where did they come from?
    • Where do they belong, or what home did you assign them when organizing that space?
  • The biggest challenge of maintaining your system is to make sure you are resetting your habits. Those items out of place might be there because you struggle to put your things away each day. If so, think about your natural habits.
    • If that home isn't very convenient, is there another logical place to keep the item that works better for you?
    • Would the home benefit from a label to remind you?
    • When you walk in the door each day, what are you holding and where do you put those items?
  • Set up regular maintenance times so that they become a habit, too. Once you've implemented a system, it really does only take a few minutes a day to put things back in their homes.
    • Take five minutes per day to straighten up one room and rotate the rooms throughout the week. If you stick with the five minutes, you'll prevent the clutter from building up to the point where you need to do another big overhaul organizing day. This five minutes might become part of your routine before bed: Straighten up one room, turn off the lights, set the dishwasher, turn on the coffee pot timer for the morning, brush your teeth and so on.
    • Once a week, do a bigger run-through of the house. Think of it like a "reset" button at the end of one week so that the following week can start fresh. This might be part of your cleaning routine, and family members can be enlisted to help.
  • Don't forget to adhere to the boundaries you created. Maybe the toy bin is overflowing or the "to sort" mail tray is full. Be sure to take some time to go through those areas.
  • Once of the other big components we talked about is choices. When you are out shopping, do you find yourself buying things that aren't on your list? Are you shopping for things online? Are you choosing to sort through your mail each day or every two days? How can you make smart choices to make sure the items in your space are flowing properly?

Bonus tip:

  • We can't all snap our fingers like Mary Poppins to pick up, but we can make it more fun. Listen to music or your favorite podcast or audio book while tidying up each day or each week. Use a song as your five-minute timer and try to finish before the song is over. Have your kids race to see who can tidy up his/her room the fastest -- without shoving everything under the bed.