Getting Organized in the New Year

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By Gienie Assink, Springfield Oregon

Organization is the key to having a productive and happy family life.  Once family members are organized, life becomes easier, in terms of knowing what to expect and who is responsible for what.

The environment in the home becomes less frantic and stressful as well.  Simple organization will also lead to free time, which is a family’s most precious commodity these days.

So how do you become organized? 

The first step in organizing is to have a family discussion.  Ask yourself, “If this is how we want it to be—how will it be?  How would we live?”  Answering these questions will help you and your family set goals.Organizing is a five step process. 

First, design your vision. Then eliminate excuses.  Commit your time, select your tools, and, finally, maintain your success, by recognizing what works and what doesn’t work.

Once your goals are set, a little time investment would pay off in the long run.  Remember your training your child to be a self-sufficient adult.

Here are some suggestions to help your family become more organized.

1)  Take time to create a master shopping list.  List all the items you normally purchase, then train family members to check off the items as they run out.  Then take the checklist with you when shopping.

2)  The old rule—A place for everything, and everything in its place—is actually the best method of quality control for a busy family.  This should be automatic.  Once something is used, it returns to its place.  This will save time searching for the item later as well as maintain a peaceful environment.

3)  Whenever possible do things the night before.  Set the table for breakfast.  Make lunches and plan the children’s wardrobes before going to bed.  Older children can help make sandwiches or select their clothes, hanging them on a hook on the back of the door for your inspection.

And the number one problem to organization in any home is paper clutter. 

Managing paper has to be a priority.  Every family should have a home office for managing the business of life.  This must include a filing system that will allow family members to find things in five seconds or less. 

The office doesn’t need to be a separate room, but it is essential to make space to keep things organized.  If you don’t, paper could easily take over the house.

Statistics show it takes 21 days to form a habit.  So choose a chore (like making the bed before leaving the bedroom) or a rule (like putting the keys in the same place every time) and make some family-friendly habits this year.

Don’t forget the overall goal is to have more intimate time with your family.  So make sure whatever your doing to get organized, it allows you to have fun, and be with the ones you love. 

Good Luck!