Are you living in what Marla Scilly, aka The Fly Lady, calls CHAOS? (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). Well then, join the club there are thousands, perhaps even millions of us!

I have struggled with organization in almost every area of my life for, well, my entire life. By starting this blog I hope to encourage others that they too can get and stay organized!

While it will probably embarrass my children for me to air the dirty laundry here, in full color photos, if it helps just one person along their own journey to getting organized and staying that way, it will have been worth it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Little by Little

Some of you might be overwhelmed by the state of your life and home. We all have so many things on our plates these days it is hard to keep up. For those of you just starting your journey from CHAOS to Organized I have a couple of things that might help you out.

I've learned along the way that much of what's cluttering up the house is 1) stuff that ought to be done every day that I procrastinate over 2) things I brought home but they didn't have a place to live so just got set down anywhere and 3) things that have been here awhile but that I no longer need, want or love.

Now #2 and #3 are actually related. You just have way too much stuff in your house! And since you can't find what you are looking for in the mess you have actually gone out and bought another one! The cure for this is easy. Take just 15 minutes every day and declutter. Fly Lady (Marla Cilly) teaches us to just focus on one small area at a time, so we don't get overwhelmed. Just work on one shelf, drawer or box at a time. Have some boxes handy that you have labeled, KEEP, DONATE, PUT AWAY and a trash bag.

First, set your timer for 15 minutes. As you sort through a pile, box, shelf or drawer, look at each thing. Do you LOVE it? Do you REALLY NEED it? If the answer is NO and it's still good, then put it in the donate box. If the answer is yes, then put it in the KEEP box. If it is something that is just lurking where it does not belong, then put it in the PUT AWAY box. And of course you know what to do with the garbage!

Now, when the timer goes off, first, take that DONATE box straight out to the car and put a stop at the thrift store on your list of errands. (please note: At this point in the process,  you are NOT allowed to go into the thrift shop! This will help keep temptation at bay). Next, decide what to do with the things that are in the KEEP box. I use the KEEP box for those things that I want to keep, but am not quite ready to deal with just yet, like photos for a scrapbook or a crafts project I have in mind. In that case I stash them in my craft area, you will have to decide what to do with what you have in your KEEP box. But try and get it out of your main living space for the time being.

Next go and put away all that stuff in  your PUT AWAY box. I'm sure, especially if you have small children, that you will find all kinds of things that are not where they belong! Dirty socks, spare change, crayons and papers, partially eaten food, fruit pits, candy wrappers, shoes, underwear and other clothing, toys of every description are some of the things I used to find hidden around the house when my kids were little.

Now 15 minutes does not sound like a very long time and in the grand scheme of things it is but the blink of an eye. However, you can get a great deal done in this amount of time, much more than you will ever think you can do. Now sometimes the area you are working on is very visible and your 15 minute session will have a major visible impact on the area. Other times it may take several 15 minute sessions to make a noticeable difference. Just keep going, because every little bit helps!

We'll talk about #1, all those ordinary, routine tasks we should be doing every day another time. For now I'll leave with this.

Here is looking out my back door onto my patio. I worked there a little while last evening cleaning up the mud.

But there is a long way to go before I can call the patio 'cleaned up'! So I will just continue to work on it, 15 minutes at a time and soon it will be done. Then I can work on making it look even nicer and become an outdoor room for eating, B-B-Qs and other activities.


  1. NOT allowed to go in the thrift shop? Oh my!

  2. Oh yes, I can hear the pain of withdrawal from here! LoL! The ban is not forever, it's just until you are getting your act together and you have made enough progress to be able to curb your impulse buying. ;-)