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!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Staying Organized; it's all about Maintenance

In our efforts to organize our living spaces and our lives there is one huge factor that I think many of us overlook. Maintenance. You just have to do things all the time to keep up with life. "A stitch in time saves nine" is an old adage that is still true today. Maintenance is my downfall.

I can clean up and de-junk and organize a space and make it look great. But the problem has always been keeping it that way. The day in and day out nitty gritty details and routine, boring tasks. There are so many other things I'd rather be doing, like painting or writing an article or blog post, working in my garden.

One thing that has been of great help along my journey from CHAOS to Organized is making a task list. Each morning when I get up I make a list of things I need to do that day and as I do them I cross them off. Marla Scilly, aka The Fly Lady suggests you can do this by writing out a list of routine tasks to do in the morning, afternoon and before bed time and putting your list in a plastic sleeve protector. Then you can use a dry erase marker to cross each one off. That didn't really seem to work for me. It just became part of the landscape clutter on the refrigerator.

Now I belong to the Fly Lady Forums over at Blog Talk Radio. I have my own thread there and write my list in my thread, using the edit function I can go back during the day and cross off the things I've done. I think the reason this works for me is because of the interaction from other forum members. They give suggestions, commiserate when you having a bad time and cheer you on when you have accomplished something difficult. But I'm thinking I might like to try that little magnetized white board. And if it doesn't work for my task list I could use it for making other notes or a grocery list.

Fly Lady  also teaches us about routines. To have a simple short list of things to do every morning, afternoon and evening. Mine vary depending on season of the year and whether I have to work or not. Fly Lady says our before bedtime routine is the most important, because that is the time you can do some things that will help the next morning run smoothly.

Consider doing some of these tasks before you go to bed at night and see if that doesn't help your morning get off to a better start;
  • Shine your sink. Yeah, sounds crazy, but if you wash up your dishes and clean your sink before you go to bed, it will make  you feel amazing in the morning. Besides, who wants to wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes?
  • Lay out your clothes. This is especially important if you work outside the home and need to look really good for your job. (I get to wear jeans and t-shirts on mine, so I usually skip this one) Pick out your outfit and set it up with your shoes, socks/hose, jewelry, etc. If you do this early in the afternoon or evening then you have time to wash and dry or iron things that you need, instead of running around crazy in the morning because you can't find a clean thing to wear.
  • Prepare for tomorrow. Have launch pad by your door, a place to set all of the things you are going to need when you leave the house in the morning, purse, keys, water bottle, lunch box, library books, mail, grocery list & coupons. Whatever you are doing, put all the pieces and parts in one place so you can scoop it up on your way out.
  • Go to bed at a decent hour.  Getting enough rest is important to your health. Waking up refreshed and energized is a wonderful start to your day. Waking up tired and crabby isn't going to make any body feel good, especially your kids, spouse and co-workers! It just makes for a bad day all the way around.
Think about your life, family, house, work situations and what you can do ahead of time to make things run smoother.  I know if I had been paying attention and doing more maintenance projects around my place, I would not have had mud and water in my kitchen. Now I have to spend a lot of extra time cleaning up the mess and trying to get back to normal. But I'm putting a note on my calender for every month to go check the ditch!

 In the meantime making slow progress on the porch. Before it got too hot I went out and scooped up some of the mud. When the remains dry off a bit more I'll try to sweep and vacuum up some more of it.

If you look close you can see the high water mark on the far wall, exactly 3 inches. The only reason I didn't have more water farther into the kitchen is because the floor is not even, it goes uphill from the back door.

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