Having a “Place for Everything” Doesn’t Keep You Organized!
Years ago, when I was getting rid of clutter and trying to get our home organized, the quote “have a place for everything and everything in its place” was the only organizing advice I could find. So, it became my motto.
Our family had grown quickly: at age 21, I had our first child. When she was in kindergarten, our fourth child was born. Baby clothes, cloth diapers, toddler toys, Big Wheels, puzzles, dolls and trucks filled each room—and the garage, which also included the baby carriage, folding stroller, picnic basket, pool toys, soccer balls, and bikes with training wheels.
At first, I believed that if I could just buy enough bookshelves, cupboards, dressers and file cabinets, my organizing dilemmas would be solved. I would have “a place for everything!”
I dreamed of being able to line the walls in the garage and family room with built in shelves and cupboards and drawers.
Thank goodness I couldn’t afford built-ins—because more storage wasn’t what I needed!
I Needed Systems!
At a parenting conference I found a brochure about organizing that explained systems, and I began to realize that I lacked a system for all my routine tasks:
- cleaning the house
- washing the diapers
- tidying up toys
- preparing meals
The biggest reason why my home was chaotic: I didn’t have a system for any of these routine tasks. Before children, I’d been able to get everything done in my own meandering “when-I-feel-like-it” way. But when my life got crazy-busy, that didn’t work. After a sleepless night up with a sick baby, coming downstairs to dirty dinner dishes and a toy-strewn kitchen, with unfolded laundry on the table was a depressing start to my day.
The Business Dictionary defines a System as “a set of detailed methods, procedures and routines created to carry out a specific activity, perform a duty, or solve a problem.” I needed to start thinking of running my household like a business, with a system for each activity.
If you want to learn more about creating systems, stay tuned for more of my of Blog posts and make sure you’re signed up for my email newsletter. I’ll be covering systems each week during the month of May!