Set Up Good Systems & Embrace Imperfection
I was a student of organization during the last two decades of the twentieth century. I struggled as many of you do with clutter and chaos. I read books, tried new techniques, enjoyed a few successes and learned how NOT to do things. I declared myself to be officially organized in 1998. My children were 21, 18 and 11 at the time of my “graduation.” Here are some of the things I wish I had known.
Systems are Powerful
I wish I had understood the power of systems when my sons were younger. Systems help us to be consistent and to develop routines that seem to run on auto pilot. I began implementing systems in the late 1980’s, and by the turn of the century I had mastered several. My daughter, the youngest, was the benefactor of these systems. Here are three of my favorite systems.
Toy Rotation – Keep a few toys available and pack the others away. When interest wanes bring out the “new” old toys and pack away the others.
Meal Planning – Menus can be rotated too. In 1988 I read a book that described a systemized meal planning tool. This tool involved writing menu plans on 3×5 index cards. You rotated the cards which made deciding what to cook for dinner easy. There are web based services available today that do the same thing.
Laundry – I spent years doing laundry the way that my Mother did it. I sorted all the dirty laundry by color which resulted in more work than was necessary. My system changed when I broke my wrist. I have an entire blog post about this system.
Perfectionism is Crippling
I was crippled by the need to do things perfectly. If I didn’t have time to do things perfectly, I didn’t do them all. Now that my children are grown and I am much older – and, hopefully, wiser – I understand that some things just need to get imperfectly done. If you embrace imperfection, you can get things done and then go spend time connecting and building memories with your children.
Karen Sprinkle is the mother of three grown children and a professional organizer based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her company is called Organize it Data, Time and Space. If you need help organizing and are interested in speaking with Karen you can find her on her web site, Facebook and Twitter.
We Have a New Contributor!
I met Karen when I was working on story for the newspaper and needed to speak with a expert. She was a pleasure to work with, and she is an experienced mom and entrepreneur I respect. She is a life-long learner who knows SO many things that would be helpful to us, so I am pleased to announce Karen Sprinkle as a new contributor to TheMommyhood.com.
If you could have help organizing one area of your home or life, what would it be?