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It may sound soul- draining, but it’s just the opposite. A little organization will help your life to spin more easily on all fronts.
By Laurie Palau
I get ths all the time: “My house is filled with clutter, but I’m so organized at work.”
It doesn’t surprise me. For a system to run smoothly and effectively, there are processes that need to be followed. That template is easy enough to appreciate in an office, but it tends to get overlooked at home.
Avoid these three pitfalls and you’ll start living a more organized life all the way around.
Accountability. At work, the lines of accountability are clearly defined. So, too, are the consequences. And while you can’t fire anyone from your family—though, you may sometimes wish that you could—, establishing some accountability benchmarks will help keep order in your home and allow it to run more smoothly. Appoint, for example, the last one out the door in the morning to make sure the dishwasher is loaded and the first one home to unload it. That way, someone other than you will care whether the sink is stacked with dirty dishes.
Responsibility. Trying to do everything yourself, whether at home or the office, may be a viable solution in the short term. Beyond that, you’re positioning yourself square in the middle of a fairly dramatic implosion. Your way may be the best way, but delegating responsibilities is the only sustainable way, for the wellbeing of your home life and your mental state. Kids are never too young for chores. And aside from lending you a helping hand, basic, consistent tasks, like making their beds, feeding the dog and setting or clearing the table, give them a better understanding of the work that’s involved in maintaining a household and help empower them by giving them a stake in it.
Maintenance. Getting organized isn’t the issue for most. It’s staying organized. Hanging up a jacket, putting away a backpack, tossing dirty clothes in the hamper, on their own, in the moment, they’re quick, mindless acts. But, left to accumulate—which they’ll do very quickly—, they’ll morph into one massive time- and energy-suck. You’re tired at the end of the day, naturally. But if you take just a moment to hang your keys, miraculously, they’ll be there when you’re rushing out the door tomorrow morning—on time, no doubt.
Give your home the same respect you do your work and office and you’ll find that they’ll start complementing each other. In making your home an equal priority, and keeping away from these traps, it’ll become less of a burden, not more of one.
Lil’ Help Here!
Before my kids were old enough to speak in sentences, I was teaching them to organize.
If you’re feeling like Cinderella in your own home, don’t fret. Help is on the way. To ease you into delegation, here’s a list of household responsibilities categorized by the ages for which they’re appropriate. —LP
Toddlers: Clean up toys, books and blocks
Preschool: Organize arts and crafts materials, Legos, Barbies and action figures
Elementary school: Help set the table, clear their plates, make their beds and help put away laundry
Middle school: Help do the laundry, empty the dishwasher and general household chores
High school: Everything goes