Help Organize Yourself Or Someone You love
I read someplace if wealth were determined by the amount of paper you had in your possession you would be wealthy. How true. In the first 5 years of our marriage we moved five times. You get tired of moving stuff. Upset when you move something you should have purged. The key is to get good at donating to friends, charity and trash.
Eventually we began to stay longer. When we were in the same place for six years I pretended we were moving every so often, going through the house eliminating unused or unneeded items. Somehow there was a yearning to get rid of more.
Rules to this game:
- You cannot throw out other peoples belongings without their consent.
- You must teach any children in the home when something comes in, something must go out.
- You must investigate all pockets and open all boxes to inspect contents before purging.
Living in married students housing with nine hundred square feet to store four bicycles, skis, baby stuff and books was tight. Being poor college students was self limiting.
The next move was to a house that was twelve hundred square feet, with an attached garage that was eight hundred square feet. Oh heavenly delight. The bicycles had their own snug home in the garage. They were out of the house for the first time in the eleven years of our marriage.
The only snag was the kitchen. The kitchen in our tiny apartment had twice the storage the house did. The drawers were so narrow I put my silverware tray in a cupboard. I had to come up with some creative ideas organizing things. Too complicated forget it (too much work). Look for ways that make sense for your organizing style.
The file cabinet and donation/disposal method are the most efficient tools for organizing my home. I am also fond of dressers for putting clothing into. Does the younger generation have a dresser phobia? My youngest hasn't had a dresser in years. He keeps everything in laundry baskets or hung up. I thought it was a younger generation quirk until discovering its hereditary. Dad doesn't have a dresser. He hangs all his clothing in closet, puts them in cupboards or laundry baskets. If it isn't easy he won't organize either.
He is an engineer, so believe me he is organized. I just don't like his organization techniques or the shear amount of stuff he organizes. Maybe there should be another rule to my game 4. You must respect others organizing methods. You don't have to like them.
Begin Slowly with a small area
Expectations Unless you have an army of willing workers do not expect to put everything to rights in one day. Take small steps. Start with a workspace, cupboard or closet. Work at it for as long as it takes to clear out, throw out and neatly replace those absolutely essential belongings. Then celebrate! Take what you purge to Good Will then take yourself out for a Mocha. You deserve a treat for your hard work.
Having just spent a week with dad I am sorely aware that organizing clutter can be overwhelming. Dad's large three sided island, big enough to seat 5 people for a meal, was piled high. We had five people to feed and it needed to be cleared. Since he lives in a rural area without trash pick up we had to get creative. There was an enormous amount of papers. He hasn't felt well for some time and it just got away from him.
If you are organizing yourself you can skip this lecture. If organizing someone else listen closely.
Someone who has clutter overwhelming them needs to know you care deeply. Brother had been with Dad for a week when we got there. He had spent time pampering Dad. He took him to doctors appointments, rubbed his feet with cream, helped him pull on his compression socks and did some car maintenance.
Dad hadn't wanted to talk about the counter. A story for a different time.
Dad is actually my father-in-law. We have a very special relationship. I can say things to him nobody, except his mother would have ever gotten away saying. My husband, his brothers and sisters are always amazed what I can cajole Dad into doing.
After being married 18 months and while I was 14,000 miles from home, my father died suddenly of cancer. I wrote my father-in-law a letter adopting him. I told him I positively couldn't live without a father and he was enough like my dad to fit the bill. To my knowledge that was the only letter he never directly answered. He kept track of every letter written to him and always knew whose turn it was to write. If you wanted to make Dad happy you wrote him a letter. My own father wrote regularly when any of us kids was away.
If you are trying to get a parent or a child to purge . Take time with them. Find out what keeps them from letting go. If it is your parent, respect them, get them to tell you the history of the things they are holding onto. The history of Dad's island was simple; his sister wanted him to go through stuff and put a pile of it on the counter. He refused to remove the clutter because he was mad at her. There is always a story.
Beginnings And Simple Ideas
What can obviously be tossed?
- The first step was to get rid of the peanut butter jars and Lean Cuisine trays. In my California town that stuff would have gone into the recycling bin. We hauled them away.(Be careful! Make sure that whoever you are organizing doesn't have a legitimate use for something you think is trash). I had to replace a few yogurt cups. Dad used them as measuring cups. His liquids are severely limited. Those were the cups he measured what he drank from.
- File cabinet. Some of the of the stuff on the counter was important paperwork. As I sat looking at the stuff the light came on. A perfect location for a file cabinet. When I suggested to Dad that most of the stuff on the counter would be safer in a file cabinet. He looked at me for a long while then said." I'll give you twenty dollars to set it up". Oh how my heart was singing. (Remember your parents are not stupid. You have to give them a reason for doing things)
- Donate. Dad has all the cookware from his mother and anything his siblings didn't want He needed these things when he moved south, but now not quite so much. Unless you are a chef you don't need six frying pans and ten pie plates. Now dad wasn't keen on giving the stuff away. When I suggested tax deductions for donations to Good Will he began to think about it. (You can go on line and determine the value of your belongings for donation)
In Dad's case he needed help. His idea of house keeping and mine are really different. I don't know if he is a hoarder. Someone who is a hoarder needs a broader scope of help. One friend of mine dealt with her hoarding mother's kitchen in an amusing fashion. Her fiancé was coming to meet her parents. Arriving a few days before her fiancé my friend became the most clumsy college student there ever was. She would knock plastic containers off the counter and accidentally" step on them. More cottage cheese tubs and the like fell prey to her clumsiness."Oh Mom, I am just so nervous that Larry is coming. Do you think you will like him"? Not elegant, but the broken tubs were thrown out as was anything she could get out of the house without her parents notice.
People who are hoarders need professional help. Hoarders can be embarrassed by the mess they are in yet unable to let go of anything. Be gentle with them.
The Side Tracked Home Executives, helped me begin to get organized. Any system will work if you are diligent. Just remember when organizing yourself or others simple is best. A system that is to complicated leads to discouragement, Slowly go through one drawer or closet at a time. When you have gone through the entire house remember these rules, so you can keep your place tidy and well organized.
- If you take it out, you put if back.
- If it needs cleaning, clean it.
- If you bring something new into the house something old has to leave.
- Throw away junk mail as it comes in. Shred ads for credit cards and important documents.
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