With permission from professional organizer and author Kathy Waddill,
here are a few of the steps that she includes in the approach she recommends in
her soon-to-be-released book, The Organizing Sourcebook: Nine Strategies for
Organizing Your Life.
1. Design the system that fits your own life
There is not a right or wrong way to be organized in your home.
Determining how to get organized takes some thought, though. What are the
activities in which your family members are involved? By placing the toys,
games, craft and art supplies, sports equipment, and homework resources at or
near the places where they are used, you will save yourself from a lot of the
extra effort created by having to pick up the trails of toy parts, game pieces,
crochet hooks, sneakers, and markers that run throughout the house.
2. Containers are key
Hereís a concept to which many people are finally catching on: place
all parts of activities into containers. The see-through plastic variety is
particularly useful, as you and your children will be able to see the contents
before you even move the container from its location. The proper containers are
also helpful in developing responsibility in young children. Assign them with
the task of cleaning up when they have completed their time with the activity.
It is easy for them to see on their own if they have accomplished the task or
not: either all the parts are in the container or they are not!
3. Use labels
Labeling is a tool with two uses for families, as labels promote literacy
as well as organization. Most important in the process of labeling is that the
children be involved. That way, they get to use the words that are most
meaningful to them, which is an important part in making this a system that will
be useful for them. For young children who cannot yet read, you may either draw
or cut out pictures; this is a pre-reading skill because you teach that there is
a relationship between a symbol and its meaning.
Thereís help if you need it!
If you need assistance to get organized, youíre not alone. More than
one thousand members of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO)
are ready to aid you in accomplishing your goals. Founded in 1985, this
organization has chapters and individual members all over the United States and
in several other countries. If you need a referral to an organizer near you,
NAPO can be reached at P. O. Box 140647, Austin, TX 78714-0647, (512) 454-8626,
The New Messies Manual: The Procrastinatorís Guide to Good Housekeeping
was authored by Sandra Felton, a professional organizer whose Messies Anonymous
is a twelve-step program with support groups in many cities around the United
States; (800) 637-7292, www.messies.com
Julie Morgensternís Organizing from the Inside Out is a best-seller
with an approach that is easy to understand and implement. How can you go wrong
with Oprahís organizer?
The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful
Living, by Janet Luhrs is a treasure trove of ideas. Simple Living is a
quarterly newsletter; contact the publisher at 4509 Interlake Ave. N, PMB 149,
Seattle, WA 98103-6773, (206) 464-4800, www.simpleliving.com.
Simplify Your Life with Kids, by Elaine St. James is a book that will be
useful to families that would like to take a no-nonsense approach to paring down
and getting away from rampant commercialism.