The biggest organizational challenges the MOPS ladies wrote down for our discussion included:

·        how to keep the kitchen, toys, car, and kids’ rooms clean
·        getting my husband to put things away where they actually go
·        teaching kids to help clean up
·        dishes
·        worrying months ahead about planning and organizing
·        homeschool time management
·        lack of space; too much stuff; no closets
·        my office/desk
·        sweeping and mopping
·        getting places on time: time management
·        my inability to function when house is not organized
·        putting things away when done with them

Do any of these sound familiar? Whether you have kids at home or not, we all struggle with many of these same challenges. Hopefully, today’s post will give you helpful ideas to tackle your list.

One: Make friends with your timer

Whether you use a wind up timer or another kind, I think you’ll be amazed what a useful tool it can be. Your timer can help you limittime on things you tend to get lost in (like Facebook or Pinterest). When you intend to spend fifteen minutes and next thing you know two hours have gone by! I use my timer to limit my yard work time. Otherwise, I end up unable to move at the end of the day and other things are left undone.

You can also use your timer to spur you on with tasks you’re not fond of, like taxes, bill paying, and cleaning. I figure I can do almost anything for fifteen minutes. That doesn’t sound like much time, but it’s amazing how much you can get done when you know you have to do it quickly. More often than not, when the timer dings I’ve gotten over my distaste for the project and am excited about the progress I’ve made. So I set it for another fifteen minutes. My husband and I use this method to clear away office paperwork. It ends up being fun and satisfying.  

from my friend’s blog: http://www.kayladanelle.blogspot.com/

Two: Look for space savers

I typed this in Google and found clever ideas for storage! One key is to go up whenever possible instead of out. This kids’ craft area is a great example. A second thing to remember is when space is limited, try to buy or create furniture that performs more than one function. When I was little, my sisters and I shared a basement bedroom. Our six drawer dresser sat in the middle of the room. On the back my parents had glued felt to create a play space for us, much like the metal on the front of this piece.

A third idea is to utilize under bed space. Buy plastic or cardboard boxes made to slide under, or purchase beds with built in drawers. I love this picture of the train set that pulls out from under the bed! Also, use the spaces under stairs and in the walls of attic rooms. My husband built nooks in between the framing of one couple’s upstairs room. They use them to tuck away plastic bins full of craft supplies!

A final idea is to create spaces within a space. Most of us have drawers full of little things. This makes it difficult to find what you need and the mass tends to grow out of control. Pick up some inexpensive plastic trays at the dollar store, or use cardboard boxes to make dividers in your drawers – for batteries, nails and screws, writing utensils etc. Use ice-cube trays or craft organizers for earrings, necklaces, and other small items. You’ll be surprised how much you can fit in a small space, only now you can find it!

Three: Label clearly

These pictures are kind of fun. Even if you don’t get this fancy, it’s a great idea to have specific places where things belong.  For kids’ rooms, you can use a simple picture of the item along with the word. It encourages their help with clean up and promotes reading skills at the same time. Labeling can also help with the next tip:

Four: Be consistent

When everyone in the household knows where an item belongs, it’s easier for them to help put things away. Plus, it’s easier to find the next time you need it. A hook by the door to hang your car keys when you come in. The weekly chore chart, shopping list, or place to leave notes for family members on the refrigerator. A desk drawer with pens, scissors, envelopes, stamps etc. Consistency eliminates confusion, desperate last minute hunts for important items, and helps everyone participate in keeping your home organized.

My next post will include four more ideas for organizing your external world before we travel to the interior world. I hope you will comment at the end of this post. I’m sure you have a few of your own clever solutions we can all benefit from.