Ask Mom























Having trouble keeping your life organized?  Then just Ask Mom !


 Dear Mom,

I just don't feel organized.  People always tell me how organized I appear but they don't look in my closets.  How can I keep myself as organized as people think that I am?

Complete Disarray in Wyoming


Dear Disarray,

Relax!  I think that you may be a bit tough on yourself!  Everyone has a little bit of clutter (even me) but you have to keep it organized.  The first rule for me is not to handle something more than 2 times.  When I get mail, I sort it and immediately take the unwanted mail to the recyling bin.  The remaining mail either gets filed (medical infomation), goes in the to pay pile (organized clutter that is essential) or is directed to another member of the household. 

The bills are the only thing that is touched a second time - to pay them.  Then the receipt is filed and the junk mail stuffed inside the bill is sent to recyling. 

Another way to keep on top of the organization of the house is to have Spring Cleaning - 4 times a year!  Go through and get rid of stuff that just sits.  Donate games and toys to the Goodwill or other resale organizations, have a garage sale, hand stuff down to the cousins. 

Clutter in a home stops the energy from flowing.  It is just not healthy!  And you feel so much better when you get out from under the pressure of it all!

Make sure to keep a notebook with your list of things to do.  Tackle each room separately - make a different list item for each room so you can check each off and feel accomplished!

Organization is actually a state of mind.  C.S. Lewis talks about tricking your mind into becoming that person; if you act kind, you become a kind person.  So, if you act organized you will become it!

Good luck!


Dear Mom,

I want to be organized but my family doesn't seem to want to participate.  I bought 3 two-foot cubes for my teen daughter's room - I thought she might organize her hair stuff, personal supplies and other teen paraphernalia.  Instead, she loaded them to the top and they look like are going to burst!  There is no way she can find anything in there!

What can I do to get everyone on board?

Frustrated in Bradenton, FL


Dear Frustrated

I have one of those teens myself!  For a while, I did nothing, thinking that it would embarrass her to have her friends in the house and she would want to clean it up on her own. It did not work.  Talking to other parents, the friend's rooms are just as bad.

The clutter was contained to my daughter's room so I tried not to let it get to me, but it did.  So, I did what any other reasonable mother would do.  I threatened to throw it all away! 

Now, if you are a parent that makes threats and does not follow through, this may not work.  In my house, mom follows through and dad can be talked into anything.  My daughter knew I was serious.  I told her she would feel better and function better (she disagreed).

The rule was this...all rooms were to be spotless on Friday.  If they were not spotless on Friday, nobody could make a play date, play on the computer or use the TV until it was cleaned up.  They had until Sunday morning to get it done (which means no playdates or electronics all weekend).  On Sunday morning, everything out of place would be placed in a large black garbage bag and put in the garage.  They had until the following Friday to put the stuff from the garbage bag in its proper place or it would be thrown out.

I got a lot of huffing and eye rolling on this one BUT I never had to use a black garbage bag.  The key here is to set some restrictions and rules about how you want your house run, within reason.  I gave them plenty of opportunity to do what I asked, to get comfortable with keeping their rooms clean and to have some reprieve if they messed up one week (because they would potentially have one more week before the garbage bag made it to the curb).

You are the parent and although you may be constantly reminded that you are the toughest parent on the block, the lessons you teach your children will go with them into adulthood.

Good luck!



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