I tend to head into the new year with a renewed desire to get my household more organized. With six kids and two busy careers, our house can get chaotic. I’m usually the last one to leave the house in the morning, and I often look around at the wake we leave in our paths getting ready and I think, “there has got to be a better way to do this.”
I am not a naturally organized person. I’m a leader, I’m a person who thinks outside of the box, and I tend not to get caught up in the little details.
I’m married to a naturally organized person. I’m sure you can see where the conflict comes in.
Where he likes file folders and organized bins; I like bright colored post-it notes and memos stuck to the refrigerator with magnets. He loves his Google calendar (and I’ve learned to comply most days) I like to scribble notes on my paper calendar, that lives on my desk, at work. Sometimes I forget events. Sometimes I have to scramble.
When i was a stay at home mom I was very “go with the flow.” That meant that sometimes we all were still in pajamas at lunchtime, and, quite often the house looked a little too lived in by the time my husband got home from work. (Now that I am the spouse who arrives home from work last, I can see the anxiety I caused by not at least picking up a bit before he got home.)
I have the know-how to keep a clean home. I even have the tools. But what I don’t always have is a system to keep things running smoothly and without a lot of mess.
I was given the opportunity to review A Mom’s Guide to Home Organization: Simple Solutions to Control Clutter, Schedules and Stressby Debbie Lillard of Space to Spare. Lillard is a professional organizer who is not only “naturally organized”, she came from a mother who was also a natural. Lillard was one of six children and has three of her own. This book then is written for mothers of children to help get the home organized.
This is a massive book. It logs in at 375 pages. It is divided into six parts:
- Part 1: Organize Your Time
- Part 2: Organize Your Belongings
- Part 3: Organize Your Home
These first three parts focus on YOU the mom. It was interesting to read these tips from a naturally organized person.
I may not have agreed with everything that I read. I was never one to schedule my babies’ feedings. Lillard is a strong proponent of scheduling. IT was the way she was raised, it was how she raised her children, and it is her response to mothers who complain that they can’t get anything done because baby is so needy. I don’t feel that she wrote this chapter as a “you must schedule your baby or your life will be a shambles”. I think she wrote it more as a “you asked how I kept if together when my babies were little, here is what worked for me (and my mom too).”
I really liked the section on organizing your belongings. Lillard really breaks things down into manageable steps. I especially enjoyed the chapter titled “So Many Clothes, But Nothing to Wear!”. Since starting my job I have gathered a larger wardrobe, but I have not really weeded out much of my stay-at-home mom wear. I simply have too many clothes. I plan on taking her step-by-step process to really purge my wardrobe this weekend.
The fist half of the book then, focuses on mom, and time management, and how to deal with clutter, and how to attack some of the trouble areas in our home.
The second half of the book applies to how we can get our kids involved in helping keep the home organized. The three sections in the second half are :
- Part Four: The Race against Time (how to manage family time, activities and how to set up daily routines)
- Part 5: No More Scattergories (or, as my grandmother would title it, “A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place”
- Part 6: Conquer the Space Invaders (how to handle kids’ schoolwork, homework spaces and the dreaded kids’ rooms!)
There is also a comprehensive index, and some room organization and planning worksheets.
I appreciate the room layout examples for different types of rooms, and product recommendations for storage.
This is more of a reference book that a read-straight-through book, but it has given me some actionable ideas for how to (slowly but surely) get my house into shape!
Chime In! I’d love to hear some of your best home organization tips!