While organising definitely comes more naturally to some people, that doesn't mean it won't involve struggles and hard work. In fact, being able to recognise when something isn't working and taking the necessary steps to fix it, or working on changing a personal habit, is an important step in the whole organising game. Today I'm sharing my 6 biggest organisation struggles and how I've overcome them (or am still working on them!). Can you relate to any?
1. Overcomplicated systems
Creating an organising system that works for you and your family is definitely a process of trial and error. Common mistakes are that it is not explained properly to your family members, or it's too simple or even too complicated! My biggest issue is that I tend to create systems that are overcomplicated, in the hopes they will save me time and effort, but sometimes having the opposite effect.
For example, I've written before about my goal to be extra-organised in the kitchen and save time making meals by chopping up all fruit and vegetables after a grocery shop and storing them in labelled glass containers. This worked well for a while and it was handy to have the veggies pre-prepared.
But I grew to absolutely dread doing the shopping (more so than usual) as this step was so time-consuming! It's enough to drag your kids around the shops, load up the car, unload, bring it into the house and unpack everything, but to then face chopping up piles of vegetables...I just couldn't find a way to do it more quickly. Plus by this time the kids would be going pretty nuts! So I've abandoned that overcomplicated system for a more simple process of placing fresh produce in containers, but skipping the chopping step. This process definitely works for some people, but for me it just didn't.
Lesson learned: creating organised systems for your home and family is a process of trial and error, but the ultimate goal is to save yourself time and effort! If the system isn't doing this for you, then try something else.
2. Purchasing too many storage containers
Confession time - some of my favourite shops to go into are home storage, office supply and dollar stores. And up until quite recently, I would often just go into these stores and buy a new product without having an actual need or purpose for it. Fabric storage boxes and baskets were my biggest weak spots, and we now seem to have them breeding at home! #addiction
My main justification when purchasing a new item was that it would help us be more organised, but in reality if they didn't have a clear purpose then they were just adding to the clutter. Purchasing a storage product does not automatically make you more organised. In fact, having too many storage products can have the opposite effect.
I now prefer to 'shop my home' first to see if I have an option that will work for a particular project or clear-out (see it here in my laundry organisation, here in our stationery drawer and here in our bathroom organisation). I also try to avoid purchasing any new products until I have decluttered, measured, and worked out exactly what purpose the product needs to serve and how it will help our family most. This helps to truly assess what kind of product I need, and avoids the whole 'getting the container to fit the items' rather than the other way round dilemma.
Lesson learned: buying loads of storage products won't automatically make you more organised! Each product you buy needs to have a clear purpose and need, and shouldn't be purchased until after the organising/ decluttering/ purging has been done.
3. Not storing items where they will be used
In the lead up to having my first child, I was in super-nesting mode and the house was organised to within an inch of its life. That's what 6 weeks of maternity leave will do to someone like me! There weren't many areas of our home that escaped a label.
I put things where I thought they would be most handy, often hidden away in boxes or drawers, but not necessarily in the most accessible spots. Over the last 5 years of being a Mum, I've worked out that life is so much easier if you store things where they will actually be used. Some of these moves took me a while to realize, and when I moved them from their original location, I was irritated that I hadn't done it sooner!
- setting up an entryway that would hold keys, sunglasses, coins and bags rather than having these things strewn throughout the house
- storing most-often worn shoes at the door rather than in bedrooms
- storing nappies in a drawer in the family-room rather than all in the nursery, so I could do quick changes where I was, rather than always having to go through to use the change-table
- having a set spot for the TV remote when not in use so we can always find it
- having a paperwork system set up in the main living area rather than taking every bit of paper down to be sorted and dealt with in the home office
- storing kids' spare sheet sets and blankets in their rooms rather than in the linen cupboard, in case of any accidents or 'sick nights'
- keeping the broom in the kitchen rather than the laundry, as I sweep so many times a day
Lesson learned: store items where they will be used! Think about what things you're always going back and forth into rooms for, and where else you could place them to save time and effort.
4. Being too controlling
I can readily admit that I'm a control freak, and everyone who knows me will be nodding their head in agreement... especially my husband! One thing that I am always consciously working on is letting him have more of a say in how our home is set up, and how we spend our down-time. I'm trying to be more relaxed on the weekends, and not forcing him to always do house jobs, or help me finish off a project.
Although we have a busy few months ahead with all our renovation-related tasks, I'm hoping that once it's all finished, we can truly relax on our weekends and just enjoy being in our home, rather than always working on it! And a lot of this comes down to be me being less controlling and trying just to let things be.
Lesson learned: Acknowledge that things don't always have to be perfect in the home, and try to enjoy relaxing and the 'down time' more readily. A work in progress...
5. Not being a morning person
Are there really people out there that are excited when their alarm goes off in the morning? If so, I am whole-heartedly jealous. I am never excited to hear that beeping sound, but one thing I have really worked on in the last few years is to make myself be a morning person! This means getting up much earlier than my family members so I can have some 'me time'.
My normal routine now is to get up at 5.50 and go for a walk around the neighbourhood, then come back home and do 40 minutes of work before everyone else wakes up. I really enjoy having this time to myself. I have to admit though that the move out of home due to our renovation has thrown exercise completely out the window for now! I'm sure I'll make up for it with 100 hours of painting, setting up a kitchen and garden landscaping that lies ahead! : 0
Making it a goal and priority to get up earlier means a much more productive start to my day, and if I don't manage to find another time during the day to complete work, then at least I know I've achieved something for the day. It also sets me up for a more productive morning, as I'm already in the moving mode. Of course, I relish the weekends where we can have a lazy and relaxed start to our mornings, but on weekdays this really works for me.
Lesson learned: getting up earlier can actually give you more time during the day to do the things you want to do. And having some alone time before everyone else is awake is a truly peaceful start to the day.
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6. Always wanting to multi-task
I always try to multi-task, because I think it will save me time in the long run, but have realised that this is definitely not always the case. I get angsty when I have to wait around for things, so often find myself doing paperwork tasks, preparing lunch for the next day, baking snacks and replying to emails all while trying to cook dinner! Of course, this leads to feeling frustrated because I'm juggling so many different tasks, and can't complete any of them properly by the time dinner is ready.
I've been working on trying to completely finish one task properly before moving onto the next one. This is difficult for me, but I realise that in the end, focusing my attention on completing one task will actually make it quicker and easier to get through it so I can move onto the next thing.
Lesson learned: Just because you're good at multi-tasking, it doesn't mean this is always what you should do!