writing for children

Organizing isn’t my thing…

Have you ever wondered why some folks are organized and some folks aren’t? I usually ponder that question as I am sorting through the piles of papers that have accumulated in my car, desk and bedroom.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by folks who are very organized. I’m hoping their skills and gifts will rub off on me. 🙂

One of those wonderful folks is my fellow writer, critique partner, and very good friend, Jean Matthew Hall. She always has the emails I’ve somehow lost or deleted. She has notes anywhere and everywhere – in much the same way I keep chocolate handy!

Another organized buddy is my college pal, Susan. She has rubbed off on me more than she’ll ever know. We are the exact opposite in many aspects, including in regards to organization, but that is one of the ways we learn from each other! 🙂

And my husband – bless his heart! He is even more organized than Jean or Susan…and that is saying a lot!  I drive him crazy with my haphazard filing system and the way I deal with laundry. His gray hairs have my name all over them!

They are all great influences in my struggles with organization. I learn different lessons from each one of them – and they are slowly rubbing off on me. Very slowly. Think SLOTH slow.

Are there folks in your life who have helped shape your organizational habits…or lack thereof? Were you born organized? Are you the influence for someone else?

Here are a few things I’ve learned from my group of organized buddies —

  1. clean out the car after every trip to the drive through. (now if I’d only follow that advice!)
  2. don’t bring the junk mail into the house. Throw it away, RIGHT away.
  3. if you want clean dishes at all times, eat out. (that is one of my hub’s contributions, but he doesn’t want us to use it very often!)
  4. organize stuff a little at a time everyday so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  5. find a place for something, and always put it there when you aren’t using it. (again, my hubsters idea. it works beautifully for him.)

What are some of your favorite organizational tips? Who helped influence this aspect of your life?


17 thoughts on “Organizing isn’t my thing…

  1. Donna,

    I haven’t tried this organization tip, but it’s my all time favorite. A friend’s mom is one of the two people featured below:

    Two friends agreed to organize a “trouble spot” each week at a specific time for a set number of minutes. Immediately afterwards they called each other and reported on their successes.

    Isn’t this a great idea? It’s like a built in support group and cheerleading squad all in one.

    I have written out my daily goals and shared them with a friend and that helps me to be more accountable. I guess that’s a modification of the tip above.

    I like the idea of surrounding yourself with organized people. Maybe they can suggest ways to organize your trouble spot. What about using the barter system? Let someone else organize that spot while you do something for them that they’d rather not do.

    Linda A.


    1. I am learning to be more organized, though I am still not where I need to be yet. I think writing out daily goals and sharing them is a FANTASTIC idea! It’s a good type of “peer pressure”. 🙂

      I hope you get all your goals finished today. I’ll list mine here…

      Homeschool (of course!)
      Decorate tree (the lights are already on!)
      Make sure all clothes are clean, folded and put in drawers.
      Make sure all dishes are clean and in cabinets.
      Mop kitchen.
      Damp mop hardwood floors in rest of house.
      clean my area
      clean bathrooms
      buy some Christmas decorations from Dollar general 🙂


  2. My mother always says “Touch something once,” as in, don’t move it to the pile you are planning to put away later; just put it away. Like you said, don’t bring in the mail and put it somewhere — bring it in and deal with or file each piece. Put the clothes in the hamper the first time, not the floor, and then fold them as they come out of the dryer.

    It’s genius, really, but so hard to do sometimes!


    1. “Touch something once” — I like that! Your mom sounds VERY organized!

      My mom is so much more organized than me. She says she isn’t — but trust me, she is. I think I should have listened to her more growing up. 🙂


  3. I was born organized 🙂 Of course, everything I know my mother taught me and it helped we didn’t have too many things (one of the benefits of being poor). For years and years, all my possessions fit in the trunk of the car (except the piano).

    Putting mail, clothes, books, toys, etc. away is a given. You touch it, you put it back.
    Having a place for stuff helps. Boxes and bins are lifesavers.
    I have a hard time with all my paper stuff. I have a box for each of my novels, and a box for the short stuff, and still my desk is piled high with stuff I need to take care of.

    Keeping things in their place is a constant battle. Entropy is always at work.

    Good luck. Sounds like you have plenty of help so take it!


    1. Vijaya – as always, your encouragement and wisdom put me in the right frame of mind!

      Would you please come over and organize my house? I’ll feed you 14 layer chocolate cake, cream cheese pineapple cake or whatever you’d like in return! 🙂

      (Hmmm…if there is air-fare involved, though, I might have to simply have a phone consultation! 🙂 )


  4. My mother in love’s closet was featured in a regional home magazine. Her clothes and shoes are organized by color, and she alphabetizes her soup cans too. It’s heaven’s guess why my husband married me, lol! Just last night, I had to clean out the dining room to make room for the Christmas decorations box. My dining room serves as my craft room during the other eleven months out of the year. It’s embarrassing but true. I remember Lin Oliver, of SCBWI said that creative people don’t have to be organized or on time. Does that make you feel any better?


  5. Amy,
    We had to do the same thing last night for our tree. Moved furniture to make room…then had to clean up the mess we found behind and under it. UGH.

    And yes, that Lin Oliver’s statement does make me feel better. Can I have that embroidered a shirt or something?


  6. People tell me I’m organized but I don’t think they’ve ever seen my office! That’s where all my craft/reading/writing things get piled. I must admit, though, that if the desk itself is cluttered I can’t write. Cluttered desk = cluttered mind, I guess.

    I find To Do lists are helpful but only if I keep them realistic. An overly-long list discourages me before I start. What works for me is to make a week’s list that focuses on one room a day. After the usual morning routine is done (devotions, dishes, bed-making sort of things) I tackle just one major “To Do” thing like cleaning a bathroom (I hate grouting. Who invented that?), or sorting my closet to store seasonal clothes, a baking spree, re-arranging the livingroom furniture, etc. The sooner the task is completed the sooner I get to move on to something I really look forward to (writing, crafting, reading, gardening). That reward-for-work technique is self-motivating and I get through tasks faster than if I have to face a full day of drudgery. And over the span of a week I’ve made it through the list without feeling the days have been all work and no play. Works for me (except for my office… I don’t even put it on the list!). 😉


    1. One major thing a day…I like it! I have three kiddos, 12 and under, so I’d have to add more than one to the list. BUT – once they are on college, that would work!

      My hubby would be happy if I could keep my cubby/writing stuffs from spilling over into his! 🙂


  7. For 14-layer chocolate cake, I’d come and clean for you as well 🙂
    I liked the comment about creative folks being messy. It has been my observation … so bask in that thought.

    Hugs, V.


  8. I’m not organized at all. But I think I do a lot better the less stuff I actually have in the house.

    Unfortunately, my husband is a pack rat (in full disclosure, I says I am too, but he is waaaay worse). . I am resigned to a life of clutter. My goal is to keep it confined to certain spaces.


    1. less stuff = more organized — I completely agree!
      my hubster is a packrat, too. He is an organized packrat, though. Problem is, I’m NOT organized. Which means HIS stuff doesn’t always stay organized. Bless him, it drives him bonkers. 🙂


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