Help! My Home Isn’t Organized! {Ask Amy}

Ask Amy | RaisingArrows.net

A reader emailed and told me that she has tried and tried to follow the organizational tips I offer here on Raising Arrows, but she feels she is failing miserably at keeping an organized large family home.

Folks, its time you took me off the pedestal.

The things I have managed to get organized in my home are not because I’m some super-organized person.  I have always been good at seeing the problem and then searching out ways to fix the problem.  Most of the answers to problems I offer on this blog were thought up by someone else.  I’m good at repackaging and making something fit my family.

For instance…

DrinkBandsDrinkBands – I didn’t think these things up!  I had a serious cup issue.  I had tried everything.  Nothing worked until DrinkBands…a product thought up by someone else.

Do I still have cup issues?

Yes.

HOWEVER, they are not nearly like they were.  But, let’s face it, even with products that help, there is the human factor, and I happen live with a lot of little humans.

By the way, the winner of the DrinkBands giveaway is:
winner

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So, let’s talk organization in a very real, very candid way.

Organizing for most people is hard work.  It’s not an overnight thing, and it is never a completed task.  There will always be something else you will need to organize.

Some people can organize in their sleep.  These are the people who see the problem and immediately think up a solution.  We’ve already established the fact that I am not one of those people.

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you are not either.

Moving on…

For every organizational challenge I have conquered in my home, there are a handful of others needing my attention.  But I refuse to give up!  Refusing to give up is how you build an organized home.

Large family moms tend to find they must become organized just to manage the chaos.  If I ever want to get anything accomplished, I have to have a chart for everything.  I didn’t start out this way, but again, I refuse to give up.

So, I know you feel like you are failing miserably.  I have those days too.  But, rather than letting the chaos overwhelm you, get on your knees and start looking for answers.  You have no idea how many times I stand in the middle of my bedroom with an organizational issue looming over me, and cry out to the Lord to point me in the right direction.

So, when you see some organization tip on this blog that inspires you, never for one moment think I’ve arrived and my home is organized from tippy top to tippy bottom.  I have a linen closet that looks like a bomb went off.  I have a homeschool closet that ought to be torched.  I have yet to come to terms with how many sets of clothes, towels, toys, and coats every person in this family ought to own, and I’ll probably move again before I manage to go through all the boxes I just dumped in my garage when we moved here.

You have to stop seeing organizing as a destination.  It’s more about meeting a need and moving on.   

I don’t write an organizing blog.  I write a life blog.  It just happens that sometimes life needs to be organized.

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13 thoughts on “Help! My Home Isn’t Organized! {Ask Amy}

  1. I think we’d all like to get to the place where we say “Right, we’re all sorted!” But if we got there, what would we have missed along the way – life. Great, grounding words of wisdom and encouragement. Thank you Amy – I needed that today. The Lord’s hand was on my shoulder the day, some months ago, that I found your blog.

  2. That’s great and it made me chuckle! People do tend to put us mums of many on a pedestal, but it’s great to hear your blunt honestly. I, as a mum of 6,10 and under have some expentionally organised aspects of life that the outside world see, but lurking underneath there are exploding cupboards, clothes which I never iron, beds which are not changed weekly or even fortnightly, many toys behind the sofa and a constant list in my head of tasks needing to be accomplished. I need to accept that I will never get there until the sad day when all my children have left home. and then there will be very little left to organise. Life is about being organised enough to enjoy the days without obsessing over our imperfections, that’s a lesson I’m still learning.

    • Snap! Your ‘lurking’ list looks like mine but, as you say, we are reasonably organized with the things people see (because we have to be in order to function with the rest of the world). Unfortunately people see that as the thing to aspire to – not realizing we are still very much a work in progress behind the scene! And (most of the time), that’s okay with me. It is so comforting to know other Mamas of Many around the world think through the same issues.

  3. “Living with a bunch of little humans” Yup!

    The big ones say “Why do we have to pick up the baby’s toys again?”

    And I say ” For the same reason that I have to wash your clothes every week, and dishes every day. Entropy!”

  4. Oh, wow! I missed the DRINKBANDS contest. I need some of those! I recently removed EVERY plate and cup from the cupboards and packed them away…then too out ONE PLACE SETTING for each of us from the plastic camping dinner set, labelled them with permanent marker…and voila! mama’s not doing a load of CUPS every single day. (How 3 kids can go through 50+ cups in a day…)

    I’m working on organizing my home and have come to the conclusion it will NEVER be done, but that’s OK. Needs change. For me organizing and decluttering is more a matter of FUNCTION, creating an area/space that works better for us and those needs change as we change. In the meantime I’ll tackle areas as they come up!

    • Solution to the cup problem: last christmas I purchased a personalized Tervis Tumbler with a lid for each of my children, and for my husband and I. Their cups have their names on them, and, best of all, they have a LIFETIME guarantee. No more cup problem!

  5. I had an older woman tell me once , about four months after one of our moves, that her friend had just moved the week before and her new house was all unpacked and decorated and ‘just so’ and that she couldn’t understand how I could possibly have boxes still piled at the end of my hall that hadn’t been gone through yet. I felt so judged and defeated. It was two moves later before it struck me that a young pregnant again mom of a still very young baby, and an childless woman in her 60s+ were not exactly in the same category. I’m not organized yet, but I have hope, and so appreciate the life encouragement and realistic advice Amy gives here.
    To the mom who feels like she’s failing,

    • oops…
      To the mom who feels like she’s failing, stop comparing. God placed you in your family and your home not Amys, not mine, not that old lady from church. I would love to do some of the things suggested here… but my eldest is only 3, not exactly in the same category as Amy with ‘bigs’ around to pitch in.

  6. We are so blessed to be living in the information age when we can learn so much from each other. Thank you for sharing the drink bands idea. Oh, how I wish we’d had an idea like this when my girls were young. It drove me absolutely crazy to wash 15 glasses at the end of a day, knowing that my husband and I had used the same one all day long. It didn’t even seem to matter when it was THEIR turn to wash dishes. . . go figger!

  7. Thank you for this post, Amy! I still struggle with organization. Like you, out of necessity, I have found some tools to help us cope, but there are so many areas I just don’t have it all together. I love the way you share real-life family life with us!

  8. Thanks, I really needed to hear this today! I walked up the stairs to bed last night thinking, “It will never all be ‘done.’” But I guess that’s life, right? WE will never be done — not this side of heaven, at least. :) Thanks again for the reminder!