Get Organized

Organize and Prioritize

to Create the Life You Want!

There are 20,000-40,000 objects in the average American home.  U.S. children get an average of 70 new toys a year.  One box of Legos has over 600 pieces, Uno has over 100 cards, children typically have 10 pairs of shoes and women average 19 pairs.  All these objects need a home.

Where do you keep all this stuff so it doesn’t get in your way?

During the history of the world there are more distractions and opportunities than ever before.  Our home can either help us accomplish our dreams or can sabotage us. I have many dreams.  My family is the most important priority for me so I put them first, however does that mean I should give up my dream to write and illustrate a picture book that wins the Caldecott medal?

Absolutely not!

For me to accomplish my dreams I wake at 5 am each day.  I have 2 hours a day to create and then I take care for my family the rest of the day.  If I spend my entire 2 hours every morning looking for my paintbrushes, then I am not going to create my book.

Organization and good habits are key to making my dreams come true right now!

Did you know that people over a lifetime spend one year of their life looking for things?  Creating an organized home is a success secret that will help you accomplish your dreams.

Why don’t we organize?

I have struggled with this for much of my life.  I wear many hats, probably just like you.  I am a wife, mother, artist, teacher, homeschool wannabe, church member, friend, civic person, writer, scrapbooker, aunt, neighbor, sister, chef, chauffeur, actress, gardener, traveler, reader, organizer, housekeeper, beautician, and dreamer.  I struggle with distractions, interruptions, procrastination and finishing, but I have found that having an organized home and teaching the family how to maintain it, makes my dreams attainable.  Life is not simple or easy.  We all are striving to juggle and balance it all.  Creating organization systems will help you keep it all together.

Could some of these roadblocks be in your way?

  • Lack of organizational knowledge
  • Lack of time
  • Lack of money to get the right tools
  • Lack of motivation to start
  • Lack of motivation to finish
  • Lack of decision making ability
  • Lack of patience to make a good plan
  • Lack of patience in following the plan
  • Troubles with emotional issues tied to things
  • Lack of motivation to maintain the home
  • Lack of cooperation in maintaining the home

I have struggled with all these issues but have found solutions!  You can too!  I have found a way to open up 2 hours a day for my creative pursuits and at the same time increasing my effectiveness in all of my roles.  My mom and I have raised 17 children between us, we have studied, read and tested nearly every home organization plan for over 30 years.  We have found the organization principles that work with families!  This information is free so you don’t have to do all the research and re-invent the wheel.

If you are a “Mom on the go, you can be in the know.”

Following this system can bring greater peace and happiness into your life.  Although the information is free, it will not be effortless for you and your family.  It will take time, motivation, and determination to finish your home.  Stay with it.  It is so worth it!  It took us 2 years to organize our entire homes because we got overwhelmed, discouraged, and distracted so many times.  It is not a race.  Just know that it will take time especially if you have many roles and children that fill your home.

There are two steps to organization which are first the thinking, then the doing.  Most people skip the brainwork and go straight to the housework because they don’t know how to think the project through to completion.  Many people’s problems is that they just don’t know how to think their organization project through.  Well, you are at the right place, because we will teach you how to think it through.  It’s tough to be patient and to go through the thinking phase because it takes time, patience, tough thinking, and decision making.   This is time well spent.  The time spent learning the principles of organization and creating your master plan is critical.  It will save you hundreds of hours of reshuffling time and your husband will love it because he won’t have to move everything so many times!

We don’t want our things to control us, we want to live happy, balanced, intentional lives.  This is a difficult task because in America we have an abundance of material goods.  One of my favorite scriptures is Phillipians 4:13 which states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  It said ALL things, not just some things.  With God nothing is impossible.  I quote this scripture to myself all the time whenever I think there is something I can’t do.  I quote it to myself when I’m in nature childbirth labor or sometimes when I’m pregnant I quote this scripture to myself just to get myself out of bed.  The acronym “I Can Do It!” reminds me of this scripture and helps me remember the 8 steps of organization.  “I Can” stands for the 4 thinking phase words.  “Do it” stands for the 4 steps of the action phase.

“I” stands for Imagine the life of your dreams.  What do you want to experience in your home, family, and life?

“C” stands for Create desire to be organized.  Find your motivation.  Becoming organized is going to take consistency and endurance.  No flash in the pan efforts will organize and maintain your home for you.

“A” stands for Assess what you have, what you need or want, what works, and what doesn’t work.  Write a list of your items, your regions, and discover your families’ organizational style.

“N” stands for Note down your written action plan.  Draw a sketch of your floor plan and put the regions on paper.

“D” stands for Determine the container to fill the space.  Find containers that fill the space with “a perfect fit.”

“O” stands for Organize by removing everything from the space and speed sorting.  For example, remove everything from the closet.  Wash the shelves, dust, vacuum and clean the floor quickly.  Then speed sort into 5 boxes which are labeled Trash, Give Away, Other Room, Storage, and Take Action.  Don’t get sidetracked by putting away the boxes, just stay focused and SORT!  Only put back what you really want, need or use in the closet.

“I” stands for Inscribe on each container.  This means to label all boxes with a marker, labeler, or words or pictures so everyone can put things away correctly.  Inscribing is critical!!!  Do you really think the family can memorize where everything goes in the entire house?  Inscribe on each container so that EVERYONE can put things away EVERYTIME.  Label. Label. Label.

“T” is for the Traits and habits you do to sustain your systems daily.  Create housecleaning systems, good routines, and habits so your home stays clean and organized.  After all, you’ve gone to all the work to organize your home, now maintain it so it stays beautiful.


 “I” stands for Imagine the life of your dreams. .  .

You’re may want to race into an organization project right now, but the first step is to find a quiet time where you won’t have any distractions, grab a pencil and paper and lets create a vision of what you want.

Imagination Exercise #1:   Close your eyes and open up your imagination because we are going to travel through time.  Project yourself 20-40 years into the future.  It’s the day that your last baby is leaving the nest.  You kiss and hug your child goodbye with a joyful song in your heart.  A flood of beautiful memories come back to you as you remember all the good times you have shared together.  You are at peace, satisfied, and happy.  You know that you did your best and your child is ready to create their life.

  • What are you glad that you did?
  • What did you do together?
  • What were those key things that you experienced that brought you great happiness, peace, and joy?
  • What does your home feel like emotionally?
  • What does your dream home look like?  (It’s everything you ever wanted – don’t limit yourself mentally or financially right now.)
  • What are the aromas of your home?
  • What sounds did you enjoy in that home?
  • What were the meals like that you enjoyed together?
  • What are those critical things that happened for my children to be prepared to embark into the world?
  • What was my relationship with my husband like?

Visualize it.  Write down your vision of your successful life that you experienced in great detail.

When I did this exercise I realized that enjoying nature with the people I love was very important for me.  I didn’t know that before, so now I make a conscience choice to enjoy nature daily.

Imagination Exercise #2:  Imagine organizing your home and hostessing an open house in 90 days to show it to your girlfriends.  Really go there mentally.  What does your home look and feel like?  What does the ideal day look like now?  The home you want in 20-30 years is going to be in reality happen in 90 days.

Imagination Exercise #3:  Write down a goal affirmation statement of what your home will be like.  For example, my sister wrote “I create moments worth remembering, spaces worth seeing, and my relationships eclipse fairytales.”

Goal affirmation statement

Make your goal affirmation as beautiful as you want - or write it on a notecard and tape it up.

Imagination Exercise #4: Make 5 copies of your goal affirmation and post it in several places in your home.

Goal affirmation statement

Write down your ideal life goal affirmation statment and post it.

Imagination Exercise #5:  Declare your statement of what you want to 5 people.

“C” stands for Create desire to be organized.

You need to create strong desire to get and stay organized.  What motivates you?  Learning the doctrine of organization will motivate you over the long haul more than anything else.  So get your TRUTH and live it!  I have written my truth about organization below.  What is your truth?  Decide why you want to get organized and then move through the additional strategies to create what you want in 90 days.

Creating Desire Exercise #1:  Live in TRUTH

Here’s the truth that I’ve learned that motivates me to be organized.  Heavenly Father is a God of order and we should strive to be like Him.  He created the world and did a beautiful job.  He is happy and at peace and he wants me and my family to be happy and at peace also.  The Lord creates order as I look at the world around me.  Everyday I notice the sun come up and the seasons change.  Heavenly Father is showing me that he is simply up and moving through his routine.  He has created systems that perpetuate order and beauty.  Beauty is not a choice for Him.  He creates something beautiful everyday – a sunset, a rainbow, a flower, or a child.  So likewise, I choose to maintain and beautify my home everyday just like Him.  What is your truth?  Why do you think it’s important to get organized?  Is there a reason beyond yourself?  You need a really big WHY.  Your WHY needs to be so big that it will get you through when you get sidetracked and discouraged.  What’s your WHY?

Creating Desire Exercise #2:  Make a Deadline

Although an orderly home is what most people want, often we struggle to finish organizing and maintaining a home. For my family and I deadlines are  very motivating.  When we have a party everyone helps cheerfully, especially my husband, because we don’t want all our friends to think we’re a mess.  So one strategy to motivate yourself could be to plan a party to have in 90 days.  Check out the article on How to Organize Your Home and Family in 90 days.  Write down on your calender that in 12 weeks you are going to have an open house tour or a party for your friends to see your newly organized home.  Creating accountability and deadlines is very motivating!

Creating Desire Exercise #3:  Get a Buddy

You need an accountability buddy to check in with everyday to see how your progressing on your goal.  Find a friend.  Ask them to support you in your goal by talking to you on the phone for 3-5 minutes everyday.  Each day state your goal.  We all hit roadblocks and have distractions and interruptions.  You need a buddy to cheer you on and help you see around roadblocks and stay focused!

Creating Desire Exercise #4:  Count the Cost

Write a List of Pro’s and Con’s on what disorganization is costing you.  Make a 2 column list.  On one side write “What is disorganization & clutter costing me in the past, present, & future?  In the next column write “How will organization and a clutter-free home benefit me?”  In my list I wrote the following under Financially:  By not taking the time to write a grocery list I impulse purchase or I have to go to the store multiple times to get what I need for dinner which means that I waste money, time, and gas.  On the Pro side I wrote:  By writing a menu and a list I buy what I need so I am prepared for the week and I save money, time, and gas.”  You want to create peace in your mind when you think of organization and pain when you think of disorganization, because although it’s easier to drop things where ever we want, it really causes more work later.  Later you’ll have to pick it up, throw it out, or hang it up.  Or you’ll choose to do what’s even harder and try to get someone else to pick it up.  I attached pain to disorganization in my mind instead of ease and pleasure.  It helped me change.  This exercise is worth your time because it helps you realize how you are suffering and decide if you’re ready to improve.

Creating Desire Exercise #5:  Do it for yourself

Do it because it makes you happy.  Do it because you want the skill.  Do it because you want to be able to find things and do things.  Do it because you want to live in a peaceful place.  Just do it!

Creating Desire Exercise #6: Do it for your husband

Get organized because you want to create a peaceful place for your husband to enjoy.  He is important to you and your children.  One research study shows that issues dealing with a messy home is the number one conflict in marriage!  You can make your marriage more peaceful and happy by creating an organized home.  Show him how you appreciate him by creating a beautiful, happy home for him.

Creating Desire Exercise #7:  Do it for your children

Children who grow up in an orderly home, even if they tend to be messy, will inherit a standard of order that they will return to as adults.  Remember Proverbs 22: 6  “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Is your house cleaning program worthy of repetition?  Organize your home so your children can have that blessing in their life.

Creating Desire Exercise #8:  The Stick or the Carrot?

People are motivated by the carrot or the stick.  You can bribe yourself just like you would hang a carrot in front of a rabbit’s nose to get him to come where you want.  Hang a carrot for yourself with money, food, fun, or a gift. For example, my friend will let herself have a lemon candy if she practices her violin for 2-4 hours.  I know it sounds funny, but it motivates her, so maybe it will work for you.  Is there something you want to buy?  Put a dollar in a jar every time you finish your organization project for the week.  Write on the jar what you are going to purchase at the end of 90 days.  Even a dollar goes a long way at a thrift store.  Does chocolate sound motivating?

The Stick is another motivator.  You could give yourself a consequence if that’s what you need.  You could tell yourself “I won’t go on my date night or my girl’s night out if I don’t get my organization project done for the week.”

Creating Desire Exercise #9:  Understand your personality style.

Once you understand the 4 different personalities styles it can help you understand yourself and what motivates you.  Are you red, yellow, blue, or white?  Everyone is a combination of colors however we are usually predominately one color.  I’m going to tell you some of the pro’s and con’s about each personality.  Reds love to lead and direct people but sometimes they work too much.  Yellow people love to party and are fun but they struggle finishing things and creating good limits.  Blues are compassionate and love to help others, but sometimes they take care of too many people and don’t take care of their own well-being.  Whites love peace. information, research, planning, but sometimes they struggle to make decisions.

  • Red Personality Tips:  Make yourself a deadline.  Buy the invitations and put the open house tour on your calender.  Post your goal affirmation all around your house, declare your goal to 5 people, and call your buddy each day for 5 minutes to tell them how you are doing on your goal.  Try to make it fun along the way.
  • Yellow Personality Tips:  Make it a party so you can party more.  Create synergy.  Get a buddy or if you are alone start all your mechanical buddies like your dishwasher, washer, dryer, vacuum, and music.  Can you feel all the synergy you’ve created!  It sounds like a party!  Get your momentum going and nothing can stop you.
  • Blue Personality Tips:  It’s not selfish for  you to organize your home.  It blesses you and your family too.  Being organized allows you to have your life in order so you can give from a full well.  Organize your home because you’re worth it!  Remember to take some time for yourself along the journey too!
  • White Personality Tips:  Don’t fall into the “preparation hesitation” or “indecision” trap.  Just decide what you want and go for it!  Do you want an organized home?  You can have it.  It doesn’t have to be perfect in 90 days.  Anyway, a home is like a person, always changing, constantly evolving – never completely done.  Just imagine how peaceful your home will feel by starting to get organized today.

Discover your truth.  Discover your WHY.  Imagine the life you want.  Create desire.  Now let’s get to work!

“A” stands for Assess what is happening in your home and what you want to happen.

  1. Assess what works.
  2. Assess what doesn’t work.
  3. Assess what you need.
  4. Assess your family’s organizational style.  what organizational style is the best fit for your family.
    sit in a chair and rotate all 4 directions north, south, east and west.

1.  Assess what works:

Get a clipboard and walk through your home or look at just one room at a time. What areas stay clean?  Why?

  • Does the room stay clean because there are no flat surfaces?
  • Does it stay clean because your family has a habit of putting things away?

If you can’t figure out what is working in your home then talk it through with a buddy.

2.  Assess what doesn’t work:

Take your clipboard and write down where you see piles of clutter.  This is where your family has a tendency to dump items.  Why is it there?  Look honestly at the situation without emotion.  (No guilt, anger, or sadness.)

  • Is it because the item doesn’t have a home?
  • Is it too hard to put away?
  • Is it because your someone unloads there pockets right there everyday?
  • Is it because there are too many toys for toddlers to pick up?
  • 3.  Assess what you need?
    Take your clipboard and decide how many toys your family can pick up.  Decide how many outfits your children need to wear?  If you laundry once a week then you may need 7-9 outfits for your children.  If you do laundry twice a week then you need 3-4 outfits for your children.
  • My children can pick up two toys; the train and the golf ball run.  Everything else goes on vacation to the garage and they can bring in a new toy when another toy goes out.

*Tip:  Find a buddy to help you through the thinking phase.  Thinking the project through truly is the hardest part.  It’s 80% of the work and the doing is the other 20%.  Sometimes it’s difficult to think it through or to see your space in a new way so it’s helpful to get a buddy.  Even if you only talk your house through with your buddy, they may be able to help you figure out a better way.

*Tip #2:  Pray.  Whenever I go to a friend’s home to help organize we say a prayer to be productive, make decisions, and accomplish something.  Whenever we haven’t prayed we don’t accomplish as much.

4.  Discover your families organizational style.

  • Most families with children have a very low ability style.  You need to look at what is working in your home and what is not working.  Where do things stay organized?  Why?  Where are their piles and constant disorganization?  Why?  In my playroom the carpet was always littered with toys.  I asked myself “What is the problem?  Why don’t they pick it up?  Who is dumping out the 10 containers of toys?  We’d pick up over 1,000 toy pieces every few days which takes a ton of time, energy, motivation, children complaining and dawdling.  After I asked these hard questions I realized that it was the toddler that was dumping everything out.  He loved the sound of the Legos as they crashed onto the floor.  My children weren’t playing with the toys they were just dumping the toys out.  The room was messy, so they would take the toy or game they wanted and go into a clean room to play and create a new mess.  Does this sound familiar?  We assessed our children’s toy habits and created a new plan of action.  All puzzles, games, and learning activities were put on a high shelf where the toddler can not get to it.  We leave out 2 bins of toys such as the train and a miscellaneous box for the younger children to play with easily.  We sent the rest of the toys on vacation in the garage and when we’re bored of our 2 toy bins we exchange them for new ones.
  • Discover your personality style, clothing style, and home decoration style. 
    Everyone has different personality styles, clothing styles, and home decor styles.  Imagine what your dream home would look like.  There are no time or price limits as you imagine the home of your dreams.  Dream big. Do you think the ultimate would be a little beach house in Hawaii?  Can you imagine yourself in a country parlor sipping tea?  Or do you think a European Estate would be more your style.  Do you see yourself lounging in a rustic cabin near a fireplace? Keep that picture and write it down.
  • *Note:  Don’t think that I’m saying you have to get a more expensive home or live in some exotic land.  But a little imagination can go a long way to create the home you desire right now.

Is it too hard for your family to put things away because they can’t see it, reach it, find it because it’s not labeled, etc.?  What are the habits of your family?.  What will they do daily?  Is it too hard to keep your house clean?  We wanted our children to unload the dishwasher daily, so we put the dishes in the low cupboards to make it achievable for them.  When company comes they’re always surprised that the cups are low but they can still get a cup and our children are giving a valuable service to the family.  Remember, make a workable lifestyle for your family.  After all, they are the most important people in your life.  Design a home that blesses them instead of putting the guests who visit your home first.  Put your family first by working with their habits and what they will maintain.

  • “Make things easier to put away, then they are to get out.”  This means that if something is difficult to put away or it take more than one step, the family probably won’t do it.  Because of this rule I have got rid of most of the lids in my home.  If a container has a lid it takes 3 steps:  open the lid, put the item in, shut the lid.  My family won’t do that many steps to put something away.  So we got rid of the lids and now all they have to do is throw the item in.  One step is doable.  For example, in our front room everyone likes to kick off their shoes and relax.  If I asked everyone to put their shoes on nice wooden shoe racks, it would be a life-long project for me.  So instead I got a giant basket and everyone can flip their shoes in and keep the house looking neat and clean.  The shoe basket follows the rule “Make things easier to put away, then they are to get out” because the shoes are easy to throw in, and harder to get out.  People will go to the effort to get their shoes out because they can’t go without them.  It makes it easy to keep the house clean.  It works.

“N” stands for Note down your items, regions, and floor plan, and decide on your regions.  Write down what you own, the regions you desire, number the regions, draw a floor plan of your room or home and put the region numbers in the sketch.  There is power in the pen.  Do not skip this thinking and designing step!  Writing can affect change in one’s life because it speeds up the thinking process and it helps us make decisions so we can take action.  Note down all the Assessing steps you thought about.  Note the items you have in your bedroom.  Note down the regions you desire.  It’s good to have only about 3-5 regions per room.  If you have too many it’s hard to stay organized.  Write a number by the region such as 1-sleeping, 2- studying, 3-dressing, etc.  Use a pencil so you can erase for the next step.  Draw a simple sketch or blueprint of your room and then write the region number where you want the activity to take place.  If you decide to change the region right now it’s easy because it’s on paper, so don’t sweat it.  Plan on a proper and perfect fit.  How do you find the perfect fit?  Use the following tips to help you to determine the region.

Assess what you want.  Decide the regions you want in your room/ house.
What regions or activities do you need and want in your bedroom such as dressing, sleeping, studying, etc.?  Do you have a scripture study region in your room or reading region?  Decide where you will study and then put “like items with like items” such as your scriptures, journal, pens, pencils, all on your desk.  Put things where they are first used.  My Grandma Cooper taught me, “You need to have a place for everything, and put everything in its place.”  You may only have 5 minutes to read your scriptures daily, so you need to always put the scriptures away in their home or you will spend your 5 minutes searching for your scriptures instead of reading them.

The Rules to Deciding Region:

1-       Learn to apply the” Place of First Use Rule.” This rule means that you put things away where you first use them.

  • Ask yourself “Where do I first use this item?”  Then put the home right where you use it.  For example, put away the silverware in a drawer next to the dishwasher so it’s easy and efficient instead of across the kitchen where it would take multiple steps to put them away. Or if you are getting dressed you need to have all the dressing items in the dressing region.  That means you need to put the shoes, clothes, dirty clothes basket, and jewelry all together in the dressing region.
  • Move furniture to its home.  If you’re always moving furniture so you can be more comfortable, maybe you should put that item there as its permanent home.  Design your home to be first comfortable for your family, secondly to impress the neighbors.  For example, we put a recliner in our kitchen so our dad could relax with us and still be with us when we’re cooking and cleaning and he’s tired and wants to relax.

2-   Put “Like with Like.”

  • Putting like with like means that you put all similar items away together so like items are in their region such as putting all the spices together in the kitchen so you can go to one place to find them.  We make whole wheat pancakes from scratch almost every morning.  So we put all the ingredients in one cupboard.  Then we taped the recipe inside the cupboard door so you just open the cupboard, bring all the ingredients down to the counter, grab a big bowl, get the eggs out the fridge, and mix together.  Putting everything away is a cinch because you lift everything off the counter up the cupboard above.  We used to have the ingredients all over the kitchen so it took a lot more time to find everything and mix.  Now, it’s so easy that my 8 year old can find all the ingredients and make pancakes from scratch every morning before school.

3-      Remember the “prime real estate rule.”  Put the most often used item in the easiest to access spot.  Ask “Where do I first use this item?”  Give each items an A, B, C, or D priority.

  • A items:  Daily use items which are put away from knee to eye level in your home.  If it’s used daily it’s an “A” priority item.  For example, in a kitchen you might have the phone, toaster, salt and pepper in this “A” priority area.
  • B items:  Weekly use items which are putaway below knee level.  For example, in the kitchen I put buckets of wheat, oats, and Ziploc freezer bags at this level.
  • C items:  Monthly use items which are put away above eye level.  For example, I put molasses, chocolate chips, pie tins, and nuts at this level.
  • D items:  Used Less often than once a month can be put away in another room where you have space.  For example, I put my canning jars in the garage because I use them about once a year.  Ask yourself if you could get rid of any of the “D” items?

Put a priority grade A, B,C, D, next to your items list.  Look at your design plan.  Excellent!  Now you have a written master plan!

“D” stands for Determine the right container to fill the space. 

  • The rule here is “Make things easier to put away, than they are to get out.”
  • Find plastic or cardboard boxes to fill the space to the edge.  For example, if you have space in front of the toothpaste container, then most people will set the toothpaste in front of the box instead of in the box.  If the container goes to the edge then people are more likely to put it away correctly.  Measure your space and get the right container that fits exactly.  You might have to put a box behind your container so the container goes to the edge.  That way there is no dumping ground available.
  • Beware of big flat areas, because they are prime dumping grounds – things like dressers, counters, coffee tables will be dumped if you do not designate an easily accessible home for family items.
  • Try to get rid of lids so people can put things away with one swift movement.
  • Also find a container that fills the space vertically only about 70%.  For example if you have a box called electronic devices and it vertically touches the next shelf, then people have to do 3 steps to put things away – pull out the box, drop the item, push back the box.  But if the box has 4 inches of clearance above the box you can drop the item in with one swift action.
  • Try to leave 20% of space in the container for future growth.

“O” stands for Organize by removing everything from the space, clean it, and speed sort into 5 boxes.  This is the step where people usually start, but if you were patient and did the thinking steps first – it will be much better in the long run.

Organization Steps:

1-To organize it’s important to take every item out of the space.  For example, take everything out of your closet, even if you know it’s going back into the closet.  Just take it out for right now.  You will be surprised what you find and how it opens your mind to new possibilities.

2-      Clean the space.

3-      Get 5 boxes and label them Trash, Goodwill, Other Room, Take Action, and Storage.

4-      Sort items into your boxes in seconds, not minutes.  Each box is important.  You need the trash for trash.  You need the Goodwill box to give the good stuff away that you don’t have a use for anymore.  Don’t have a garage sale – it takes too much time, stress, energy, and pays too little for your valuable time, just give it to the Goodwill or any thrift shop that will take it.  That way you don’t have to waste 3 Saturdays preparing for a garage sale just to earn $100 dollars.  Your time is more valuable than that.  Give it to Goodwill and don’t worry about distributing everything of value to friends and family either.  It will clutter up your home and they probably don’t need it.  The Other Room box is for the items that go to the other room.  Don’t put the Other Room box away until you’re done sorting or you may get distracted, start a new project, and never finish.  Stay focused.  The Take Action box is for things you need to fix or urgent to do items.  Don’t do them yet, just keep speed sorting.  The Storage box is for things that you need to store elsewhere.


It’s really hard to get rid of things of value that we are not using, because someday we think we may need it.  We may be tempted to rent a storage unit for all that valuable stuff, however that costs money monthly.  I have 2 free storage facilities I use which are my garage and the D.I.  I bag up stuff I don’t need and put it in the garage or give it to Goodwill to store for me, then I can buy it back when I need it.  My family and I were picking up about 1,000 toys every week because we have legos, train sets, dress ups, puzzles, which was overtaking our house and our daily life.  We kept 2 toys in the house and put the rest in the garage where it’s not easy to access.  When we’re ready for a new toy, we take out the toys we’re tired of and bring in the new toys. My other free storage facility is the D.I.  I can get rid of stuff and then if I need it a year or two later I can go back to the D.I. where they stored it for me for free and I can buy it again very cheaply!  The truth is that if we don’t weed our homes of the unnecessary often, the weeds take over.

*Declutter Tip:  Don’t those piles and stashes all over the home weigh you down?  Does it cause anxiety as you wonder what actually is in those piles?  Hopefully, it’s nothing important.  Do you have L.U.M.P’s and piles all over the house?  Does it make you feel like a lump on a log?  How about we loose 20 pounds today!  Actually, 20 pounds of junk that is.  Oh yeah!  It’s hard to make decisions especially when organizing and decluttering.  Using the acronym L.U.M.P. is helpful to help make quick decisions.

L is for “Do I love it?” U is for “Do I use it?” M is “Will I miss it?”  Two No’s, out it goes.  P is for “Pass it on.” 

It’s time to take charge of our surroundings.  It’s time to take back our homes and cast these clutter-space-invaders into outer space!  It’s time to declutter, lighten up and live in our home!  If you still struggle deciding then get a buddy to help you decide or put the stuff in the garage and give yourself a 24 hour decision deadline.  If you still can’t decide then throw it out, – you probably don’t need it, use it, or really want it.

“I” stands for Inscribe on each container.  This means you need to label everything!  Inscribing is a critical key in sustaining your organization work.  My organization teacher didn’t believe in Inscribing so she experimented by labeling half her house and half her house she didn’t.  Then she timed herself.  She was 12 times more efficient in the labeled areas of her home!

If you want to be the only one that can clean the home correctly that’s great – Don’t label.  Don’t identify.  Don’t inscribe.  My dream is to ponder books, scriptures, history, and dream up beautiful masterpieces.  I want an orderly home too.  So I inscribe on everything.  Inscribing frees me to dream because I don’t have to be a walking- talking –put-away- database.  My family can put things away correctly without my constant help and supervision.  If you want the whole family to help you, then make it easy for them.  Label.  Identify.  Inscribe.  Young children can’t read so you can print out pictures off the computer of shirts, pants, socks, shoes, and tape it on their bins or dresser.  Then even the 2 year old can put things away.

Then they can clean and find things even without you home.  My friend was using my sewing machine while I was gone and she broke a needle.  She was sad because she wanted to finish but she didn’t know where a screwdriver was.  She entered my fully labeled mudroom and found a screwdriver because she found the box labeled Tools!  She was ecstatic because she was able to finish her project!

Life is easier on the parent who organizes because when you’re organized you don’t have to memorize where the 10,000 objects go in your home.  You can organize it, inscribe on it and let it go.  You can spend time thinking about what you want to instead of always thinking “Where is that?”  The statement “Where is a screwdriver?” doesn’t send you on a search party.  The house is labeled, the family are trained to put things away correctly and so you can find it.  It’s a beautiful thing.  And if you have a husband and kids they can unravel everything you have done.

Use a marker and masking tape, or a labeler, or your computer to make your labels.  They should be neat, printed, non-cursive, readable labels that a kindergartner could read.  It’s really worth the time and money to buy a labeler or use a computer because it looks so official, neat, and clean and people really can read it.  Plus, label tape is laminated so stays clean and neat much longer and can be washed.  When I use the computer you can put it in plastic sheet protectors and tape on the cupboard or box, or laminate it with wide packing tape so it stays nice and is washable and it stays put.

“T” is for the Traits and habits you have that will sustain your systems daily.  Creating good traits and habits is important or your work will become unraveled.  I wish we could have a discussion on what are the most life-changing habits in you life.  Recently I had this discussion with my cousins and one person said that overcoming the phrase “I can’t” was the most life changing for her.  Another said daily prayer was the most life changing for him.  Decide on the habits you want to have in your life and then have a family meeting to discover what habits your family wants to have.  My 7 Habits of highly effective wifehood and motherhood are the following:

1-      Physical Habit:  Get enough sleep.  Establish a set bedtime, rising time, and nap time that is energizing.  I get enough sleep so I can wake up from 5 to 7 a.m. to make my creative dreams come true.  If I  am starting to feel depressed my #1 question to ask is “Am I sleep deprived?”  The answer is usually “yes” and so I know that once I get my sleep under control again, my brain heal, and I will feel normal again.  A man has a body, a woman is her body.

2-      Physical Habit:  Get dressed down to shoes and put on makeup within as early in the day as I can – definitely before my husband gets home from work in the evening.  Exercise 3 days a week.  Go outside and get daily fresh air and sunshine.

3-      Scheduling Habit:  Work with a planner and calendar.  I’ve tried working from planners, lists on the fridge, and right now I use a 4 x 6 inch clipboard which is nice because I can throw it in my purse and then I know what to buy at the store.  It’s always open to the right page whereas a planner has to be opened to the right page.  My most important hour of the week is my Monday morning planning meeting with myself, my list, and my calendar.  If Mom’s organized – the whole family’s organized!

4-      Spiritual Habit:  Put first things first every day.  Put God first daily by read scriptures, writing, planning and praying for a few minutes each day.  I decide on a service focus for the day.  Then prioritize your stewardships which is first your husband, then children, extended family, church, community, and the world.  I try to do what my husband asks each day as #1 priority.  For example, if he wants me to pay a bill, that’s my number one priority for the day.  That way he knows he comes first!  Follow the Holy Spirit to know your focus.  I love writing.  I write in a journal so I can see the hand of God in my life.  I write my focus on a post-it note and put it on my clipboard because I figure every day is worth a post-it note and I can’t get much more done than a post-it note each day which is about 2-items.

5-      Children Training Habit:  Children need 3 things to grow up healthy and happy.  Each of these area are like the legs on a 3 pillared stool.  If any of the legs are missing, your child will not have a good foundation for a happy, stable childhood and adulthood.  All three are critical.  Let’s hear a drumroll please for the grand 3.  They are in priority order the need for gospel teaching and living, the ability to work and the ability to play.  Don’t let the simpleness of these 3 skills dismiss them in your minds for they are the “meat of life”.  Don’t give your children twaddle, shallow, and fluff activities to fill their time.  They hunger for meat, for truth, for knowledge, light, and wisdom.  Seek the meat and then give it to them.  Challenge them to do something difficult every day.  Teach them to be Christ-like, to be finishers, and to find gratitude and joy.  Help them gain these skills.  Don’t wait until they are old.  Start when they are 2 years old or younger.  Train daily.

6-      Cleaning Habit:  Clean the kitchen every night and start the dishwasher.  Then in the morning we have clean dishes and we can cook breakfast easily.  The kitchen is the heart of the home.  If it’s clean, all the rest of the home will follow.  Clean it up after every meal.  I used to only clean the kitchen when I was in the mood.  Every morning was depressing because it was difficult to clean the crusty, dried up food off the dinner dishes and pans.  I had to force myself to dig out the kitchen so I could make breakfast.  This single habit has changed my home more than any other habit.  After I committed to this new habit I would wake up each morning and think, “Why is my house so clean?  Is company coming over?”  Waking up to a clean kitchen makes me feel excited to cook breakfast.  I enjoy eating and conversing with my family so much more!

7-      Cleaning Habit:  Organize the housekeeping.  I use the Creation plan where each day gets a cleaning focus.  If I don’t get the job finished it can be done the next day, but I know I have a plan, so each week I don’t have to re-invent the wheel on the cleaning plan.

  1. Sunday – Rest, Church, Family Council, Visit Family
  2. Monday  – Plan for 1 hour, Family Home Evening
  3. Tuesday – Laundry
  4. Wednesday – Papers
  5. Thursday – Plants/ Yard
  6. Friday – Errands, Date
  7. Saturday – Honeydo’s & Recreation

Extra Habit #8-  Maintenance Habit: “Touch things once and put it away correctly the first time.”

*Warning:  Organizing a home takes time!  It took me 2 years to organize my whole house because I’d work for a month, then I’d take 3 months off because I was overwhelmed and discouraged.  Don’t power out.  Keep going!  It’s worth it!  After I finally got it organized it took me another two years to train my husband and children on reading labels and putting things away correctly.  I don’t think habits take 21 days because I’ve tried that and I usually quit or forget my new habit after 1 or 2 weeks.  I think it takes 2 years for something to become a permanent habit in your life.  It took me 2 years to develop the habit to read the scriptures daily, but now daily scripture reading is on auto-pilot.  Habits and organization are challenging. It’s so wonderful once you’ve done it!  Imagine it being easy to clean, cook, pack, unpack, decorate, find things, and live deliberately the life of your dreams.  Be patient!  Plod along.  Say it, “I Can Do It!



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