Step 3: Assess what’s happening

“A” stands for Assess what’s happening in the home.

  1. Assess what’s working and what’s not working in the house.
  2. Assess your family’s organizational style.
  3. Understand yourself.  Understand your personality style, clothing style, and decor style.
  4. Understand your stuff.

Every family is a riddle.  Every family and house are different.  The Queen Bee needs to figure out what’s going on in the home good and bad, figure out what the family will do and then create a workable plan to create a happy, humming hive.

1.  Assess what’s working

Get a clipboard and walk through your home and write down where the home is clean and clutter-free. What areas are organized?  Why?

Or look at just one room at a time and figure out what’s going on.  Sit in a chair and rotate all 4 directions north, south, east and west.

  • Does the room stay clean because there are no flat surfaces?
  • Does it stay clean because of the families habits?
  • Why?  Why?  Why?

Assess what’s not working:

Take a clipboard and paper and walk through your home.  Write down where you see piles and natural clutter centers happening.  Later, ponder and figure out why each clutter area is there.This is where your family has a tendency to dump items.  Why is it there?  Look honestly at the situation without emotion.  (This is hard, but really we don’t want a lot of guilt, anger, or sadness.  Let’s just try to do something about it.)

Be brave and brutal.  It may be uncomfortable to ask these soul-searching questions, but it will help you in your 90 day journey to get organized.

Don’t feel bad about the clutter.  Some reasons the clutter piles could be there could be the following:

  • The items don’t have a home.
  • It’s too hard for the family to put away correctly.
  • The family doesn’t have good habits.
  • Things are not labeled.
  • There are too many emotional attachments and guilt trips attached to objects.
  • Is the house too small?
  • Is Christmas too big?
  • Are birthday presents too many?
  • Are gifts your love language?
  • Are books spilling out of the bookcases?  Why?
  • Is their adequate shelving, hooks, and containers for stuff?
  • Do you have enough storage space?
  • Are the crisis zones of the kitchen and laundry being managed well?
  • Is their a house cleaning maintenance system?
  • Where are there piles of papers?  Why are they there?
  • Are there piles of clothes?  Why?
  • Is it because your someone unloads there pockets right there everyday?
  • Is it because there are too many toys for toddlers to pick up?

*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, together you may be able to help you figure out a better way to organize your home.

*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.

2.  Discover your families organization style & skills.

  • What organizational style is best for your family?
  • Does the family have low, medium, or high ability levels?  (Are you dealing with untrained toddlers or well-trained teenagers?)
  • Do they have low, medium, or high organization skills?  How well does the family clean and maintain?  (Have the children been taught how to sweep a floor?  It takes several repetitions of teaching until they get it.)

Also, figure out what kind of a cleaning and organization lifestyle you want?  Do you want a low, medium, or high organization level in your home.  Although a high level would be ideal, my family and I choose a medium level which is flexible, workable, and maintainable for our family.

Have a family council meeting to figure out what kind of a cleaning lifestyle your family wants.  Somehow you need to figure out how to get the family involved and united about maintaining a clean and organized home.

  • 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.

“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.

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.

3.  Understand yourself.
Discover your personality, clothing, and home decor style.

Understanding your style is not to label ourselves or others, but to help you understand yourself, validate your style, and allow you the freedom to fly where your heart desires!

  • Figure out what your clothing style is. – There are 6 main clothing styles:  Dramatic, Sporty, Natural, Classic, Romantic, and Artsy.  Read The Confident You:  A guide to Eternal Beauty by Barbara Barrington Jones and Kris MacKay.
  • Discover your home decor style. – There are 6 main decor styles which are Contemporary, Country Charm, Rustic, Oriental, European Opulence, and Eclectic.  If you understand these styles and which one you are then you can save a lot of time, money, and heartache by first, giving yourself permission to be the style that you are, secondly by not buying things you really won’t enjoy in the long-term, and third by not wasting your time decorating in a style you don’t enjoy.  Read the book Decorating Rich:  How to Achieve a Monied Look Without Spending a Fortuneby Teri; Cohen, Sherry Suib Seidman which is a quick read that teaches you to understand your decorative style.
  • Discover your personality color.  There are 4 main personality styles designated by color Red, White, Yellow and Blue.  Read The Color Code by Taylor Hartman Ph.D.(These books are available for purchase at the Amazon House Organization Bookstore under the Relationship Tips & Organization Category. )

4.  Understand Your Stuff.

How do material goods come into your house?  How do items exit the home? How is the flow going?  If more clutter is coming in, than is going out, then a clutter center is going to erupt.

Let’s look at the Home In-Flow:

  • How are things coming in the home?  (Look realistically at oneself, one’s spouse, the children, relatives, in-laws, neighbors, and shopping habits,)
  • Look at the families shopping habits.
  • Do you shop for fun or for needs?  If you shop for fun, could you choose a different hobby that you’d enjoy more?  Remember, that everything you own, owns a piece of you.  Each object requires an investment of time, energy, and money to fix it, find it, find a home for it, repair it, learn about it, etc.  Would you be just as happy with a different hobby other than shopping?  that wouldn’t require so much work, since when you shop you are acquiring something you willAre people giving you gifts you don’t need?  Remember, the rule if something comes in, then something needs to go out.  Have faith that you will have what you need and let go what you don’t.  Flow will come into your life because there truly is enough and to spare of material goods on the earth.
  • What do material objects mean to you?  If gifts are your love language than you may have an additional challenge in creating a clutter-free, peaceful home.
  • Are people giving you things?
  • Can you absorb what you need and give the rest away?
  • Is the family bringing in more than the house can handle?Your spouse and children need to realize that if they bring things into the home, that can only happen if there is room and good habits in place.  If there isn’t room for extra or the family won’t pick up their stuff, then the clutter has to go!  A peaceful, happy home is more important than stuff.  Declutter and enjoy the peace.

Let’s look at the Home Out-Flow:

  • How do things flow out of the home? (Is there a designated Donation box always available to be filled up.)
  • Are things flowing out as fast as they are flowing in?
  • Is there a donation box ready and waiting at all times to be filled and taken away?Assessing what’s going on, understanding yourself and your family is really one of the hardest steps.  It’s the step most people don’t do because they don’t know where to start because it’s thinking, not doing.

    Write down your findings and let’s go on to the next step:  Note down your Regions!

    You CAN think it through!

    Krystal Meldrum

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