Monday, August 4, 2014

Three Great Secrets to Organization

This article is about organization. Do not laugh at me, please. Just because I’m not organized doesn’t mean I don’t know how to be organized, does it?

After all, I have a Mother Who Knows. She has told me how. For me, it’s simply a matter of self-discipline and enforcing what I already know. Ouch.

Painful thought it might be, friends, isn’t this where our problem lies? Most of us know how to be organized — we are aware of calendars, file folders, and alarm clocks. We just can’t seem to make ourselves follow through. And at this point many homeschoolers become discouraged and consider placing their children in an institutional school, conveniently forgetting the disadvantages and simply admiring the structure and order the school provides.

Alas, such homeschoolers do not know the Three Great Secrets of Organization. I do. No, I am not all-wise — I have a Mother Who Knows, remember? And my wise Mother Who Knows has taught me these secrets and they have helped me, yea, even one who is as Haphazardly Dizzy-Headed as I.

Secret Number One
Clean your house first. “Ha!” you say. “If I had time to clean my house, I’d have time to organize it. Don’t be ridiculous.” No, no. I am not talking about scrubbing, mopping, and dusting. I am talking basics — wash the dishes, do some laundry, pick up clutter. These things should be done first, before you go anywhere or do anything else in the morning. Make it part of your daily routine.

In our family, my Mother Who Knows made this simple rule: Immediately after breakfast, everyone spends 1-2 hours doing chores. This means scrubbing and sweeping the kitchen, making beds, tidying all rooms, cleaning bathroom countertops, and folding laundry. Yes, every day. Before school. Before errands.

While we obviously make occasional exceptions in occasionally exceptional circumstances, this is our family practice to this day. And let me tell you, as a Haphazard Dizzy-Head, this is the only thing that has kept me from being swallowed by my own disorganization. It works for me. It can work for you.

Secret Number Two
Share the work. You’re not trying to tidy the whole house yourself, are you? Oh, don’t do that. How excruciating! Recruit your Little Chickies to be Little Helpers. This is Home Ec., after all. It takes skill and knowledge to run a household well and your Little Chickies should learn early and learn well.

By the time my sister and I were about nine, we were each assigned certain rooms to clean every day — our own room, a bathroom, and one extra room each. This meant, among other things, making beds, putting away all clutter, disinfecting bathrooms sinks and counters, and straightening or replacing towels. Tip: our Mother Who Knows inspected our work every day because she not only knows about housecleaning, she knows about lazy and careless young children.

“But in the time it takes me to teach Johnny the chore and check up on him every day, I could do it myself!” you groan. This is probably true. But cheer up! A few extra hours with Johnny for a few weeks will pay off in the long run. Not to mention that Johnny will learn some important life skills — housecleaning, being faithful to instructions, accountability, and being organized.

Secret Number Three
Stay home more. Isn’t it funny how homeschooling families forget the word “home” in “homeschool”? They run hither and thither, participating in co-ops, field trips, music lessons, sports, church activities, etc. These things are fine in moderation. But the home is very important. It is the nerve center of your family, the "home base" for everything you do.

How can you be organized if you never remain home to do so? Stay home, especially in the mornings. Get the housework and schoolwork done and save selected special activities for afternoon. Guard your time. No, do not check your phone right now. It will disrupt and derail you. No, do not get on your computer right now. Save it for down time this afternoon, not during morning chores or school time.

These Three Great Secrets are tried and true. They are truly useful to Haphazard Dizzy-Heads like myself. And believe me, if they can work for me, they can work for you. Give it a try!

Written by Raquelle Sheen

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