Monday, January 9, 2012

The Key to Staying Organized

It is rather simple (though maybe time consuming) to clean and organize a home, the greater challenge is to keep it that way.

Keeping a house organized requires the discipline of regular upkeep. It means returning items to their place and encouraging my family to do the same. I have found, the key to an organized home is what I call "margin."

Organizing a closet,  bookshelf, or drawer is fun. Fitting the items in a neat organized manner is like working a puzzle. But if I wedge every item together closely, stacked tightly with no margin, the organization will not last.

We are all familiar with the margins on a page. It is the white space which makes a book easier to read. Another definition in the dictionary of margin is "an amount beyond what is needed." When organizing a home, if I allow empty space, space beyond what is presently needed, the space stays organized far longer.

I can't expect my children to replace a book when the books on the shelf are wedged so tightly that not even a magazine can squeeze in. The art drawer will be in shambles if every time they get out the scissors, they need to pick up three other items on top. No child, or even adult, will be encouraged to hang up their coat if the closet is stuffed to the gills.

The problem is that most of us own too much stuff for the amount of space in our home. I'm trying to learn to be ruthless. If the books don't all fit easily on the shelf, some need another home. If the kitchen drawer is overflowing, something is added to the giveaway pile. Planning for margin in my home has been wonderfully freeing.

I found that margin  is the key to time management as well.

What do you consider key in staying organized?

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11 comments :

  1. This is so true for us-too much stuff for my amount of space. I need to be more ruthless in my organizing. Enjoy your day and God bless.

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  2. Good thoughts. We are going back to a regular routine for cleaning and keeping things tidy. I agree with you about margin.

    Deanna

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  3. This is so true. I've been trying to weed through my stuff for several weeks now. It's so easy to accumulate things that are no longer needed. I try to keep a bag set aside for the thrift shop at all times. I do have a few of those "questionable" items that I never use but are just too good to throw away (like small appliance parts, attachments, etc.) that I have decided to get rid of.

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  4. Wow this is so so so so so true!! I'm in th emiddle of organizinf my home with 9 kids:) Will be keeping this in mind as I do!

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  5. Good morning Gina! I'm seeing the new blog header for the first time and something struck me...you have 4 sweet kids and there are 4 gingerbread men cut out with one more not quite ready to be put on the pan. Was that a subliminal message? Is there a baby on the way??? Ohhhhh, I do hope so! I love, love, love your blog! It gives me hope to see solid families in the world!
    Hugs

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  6. Anonymous-
    You gave me a real chuckle this morning! No subliminal messages and no new one on the way! Sorry!

    Thanks for your encouragement!
    Gina

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  7. When asked what the key is ... my answer is exactly the same as yours. Do not succumb to the law of available space - do not fill every inch of the house! Ah, freedom. My mom used to do a bi-yearly "purge," as she called it, where we would gut and sift the house from top to bottom and find things to give away or discard. And she never said, "Do you want to get rid of any toys?" (People tended to give us lots of toys as gifts so we always had plenty.) She would instead hold up two toys and say, "Which one would you like to keep?" She always encouraged us to give away nice toys for children who might not have any, and this made it less painful!

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  8. I LOOOOVVVEEEE organizing, but I agree it does take alot of "living" time away. Never thought about the margin idea, but it makes perfect sense. Like all mothers, this too is a continual battle to stay on top of things organizationally speaking. (not sure if that was a word or not, but it sounded good) Anyways, what seems to work well for me is to spend about 15 min a day (sometimes I set the timer)doing a quick sweep through the house grabbing things and putting them back where they belong. And I always try to keep to that saying "all hands in and all hands out" (I think that's how it goes anyway) Basically, whenever I go into a room, I grab a handful of stuff to put away, and when I leave the next room, grab another handful of stuff....therefore not wasting steps. So whenever I'm walking through a room, I pretty much always have something in my hands to put away. The last thing that helps me maintain the simplicity I long for is to have a yearly yard sale. (The only downside to having a yardsale for me is that I'm MISSING the yardsales I can't go to! LOLOL!!!)

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  9. Gina, that was very well spoken and I agree. I have been decluttering for a few years now through thick and thin I've stuck with it and now can see the fruit of it. The concept of 'margin' though is another grain of wheat I can glean toward being entirely clutter free. I am just learning how to organize my time instead of doing everything haphazardly so I am inspired by all thoughts on time 'organization'. I really enjoy reading your blog each day. :)

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  10. Gina,

    These are excellent thoughts. I have thought about the necessities for "margins" in life, but had not thought about them in relationship to spaces in our home. What a wonderful guideline. I am so glad you shared these thoughts. They make so much sense!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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