Well, I had hoped to get this new post up before now, so sorry for the delay, but I have stumbled onto a new resource for organizing tools that I was unaware of before now. I will share that tomorrow in the (R)estore section of the post.

For now, let’s look at organizing the spaces that your family uses which affect their (and if you are like me, possibly your own) education. The spaces that come to the forefront of my mind are backpacks, bedrooms and supply storage.

It is a given that these spaces are different, but the organization of such areas requires the same tasks! Let’s look at the acronym D.A.R.E. to find out how to tackle these areas. Today, we are looking as the first two parts of this acronym, Define and Analyze. So, let’s get started…

First, we are going to DEFINE our goals for our spaces, hence the “D”. What would you really, really like to achieve with this space? By defining what you want the end result to be, you are able to work backward to better formulate a plan of action for reaching the end goal. A goal for a space might look something like this, “I want my child’s spaces to be organized in such a way that will allow him or her to find whatever they need at any given time. I also want them to be able to easily maintain it throughout the year, so there is less stress on our relationship.”

This is a great example of a goal because it not only defines what you hope to gain physically from an organized space, but you are also identifying what is happening in your relationships when organization is not maintained. It may sound a bit odd, but this latter part is significant and incredibly important to organization. It gives flesh to the issue and helps you address the “whys” of organization with your child, so hopefully they understand better that you are not just wanting this because you are being persnickety!

Defining also helps in the sense that it aids in identifying what is not currently working and how being disorderly is affecting your life as an individual and as a family.

Another aspect of the defining process is to specifically define exactly how you want to use the space but specifically what you would like the space to contain. This becomes important when we reach the (R)estore segment because this is when we will begin to removed items that do not belong to a given space and add those items that need to be added to make the space the space that we intend it to be.

After we have set about defining our goals and the desired use of our space, we can then move on to the (A)nalyze stage of the process. It is at this stage of the process that we begin to analyze what is working and what is not in our spaces. Make very sure that you identify what is working, as this will help to spur you on when the going gets tough in the (R)estore segment.

A few examples of what is working are 1) the closet is large enough and I always keep my clothes there rather than strewn throughout the room. 2) my backpack has sufficient space and I never leave home or school without it, if you are a student or your child exhibits this valuable habit. Or, 3) you love to fold and store your clothing neatly, but you simply don’t have enough drawer space to do so. Take heart if you have examples such as these, it is a good starting point. You can use these good habits to help you defeat the bad habits.

Don’t cop out on this segment and refuse to see the good for the bad. There are ALWAYS things that are working well, even if they are seem to be few compared to what is not working. As a good friend of my family says, “Don’t through the baby out with the bath water”. Meaning, don’t toss what is good in an effort to discard what is bad. Hold onto those habits or tools available that are good and will help you get the job done.

That being said, it is incredibly important that brutal honesty is employed in both the identifying of the good and the bad. So, when dealing with the bad, resist the urge to become overwhelmed. We are simply looking at what is not working and we are going to find solutions that do! This may take some time and some trial and error, but if you keep at it, you WILL find what is very effective for you and your family.

Examples of what is not working might look something like this…1) your closet is large enough, but you do not ever return items that belong in the closet back to the closet. 2) Your closet is too small or there is not enough rod or shelf space. Or, 3) you want to be prepared so you try to pack everything and the kitchen sink in your backpack and then, can never find what you really need, so you quit using the backpack.

**Just a note on the habit of not putting things back where they belong. Many who have formed this habit  find that it creates much chaos not only in the closet but, generally speaking, all over the house! And, then, they are completely confounded and overwhelmed because they are not able to find what they need when they need it. We will deal more with creating a home for an item tomorrow in the (R)estore segment, but for now, resolve yourself to creating a home for an item and consistently putting it back when you are finished using it. You will save yourself a lot of time and potentially a lot of money and frustration in the long run.

Okay, so there you are. I hope this has encouraged you to get started, even if school has already started for your children. An organized home is a more efficient home and the people who live within its walls are more content and joyful, less frustrated. That is our ultimate goal… Happier families and better relationships.

Happy Organizing!