Step One on Getting Organized

Step two was yesterday. If I were an orderly person, I would not be here trying to figure out how to get organized, again, after nearly 30 years of marriage, seven kids and three grandbabies going on four, now would I?

Step two was all about putting together lists, really.  Most of us who are messy are great with making plans, organizing on paper, reading all about organization, browsing websites, putting together forms and routines in a notebook (or at least printing them out)  That’s fun.

What’s not fun is implementing those plans.  So step one?  Oh, step one is a doozey.  It is about getting motivated to do what needs to be done.  How do you do that?  Well, if I really knew that, I’d not be here, you know?  You have to want to do the work more than you do not want to do the work. The great chasm between those two points is what separates the cleanies from, well, me.  I do not know how to bridge it.

What motivates you?  A constant reminder that sloth is a sin? A promise of cookies and a movie once you get a certain amount done? Inviting company over?  A deeply painful and humiliating experience that makes it just too painful to live this way any longer?  Or just suddenly having had it up here, maybe you bought your fourth new laundry basket this month because you cannot find the previous three, and they turned up buried under the laundry? Maybe you’re tired of finding Christmas presents you stashed for your toddler especially when that toddler just made you a grandmother?  Or are you motivated by cleaning in a herd, er, I mean a group, where a bunch of people are all cleaning the same room on the same day and then sharing about it?  

I know that this works for a lot of people- probably it works for more people than it does not work for.  But me?  I don’t even see the point of going to see a movie with other people- I see it just as well by myself and probably with fewer distractions.*  I’m sure not going to be motivated by the fact that everybody else is cleaning exactly the same room I am at exactly the same time.  Unless there’s a prize involved. And even then it depends on the prize.

Or maybe you need to look at your family baggage and realize you do not want to end up leaving your loved ones something like this.

So find your motivation. Find what it takes to give you the umph to do something. It’s going to be personal.  If you’re reading this post for help and encouragement rather than for laughts, well, then, probably it’s going to be hard.  It’s got to be something that will get you going today, and then tomorrow, you have to find it again.

For me, right now at this time, there are two things motivating me.

1. is that I am here posting about how I am getting organized, so I’d better follow up or I will be a liar and I am not a liar.

2. Is that I want to get a head start on home-made gifts this year, so I really need to assess my craft supplies and clean them up.

What motivates you?

*For the record- I go to movies with other people because I know they like it and if I don’t, it makes them think I am as antisocial as I am, and that makes social butterfly people, of whom I am married to one and have parented others, nervous.

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  1. Cindy
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    You should stop by my blog on Sept. 1st and link up with our organizing theme! Some friends and I are doing a blog-hop that day, and we'd love to have you!

  2. Shannon
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Your second paragraph, oh yeah, that's me. In fact I have a laundry basket FULL of things I've printed (for the kids lessons and otherwise). I don't even know what is in there anymore, except I do know I wanted to laminate a couple things. MY problem doesn't seem to be lack of motivation though. It seems I have a bit of perfectionist tendancies. So if I can't do it perfect, find the perfect place for it, have the perfect organizational tools (you get the point here)… then I won't do it at all. I think this goes back to all those times my mother told me not to do things "half @ssed".

  3. Anonymous
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Similar situation: how does one remember? What about when you are repeatedly given information, never remember it, in fact, insist you were never told? Simply trying harder doesn't seem to make a difference…..For those with memories say, just remember….


  4. Headmistress, zookeeper
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Cindy, I'll try and remember to do that. Shannon, yes, perfectionist tendencies do contribute to our ennui quite a bit. Messies Anonymous' Sandra Felton is good because she acknowledges that it is perfectionist tendencies that paralyze so many of us.
    DMartin- there may be supplements that might help. Writing it down might help. At some point I just learned my memory is not what it once was so I rarely insist that I was never told any more, because I know it's all too likely that I was.

  5. Tracy
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Right now my motivation is that we have a baby coming in mid-November, and my nesting instinct is suddenly demanding that I make up for the last 10 years of shoddy housework BEFORE THE BABY COMES. Unfortunately, the things I suddenly urgently need to do are perhaps not the most important. Because, clearly, this house is not ready for a baby unless I have cleaned out the cabinets above the refrigerator, nevermind the piles of clutter everywhere else.

  6. Anne-Marie
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Shannon, my sister once described the ethos she inherited from our mother as, "If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well, and then it's worth staying up till 3am to put the finishing touches on."

    My father is decluttering the house I grew up in, where he has lived for over 40 years, and his motivation is not wanting us, his daughters, to go through what he went through as executor of his aunt's estate.

    I am making real progress, for the first time, in decluttering and organizing and tidying, rather than making a fitful start that gets abandoned after a day. My motivation is that having done a tiny bit, I discovered how much a love having a clear, tidy space instead of a full, disorganized one. I want more of that!

  7. Amelia
    Posted September 2, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    My strongest motivation has come from realizing that my chaos keeps me from doing the things I really want to do. It gets in the way because I can't find things I KNOW I have and I waste a tremendous amount of time looking for them.

    I also have come to understand that I am excited about possibilities, but not realistic about what I have time or energy to do. So I hoard things that excite me. And store them, and keep them and never use them.
    About a year and a half after my mom died, my dad had a box for me to go through. My siblings and I had already gone through the things in her sewing room, this was a box of sewing/crafting items that had been in the basement. I guess she forgot about it. I guess she was a lot like me. It was full of "things to try next". There was a lot of money tied up in "stuff". I have a lot of resources tied up in "stuff" as well. A good thing to remember the next time I'm tempted to sigh and whine about what I don't have the money to do…

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