Thursday, October 8, 2015

3 Keys Thursday: Dealing with Organizational Obstacles

Photo: Dodgerton Skillhause via Morguefile
No matter how successful we are at getting organized, sometimes it's an uphill battle. Let's face it: Organization is a process, which means that even once we have workable systems in place, we never quite get to check it off our lists and say, "Done! Organized!" There are always new things to add, old things to sort and life changes that necessitate re-thinking our strategies.

In addition, there are day-to-day obstacles that make organizing a challenge.

The problem: An overbooked schedule. Try as we might, we often say yes to one -- or ten -- too many things. When our schedules get crazy, we get tired, and perhaps a bit lazy as well. Even the best systems get ignored in favor of the easiest option, which often does not include putting things away.
The solution: Do what you can and live by Give it Five! Work within your simplest systems, making sure to use them as much as possible so things don't pile up. When they do pile up (and they will), don't despair. Give it Five! as often as you can until you have time to dig in again. And, when that time arrives, step back and see what you're dealing with. Have you uncovered chinks in your organizational armor? If so, putting some new systems into place (perhaps a new container or location is needed for some things?) can make a difference the next time your schedule explodes off the calendar.

Park City Computer Desk and Hutch by Legacy Classic Kids
The problem: Tiny spaces. I love our little house -- most days -- but, oh, what I wouldn't give for a walk-in closet! And our Cape Cod is a luxury home compared to the tiny apartments college students and city dwellers routinely call home.
The solution: The right storage. Look for containers and furnishings that are tall or stackable (maximize vertical space), fit underneath furniture and/or do double duty. Check out places that offer unusual items (import stores, flea markets, consignment shops and secondhand stores) that can fit into small spaces or function as whimsical touches and practical storage. While some kids' furnishings are obviously designed for children, others are often just the right size for smaller adult spaces. Finally, whether you live in a dorm or a studio apartment, never underestimate the September sales that pop up after the college students have gone back to school. Many dorm furnishings can be a lifesaver in small, non-dorm residences.

The problem: Opposing styles. You've taken the quiz. You've identified your styles. You've even figured out what works for you. The trouble is, your I need to see it style drives your I know I put it somewhere spouse just a little bit crazy.
The solution: Educate, evaluate...and compromise. Try to help your spouse understand why you've chosen the solutions you have (and I'm assuming we're talking about actual solutions here, not simply leaving everything out where I -- uh, you -- can see it) and listen to why your partner has opted for his/her system. Together, decide which systems are working (that is, they're being used) and which are less-than-ideal. For those that aren't working, try to find the points of agreement between styles before settling on a new solution. Clear or labeled containers, for example, can work for both I need to see it and I know I put it somewhere organizers, albeit for different reasons. And, when it comes to  systems that one person uses significantly more than the other person (his man cave, your closet), the chief organizer of that area should prevail...unless the other person wants to take over the maintenance of that space.

Above all, be patient with yourself. Sure, we could spend our whole lives getting things just so, but that doesn't sound like much of a life. As long as you're making progress, you're moving in the right direction.

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