When we lived in Nova Scotia my next door neighbor and good friend was Kathleen. She is a professional organizer. Cool hey? Well today, we’ve got a post coming to you from her where she lives way up in Northern Alberta now.
Take it away Kathleen!!
I like to talk as I work. OK…I talk a lot. I tend to think that talking is therapeutic and a great way to vent and figure stuff out that lingers in the head. As a mom I don’t always get the chance to talk at home unless I am speaking about Lego, play dough or what DVD all three children can watch without arguing. That is until my husband gets home. It’s no wonder that Mike is so quiet because he gets overload from me as soon as he gets in the door.
I encourage my clients to talk as we work. I learn about the person behind the clutter, history and I hear pain. People who are Chronically Disorganized don’t want to be the way they are and are so happy to have someone help them. They are also ashamed at first and I talk about how their home or space is a work in progress and that I am here to support and help them. People talk to me and sometimes they cry. Talking can release pent up frustrations and emotions. It’s very healthy to cry so I always have tissue everywhere I go.
Talking is good! I have three children (5, 9 and 11) and I have been talking to them about being organized since they could hear my voice. I use age appropriate words that they will understand. I give age appropriate tasks to stay tidy and then give a short explanation about why we are doing what we are doing. I don’t have to give the explanations much anymore. They have heard it all by now. Usually I just have to give a task and it gets done. Not to say that I don’t have the normal whining and moaning at times but it’s not half as bad as when we first give out the new chores in the Fall. As each child reaches a new birthday they also get more responsibility around the house. I use the expression “I’m not the maid!’ often.
If you haven’t been talking to your children about being tidy and organized, you can start with a conversation at the dining table. Talk about your own day and about the work that you did around the house. Talk about how doing all this work can be tiring and how each member of the family could help you. Ask them what kinds of tasks they could do to help their house and their family. You can give out chore charts and choose a treat or allowance for the end of the week. Please don’t give out more than five chores at a time. Be very specific in what you are asking a child to do. You can’t ask a five year old to “clean your room” but you can ask them to 1. Pull up your blankets on your bed, 2. Put your toys in their bins until the floor is cleared, 3. Put all your dirty clothes in the laundry basket …and so on.
The younger you start the better. Younger children want to be helpful for the most part. Make it fun. Make it the same time every day. Put music on. Above all….let them see you getting organized. They want to emulate Mommy and Daddy. Then one day when you are feeling frustrated and the bedrooms look like a cyclone hit you will get a comment from another parent about how tidy your child is when they were visiting for a sleepover at a friend’s house. Smile and know that your job is done.
I want to share a great little book that gives you the words, strategies and advice to get anyone started on the road to an organized life. Sign up to Follow Me and leave a comment for your name to be put in the draw for “31 Words to Create and Organized Life”.
And because Rhonda always leaves a photo I will show you the kitchen that I worked on yesterday. The kitchen is a regular drop zone for people and can easily get out of hand.