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How Organizing Saved My Sanity

organizing saved my sanity

Guest post from Kelli of Eat Pray {Read} Love

I am not an organizer by nature, or at least I wasn’t until recently. I’m quite sure I drove my mom crazy with an ever-chaotic bedroom growing up. And my car usually looks like someone lives in it.

But, since having my 4th child a little over a year ago, I have been on the quest to get my home in order.

It hasn’t been easy (it has caused me to reevaluate my overly-sentimental tendencies) but, it has saved my sanity in more ways than one!

After reading Crystal’s new book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, I have been even more motivated to get more areas of my life in order so that I don’t feel like I’m constantly hanging on by a thread!

Here are a few areas I’ve organized that have been a tremendous asset to living freely:

1. Homeschooling

landon top homeschooling

Until this school year, I did most of our schooling in the breakfast area of our home. And while that worked okay, I got tired of having to move the books for lunch, immaculately clean the table after lunch, then haul everything back out. If we were in the middle of working on something, it made it much harder to get everything back in order after lunch.

So at the end of the summer, I spent a solid week in our new “school room,” which was formerly our playroom. I re-painted it, then got all of our books organized. I got all of our supplies in order so I didn’t have to spend 20 minutes looking for a pencil before starting school.

This school year has been much smoother. Although it took a while for the room to transition from “playroom” to “schoolroom” in my kids’ minds, it has helped so much to have a defined area for schooling.

When we’re in there, it’s school time, as opposed to being in the kitchen, where food is always on the mind!

2. Toys

I wrote an entire post dedicated to our toy organization (you can read it here), but the basic premises are: purge, purge, purge!

Then, when you’re down to what your kids actually play with, find unique ways to organize them that work for your family.

This is the key in all areas of organization — if it doesn’t work for your family, it won’t help you! We use a dresser in our living room to “hide” our toys when they aren’t being used. It’s one of my favorite organizational tools in our home!

teal dresser

3. Paperwork

This is one area of our home that I feel will always be a struggle for me, but I have found some ideas that have helped tame the paperwork beast a bit.

I use organizers on top of my desk to separate medical bills from kids’ shot records, etc. and that has helped tremendously. I also toss junk mail in our garage trash can before it ever even enters the house. Paying bills as soon as they arrive is also helpful — and you’ll never pay late fees again!

Although perfect organization  is an illusion — especially in a home with six people — taking proactive steps to get a few areas of my life under control has been such a blessing for our family!

Kelli is woman who is never bored! Between loving on 4 kids and her husband, serving her church as the pastor’s wife, developing (and tasting!) new recipes, and looking for the next great book to read, she’s always on the go! You can follow her family’s adventures at Eat Pray {Read} Love.

top image credit

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16 Comments

  • Tiffany says:

    Great post! I’m so enjoying Crystal’s book. It’s motivated me to get even MORE organized and purge more than ever! It’s so freeing!

  • Christine says:

    Love the idea of a refurbishing a dresser for storage in family room – adding to my spring yard sale wish list. envision it also doubling as tv stand.

    i wholeheartedly agree with purging toys ! with a rotating crew of foster kids and generous family, friends and church toys (and clothes) quickly pile up throughout the house. We purge when school ends and thanksgiving weekend and post on freecycle.net.
    paperwork continues to be a beast in my home . . . even have a huge stack from 2012-2013 to shred plus desk full of current items. I fully expect this to change when I get to CH6 of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.

  • Ani says:

    My boys have too many toys that get forgotten. So, right before Thanksgiving, I have them go through their stuff and donate about 90% of the toys they don’t play with in order to get new ones. We donate everything in new/gently used condition to preschools that need them and throw away anything that is beyond repair. And this is really for the toys that barely get used.

    As far as their schoolwork… I try to save the special drawings and projects they’ve made in a plastic bin per child. Other things that are cute but not necessary to keep, get scanned and filed away in the computer. I realized I didn’t have to save every line they drew. This way, I have everything organized in files and have less boxes taking over my home.

    I’ve pretty much parted with many things myself. If I kept anything over 2 years that didn’t get used, I boxed them up and donated them. I can’t tell you how much lighter I felt just doing that. I’m constantly getting rid of unused things and rearranging everything at home.

  • Ellen Delap says:

    Organizing makes every mom’s day better! I love that you chose where your pain points were and started there. Breaking into steps makes organizing happen!

  • Susan says:

    I use bureau for storing scrapbook and sewing supplies. All of my clothing fits easily my closet, so I don’t need a dresser, although there is a nice space for one in my bedroom. So instead of using a bureau for clothes, I use it for other things that would otherwise be in totes or piles.

    Love the concept of tossing junk mail before it even comes into the house, but I hope you’re tossing it into a recycle bin, not the trash can.

  • brenda says:

    I just devoured your book…helped me realize this i already knew but wasnt doing…plus let me know its not too late to start!!!thank you for sharing crystal!!!!!
    Ps. Ishould be sleeping..1:46 am …that new habit starts tonight 😉
    Warmly Bren

  • Katie says:

    I love the idea of paying to have stuff shredded. What a great idea!! And, the dresser in the living room is just brilliant!

  • Denise says:

    Love the dresser. We use furniture as well in some rooms instead of the traditional organization pieces. Great post.

  • fabia hill says:

    I like the idea of scheduled toy purges!
    I’ll probably add it to my Google calendar as a semi-annual recurring event.

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