Book ShelfSo where does organization begin?

Some folks seem to be organized from birth. These are the kids who eat neatly, and can play without making the room look like a cyclone hit. These are the kids who line up their toys because they like the way it looks. It’s just the way they are.

Then there are the kids that now matter what, they make a mess. They create clutter and chaos and can turn your house upside down in a matter of minutes (usually just after you have mopped the floor.) Doesn’t this make us wonder if organization an innate trait, wired deep into our DNA?

Believe me, I’d love to be uber-organized, but no matter how hard I try to get my ducks organized in a row, one of them always gets away. Maybe you can relate.

Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with organization. To me it is work, physical and mental, and I always seem to get partway there and run out of time, or run out of steam. It has been a long-term area of frustration and growth. This blog series gives me a chance to pass along a few things I have learned over the years, mostly out of desperation. Because I had so far to go, I can gratefully say that God has taught me a lot on this. All of these are areas I am still working on, because I’m just special that way.

Organization begins in the mind.

Beginning with motivation and thoughts, organization works its way out into the habits, tasks, and routines of our day. For me, it is helpful to remember that organization is a process and a tool to help us accomplish our priorities.

Organization is not the goal, and perfection isn’t the standard.

The years when my kids were small were the hardest to maintain any level of organization and order. Through trial and error and threatened loss of sanity, I came to realize that organization was not about having my house look like the cover of a magazine. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t squeeze my kids and home into a tight fool-proof routine. Kids make messes, and so do I.

I can remember days as a young mom.

I can remember the pulling uncertainty–was I doing this right?

I remember the questions–why can’t I get it all together? Why can’t I get my baby to sleep through the night?

I remember the frustrations–how did I leave the house without the diaper bag? I just spent 2 hours cleaning… I’m so tired I can’t see straight…

And I learned.


I learned that when I elevate the importance of organization  over relationships, the house may be ship shape, but I fall short of what God desires for my family. I learned that nothing is perfect and that family life is an amazing, wonderful, frustrating, beautiful mess some days.

I learned that it is okay.

Life is like a bookshelf.

Think of a bookshelf. Books are all lined up nice and straight. One end is up against the rigid wall of the shelf. It is not going to budge. On the other end, there is no support and the books are falling over. Either end of the shelf is an extreme–one with no flexibility and the other with no support.

When it comes to maintaining order in our homes, aim for the middle. Whether it is organization, house work, schedules, discipline or parenting–aim for the balance point of the middle. Avoid the extremes of  perfectionistic expectations or total lack of structure. <Tweet this.

As with most things in life, balance keeps us in a productive and healthy place.

Home life and parenting is often a bumpy process, and we have to learn to roll and flex with the needs of our family and demands of our schedules. Here again, balance and flexibility within a framework of organization and routine keeps us moving forward. <Tweet this.

This place of balance  can help us recognize, accept, and embrace the boundaries of our current season of life. The baby and toddler years have very different needs, challenges, and joys. Life with teens looks completely different, and the schedule and needs of the family vary widely from the years with pre-schoolers. When we use organizational skills and maintain priorities, we can manage our homes with contentment and peace in each season of life.

Some of us need to tighten up (that would be me…) while others may need to lighten up. Seek the balance and the stability of allowing organization to be a helpful tool to achieve the priorities that are important to your family.

What level of organization does your family need at this season of life?

What level of organization do you need?


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