A Distinctive Style Magazine

Issue 13

Culture, music, art, creativity, photography, environmental awareness, new fashion, celebrity interviews, motion video, organic eating, holistic health

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The Laugh Anyway Mom Column Five Secrets to Getting and Staying Organized for the New Year and Beyond By Tracy DeGraaf standing at the same counter with the books in hand after weeks of procrastination which turned into months of losing the books, and once I finally gathered them up again and returned them; my fine was so high that I had to write a check! The librarian couldn’t stop laugh- ing when I told her I found them un- der a pile of stuff in my office. O If you are like me, and you want to be organized, but struggle with it, read on…you can do it! Secret Number 1: a Place for everything and everything in its Place. We’ve all heard this, but the prob- lem is putting it into action. So, se- cret number one is to actually DO it. Take any organizational project no matter how large or small and determine a place for each item in that space and label it and put it back there every time. This secret applies to your purse and where you put your lipstick as well as your garage and where you put your garden rake. Just think how wonderful it will be to know where your stuff is at all times. But how do you get there? Secret Number 2: Think Small! Don’t try to tackle every room at once. Instead, think small! Fo- cus on your purse, then your make-up, then the kitchen draw- er. Once you’ve successfully organized the smallest part of your life, move to the next smallest and so on. Try this with your purse…dump out the whole thing. Throw out all the trash, group like objects together (make-up, keys, wallet, credit cards, mints, meds, and hair stuff). Get a purse organizer with lots of pockets and compartments. Or, group like items in small pouches. Then assign a spot for each thing and get into the habit of putting every- thing back into its proper place every time you use it. Secret Number 3: Use a Labeler! I bought myself a labeler for my birthday last year and I’m telling you, it’s addictive! The advantage to labeling is that everyone in your home will know what goes where and you’ll also know if nce upon a time, I was organized. Then I had FIVE sons. I’ll never forget the time I checked out seven books from the library on the subject. Months later, I found myself something is missing because the label will say “scissors” and they if they’re not there, they’re M.I.A. I labeled my spice rack, my jew- elry drawer, even my refrigerator! Yes, I put a label where the ketchup goes! No, my family doesn’t always put it in the right spot, but at least it has a proper home. Secret Number 4: get your family on board! I once thought I was depressed and went to a counselor only to have her tell me that my husband and chil- dren were fully capable of doing their own laundry. She was right, and I’m go- ing to save you $150 dollars right now. Anyone who is living under the same roof should share the household re- sponsibilities. Laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping, and maintaining the home should be a group effort. But don’t expect to turn the ship around overnight. I came home from that coun- seling appointment and declared from thence forward, each would be responsible for his own laundry. Two weeks later, I came home from grocery shopping and my husband was sitting on the couch in his swimsuit. It was winter and 20 degrees outside. I laughed because I knew what happened. You can do it and so can they. BTW, he went out and bought a dozen pair of underwear after that! Secret Number 5: give yourself a break! Don’t be so hard on yourself. I spent years comparing myself to other women who seemed to have it all together. As soon as I turned forty, something magical happened and suddenly I did- n’t give a flying rip about what anyone thought of me and I quit comparing myself to others. I am a work-from-home mother with five sons and a husband. Our basement has hand-me-down cloth- ing that will fit boys age 9-19. Our garage has 7 bikes in it. I’m just going to have more junk than other people. I have to feed 7 peo- ple everyday. My kitchen is just going to be a little messier than most. So what! Who cares? Life is meant to be lived. Don’t waste your life comparing your situation to anyone else’s. Just do your best and never give up and LAUGH ANYWAY!!! http://www.LaughanywayMom.com ADISTINCTIVE STYLE . COM 65

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