Friday, August 31, 2012

Guest Post: Lisa's 4 Tips for Getting Organized!!!

My name is Lisa Ng, and I write a blog with my husband, Alan, called expandng.com -- a blog about fun, family, and photography. Our last name is pronounced "ing". People always ask me how to pronounce it ;). First, thank you, Anika, for allowing me to guest post on your blog today while you are having lots of fun on vacation (...again). I won't be too jealous. Second, I want to talk about getting organized because it was an idea that came to me 6:00am in the shower, where all ideas come from, right? I won't be giving advice like "buy pretty containers" or "tackle a mess 5 min a day". Don't get me wrong, these are GREAT tips. I'm not talking about them because I think getting organized is a mindset and a habit, which need to be dealt with first before buying anything. So, here are my 4 tips for getting organized.
Is there one area of your life which you feel organized? Maybe it's your work desk (not mine :P). Maybe you have a meticulous sock drawer or makeup drawer. Or maybe you display your dishware with care. Identify these areas which you find organizing relatively easy, satisfying, fruitful, (insert other positive feeling). Celebrate them! Then, try to transfer these positive feelings when you are trying to organize more difficult areas of your life. Which brings me to my next tip for getting organized...
The weakness are the areas/reasons you just can't seem to get organized. Maybe you hate it (eh hem cleaning toilets, doing laundry). Maybe you find it tedious (how many times do I have to ….). Maybe you have emotional attachment to things (I hear this one a lot). Wouldn't it be great if you had the same positive feelings from having an organized desk, as an example, as you get from cleaning the toilets, doing laundry, recycling/donation/trashing things? The table by the door -- that's my weakness. The most random things end up on that table -- keys, receipts, socks, coupons, a dime, gum, my son's toys, etc. And the reason that table's a mess is because it contains all of the "just putting it there for now until I find a place for it" stuff. So now that I've identified the problem...
Weakness -- table by the door | copyright Lisa C. Ng for expandng.com
The table has gotten much better since we've found a place for keys, change, and gum inside the drawer. Socks should be taken upstairs to the hamper at the end of the night. Coupons go in my binder by the end of the night. It's so nice to come home to a clean table!
Toys by fireplace | copyright Lisa C. Ng for expandng.comSnacks on buffet table | copyright Lisa C. Ng for expandng.com
As for the toys, some people say you can't have a neat house with kids. I almost accepted it since I have a 2-yr old. But "being neat" has different levels. You may consider "neat" as having no clutter in-sight. My accepted idea of being "neat" is having a place for every thing. Yes, we have a box of toys in front of the fireplace, but the toys are all in the box. Yes, we have a tricycle and push truck in front of the china cabinet, but they're always parked there. Yes, we have Goldfish and animal crackers on the buffet table, but that's where they go. Now, this tip of finding a place for every thing might not apply to all of your organization "weaknesses", but the last one should...
Before I moved out of my parents' house, I had to sort through all of my belongings. I had saved all of my report cards, award certificates, and letters/cards from family and friends. And clothes, so many unworn clothes. I gave my report cards and award certificates a final look and threw them in the recycling bin. I made a promise not to keep such things unless I was going to frame them and display them. If I was just going to keep them in a folder in a drawer, what was the point of keeping them? And you know what? No paper clutter in my house today. I kept my son's first "report card" from daycare and special art projects, but everything else goes right into the recycling bin. And you know those art projects I keep? They hang up on my wall at work or at home. They don't go in a drawer. Going through the clothes at my parents' house, I noticed I had clothes from middle school. Of course I was no longer wearing them, but I had kept them for sentimental reasons. Into the "donation" box they went. Since then, I periodically go through my closet to pick out items that I haven't worn in a year, are outdated, or just plain ripped/stained/etc. It's so freeing. So, make a plan. Make a mental note. Write it down. Decide what you're going to keep, what you're going to donate, what you're going to recycle/trash. The less stuff you have, the less time you have to spend organizing it, right? As for those chores you might hate (laundry, picking up toys, etc.), make a plan to make those a habit too. Maybe you will dedicate a time/place for laundry. Maybe you will make space for toys and stick to it. Whatever it is, make it a habit and it won't be so difficult to do. What did you think of these tips? Share yours please!
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27 comments:

  1. Tks for letting me guest post. I hope your readers like it!

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  2. It's always a challenge to keep the house in order. Right now, we're finishing the basement, so all the junk from the basement is now in the rest of the house. I'm taking this opportunity to organize and get rid of stuff. 1 bag for recycling, 1 for trash, 1 for donating, 1 to keep. Can't wait to get this done!

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    1. Yes, a challenge it is especially when you can't use one room!

      Hope you can have the basement back soon, but at least you are "forced" to sort through those things!

      Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!

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  3. yay! this is a very clever article, lisa. i like your simple steps. of course doing it is the hardest part but i definitely need more of that "toss it" mentality because i have so many tiny little things all over the place and of course a clothing problem.

    pandaphilia style

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    1. Thanks, Angie! Hope you can form a criteria for tossing/keeping so you aren't overwhelmed with tiny things. I know that moving from place to place is eased when you have fewer things, though moving from place to place also means accumulating more things ;). You don't have a clothing problem, just a clothing LOVE. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. 1) My Strength is being unorganized~
    2) My Weakness is being organized~
    3) I have no problem finding places or everything .. it's usually EVERYWHERE~
    4) My plan is to keep everything organized the way it is and make a habit of keeping it there~

    =) I think men and women have different definitions of organized~ When I see a pile of junk .. I think it's pretty organized ... it's piled up, right? my wife .. not so much~ For example .. our sons toys .. they're organized and contained in the living room ... they may be scattered around the floor, couch and table, but they're "ORGANIZED" in the living room .. my wife just sees a huge mess~ .. so we compromise and I clean everything up! LoL ..

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    1. Henry, you are too funny. I like your system and as long as you and your wife agree, that's great :D

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  5. btw .. what is a buffet table? Is it where you guys put snacks? cuz I would love an all you can buffet table~ =D

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    1. Henry, It's just what you call a long table in a dining room b/c it has enough space to hold several dishes, like a buffet. Except at home, I don't refill ;).

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  6. It's definitely good to find a place for everything. I think I'm a pretty organized person, but these tips would definitely work for the hubs. He still needs some help in that department (he's an only child), lol.

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    1. Cheryl, LOL "only child". I hope your husband doesn't get upset by that label ;)

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  7. I love your tips, just love them. It is sad this weird attachment we have to things. It is weird when people are packing all this stuff away and paying for space and storage for so called mementos and then complain they have no money. Sometimes people get way carried away with their attachment to things.

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    1. Lucy, Thanks for stopping by and tks for "loving" my tips! Some ppl have more attachment to things more than others. No judgement. Just have to come up with a criteria so you aren't attached to everything. That is, unless you have unlimited space and money.

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  8. these are some great tips lisa!!! i really need to be better about cleaning up and organizing my house!!!

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    1. Hi Sandy! Tks for stopping by! And hope you find a "system" you can work with easily :).

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  9. Awesome, Lisa!!!! Ain't she so great? Love that girl. Anyways, I've been struggling with my organizational skills. I don't really have any, but I want to be more organized. Loving these tips.

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    1. Hi Jen! Aw, thanks! Love you too! Hope you find what works for you! Tks for stopping by!

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  10. Great tips! I'm pretty good in most areas of keeping organized, my husband on the other hand, not so much. He keeps everything. And it drives me crazy. He has so many clothes that just pile up. My tip I heard on the radio is, if your not sure whether or not you should get rid of something, put it in a bag or box and label it with a date. If you don't use it within six months, toss it or donate it.

    My area of weakness is cooking. I hate to cook and grocery shop. So when it comes to deciding what to make for dinner, I'm a mess. I have made lists, searched for recipes, but I can't seem to get organized with it.

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    1. Hi Mandi! I don't think husbands and wives are supposed to agree on organizing, otherwise we'd be marrying ourselves ;). Haha. Hope you can come to a compromise though :). And great tip on the putting things in bags with dates! About the dinner conundrum, maybe your husband can help with the cooking/shopping duties. I don't hate cooking but I do need a break and to be "inspired". Me and Alan take turns cooking, 1 week at a time. Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Ha! I say you can't have a neat house with kids. Yes, I can put stuff back, but it takes them only one minute to pull everything out again. "Resistance is futile," say it with me. ;) Or maybe it's just having 2 kids?

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    1. Hi SewPetiteGal! Well, even if it's neat for a minute, I'd consider that neat :). "Resistance is futile", funny! I don't know if it's just having 2 kids b/c I only have one. Maybe I'll change my tune once that happens for me, but for now, I'm going to try to stay "neat". Which is a relative term. Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. I really like your 'a place for everything' plan. My cleaning schedule is every two weeks, so things get put back during those times to say the least, and however long we can keep them there until the next de-cluttering/cleaning. It works well for us, and is manageable. As for kiddos' work, I really have a hard time throwing them away, especially school work. So I keep them in a box, by years, inside a large garbage bag in the basement. But even older art, like at J's age, I kept the really nice ones and photographed the rest so I didn't feel bad tossing them. They're on the hard drive somewhere!! :) Nice post!

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    1. Hi Sandra! Tks for stopping by! You're on a schedule?! Awesome. I just tidy up when things get out of hand ;). Happy to hear you photographed the artwork so that you wouldn't feel bad just tossing it all. Great tip! Memory costs less than storage space :).

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  13. Great tips, Lisa! Having kids and not having any toys in sight is an extraordinarily difficult feat... our house sounds similar to yours in that toys are visible but each has a particular place so everything still looks somewhat neat. I actually managed to get rid of two trunk loads of old clothes and toys over the holiday weekend... yay!

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    1. Hi prettyanddelectable! Thanks for stopping by! And a house with kids, with no toys in sight is odd to me, haha! A place for everything is more real to me :). Great job on getting rid of stuff over the long weekend! Doesn't it feel great???

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  14. Great post Lisa! I like to think I'm quite an organised person. Maybe too much. Living on my own, I know where everything should be. The minute my family are staying over I get a bit huffy when they don't put things away in their proper places!

    I try and do big sort outs regularly, thereby making them a little smaller. The top shelves of my wardrobes were a big problem. I just use to throw things up there! by doing so I forgot just how many handbags I had! Now I know :D

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    1. Hi Jaina! Tks for stopping by! I agree when you live by yourself, it's "easy" to be organized (though it certainly takes work). Funny about the "company" messing things up...I also have a "top shelf" where I used to throw things! Haha. It's great you do a regular clean-out!

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