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By David Moore
am going to talk to you today about being organized. Some of you might say why should I be organized, it’s too much work. I think there are some good reasons to be organized. One reason is to allow yourself more time to spend on the important things in your life, whether they are spiritual, physical, relational or whatever. Time is a precious commodity and being organized gives you time. Secondly being organized helps me do things well. I think that God calls us to excellence, especially when we are doing things for Him. When I was teaching full time I found that on the days I was well planned and had my things together for my lessons, I was able to accomplish more with the students and the lesson was richer. Lastly, I think our God is a god of order. In 1 Corinthians 14:40 it says, “Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” I find that I am calmer and can enjoy things more when I am planned and organized.
Now I would like to give you my TOP TEN LIST to getting organized.
1. Know Your Priorities: My priorities are God, family and church. I think that it is important to know your priorities. For this season in my life God has called me into ministry to my husband and children first and foremost. They are my most important ministry and no one is going to care for them the way I do. God has also told me that as far as serving in the church, my place of ministry is with children. There are always other things that peak my interest and places where I would like to serve. I have wanted to work at the Crisis Pregnancy center for a while but I know for this time I am called to work with children. When I make a decision about things to do, places to serve, I try to weigh it against what God has called me to at this time. Someone once said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
2. Learn To Say No: Even within the scope of serving my family and working with children, there are so many things to do. You have to learn to say no to some things. Let me tell you that this is the hardest thing for me. If I see a need or if I think I can do something and make a difference I have a hard time saying no. Someone sent me this devotional that was so good for me.
Sometimes it is easy for a mom to give so much to others, she ends up running on empty when it comes to her own family. What are some common oil depleters among mothers? Here are a few: volunteering at school, helping in the community, counseling needy friends, taking care of other people's children, teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir for all three services, cooking meals for everyone who has a baby in your church, working on the missions committee, chairing the PTA, leading a neighborhood Bible study, being on the decorations committee for the school homecoming, making costumes for all the animals in the school play, being a scout mother; den mother; and room mother; (all at the same time), taking care of aging parents, hosting supper club once a month.. Are you tired yet? I get tired just thinking about it. These activities are very noble and worthy causes, but we must realize that we cannot do it all. Something will suffer. Our oil will run out. When it does, we know who will suffer the most, first ourselves, then our families. We must resist the tendency to be ruled by thetyranny of the urgent. We must learn how to say "no" without guilt.
3. Keep A Calendar: I keep a calendar in the kitchen and I put everyone’s activities on the calendar. I never say yes to anything until I check the calendar, and with my husband when necessary. My calendar is not particularly pretty. I used the calendar that Grayson’ school gave out because it already has some of his activities on it and, I am on the PTA board and all the meetings and things are on the calendar. This year I also decided to color code the calendar. Each person in the family has a color and I write the different activities in the different colors. So keep a calendar and refer to it often.
4. Learn To Say No: Even within the scope of serving my family and working with children, there are so many things to do. You have to learn to say no to some things. Let me tell you that this is the hardest thing for me. If I see a need or if I think I can do something and make a difference I have a hard time saying no. Someone sent me this devotional that was so good for me. Sometimes it is easy for a mom to give so much to others, she ends up running on empty when it comes to her
own family. What are some common oil depleters among mothers? Here are a few: volunteering at school, helping in the community, counseling needy friends, taking care of other people's children, teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir for all three services, cooking meals for everyone who has a baby in your church, working on the missions committee, chairing the PTA, leading a neighborhood Bible study, being on the decorations committee for the school homecoming, making costumes for all the animals in the school play, being a scout mother; den mother; and room mother; (all at the same time), taking care of aging parents, hosting supper club once a month.. Are you tired yet? I get tired just thinking about it.
5. Group like things together: I have all my spices together in my cabinets, soups together, and condiments together, so when I make a grocery list it is easy to see what I need. In my closets and drawers I group like things together: shirts, pants, socks etc You organize activities with calendars and lists and you can organize like items with bags, boxes and baskets. When I was teaching the other teachers would make fun of me when I had all these Ziploc bags of stuff. I would put everything I need for a particular lesson in the bag. I did it once and then it was there the next year when I did the same lesson. I did not have to do it all again. At home I have a couple of book bags I keep things in. I have one for school, now Grayson’s school and volunteer work. I keep all my PTA stuff and Room Mother stuff in it. When I need something I know where it is and when I have a meeting or activity I just grab that bag and go. I have another one for church. I keep all my MOPS stuff in it, all my nursery stuff in it, and when I was doing other ministries at church my things went in the bag. Boxes also help me to keep organized. Boxes can help you put like things together. I have a big rolling box in my kitchen with art supplies for my kids. Everything from tape to crayons to paint and coloring books is in the box. So when they need something they know where to find it. I have an under-the-bed box with all my wrapping paper, bags, tissue paper, scissors and stuff under my bed. I try to keep some different kinds of paper in the box so when I need it, it is in the house. I like to use Rubbermaid boxes to store clothing. When Grayson grows out of something and it will be useable for Hayden at some point, I put like season, like size things in a box and put it in the attic until Hayden can use it. When Hayden and Avery outgrow things I just put like season things together and then store it until it is the right time to take a particular season of clothing the Kid to Kid. Lastly, baskets are another way to help you put like things together to keep your stuff organized. I have baskets all around my house with toys in them. It is easier for a child to pick up toys and put them in a basket than in a closet or on a shelf. My laundry basket is another basket in my house that gets a lot of use. Not only do I transport laundry up and down the steps in it but stuff that needs to go upstairs to downstairs and vice versa. If I take a load of clothes up at night I also pile on things that need to go upstairs to be put away so I do not have to keep going up and down the steps.
6. Let others help. If you are heading up a ministry, committee, activity, learn to delegate responsibilities to others. Also enlist the help of those in your own family. You can give age appropriate chores to your children. Grayson is 8 and each year I have him help with new things around the house. Each morning he is expected to make his own bed and pick up his room. The bed is not the way I would like it to be, but it is made and it has been getting better over time. Grayson can also dust his room, clean out his drawers, help unload the dishwasher, collect dirty clothes, rake and bag leaves, pick weeds out of the driveway, set the table and help with his brother and sister. Usually I like to do things myself because I like to do things my way, but I have been learning to let others help even if it is not exactly the way I would have done it.
7. Start the night before. I like to get ready for the next day the night before. I find mornings to be very hectic with getting three kids up and fed and getting Grayson to the bus stop. I also babysit some mornings so it helps to get a head start. I can pick up all the toys and stuff out around the house, make sure laundry is folded and put away, lay out clothes for everyone, pack bags, and make lists. When I start the night before the morning seems to run more smoothly.
8. Everything has a place so put everything in its place. When I got my new diaper bag I could never find my keys or my cell phone. I would be digging around and looking for them and waste a lot of time looking for them. Finally I found a spot for them and now when I am done with them I put them back in their spot. I give my kids a place to put their shoes and coats. There is a basket with the shoes they wear everyday and hooks at the door for their coats. I try to get them to put their things in their place so when they go looking for them they can easily find them. Someone once said, “Don’t put something down, put it away.”
9. KISS. Keep in simple, Silly.
10. It doesn’t have to be perfect. This is really hard for me. I like things to be perfect. I expect a lot out of others, and myself but I am learning as a mother of young children that things are not going to be perfect. Everything may not get done exactly the way I would like but hopefully it gets done. Could I come to your house and look in your closet, in your cabinet, under your beds? I want to challenge you to take the next 6 weeks to get your house organized. I think that winter is a better time to do spring cleaning than the spring. You are cooped up in the house with the weather being so cold. If you start now, taking a room or two a week to clean and organize, you would be finished by spring. Sort and group things, and get rid of things that you do not need. Let’s say you start with one of your kid’s rooms. Clean out the closet. If it does not have a closet organizer in it I strongly suggest you have your husband or someone install one for you. You can fit a lot of stuff in a closet with one of those organizers. You can get them at Lowe’s or Home Depot. As you clean out the closet in you child’s room, get rid of broken toys or toys that are no longer age appropriate. Take out clothes that no longer fit. Clean out dresser drawers and put things neatly in drawers: all socks in one place, all underwear in another, etc that way when you give a child a pile of clean clothes to put away, it will be easy for him to put it in the right spot. Wash curtains and linens. Clean furniture. Finally, sell clothes and toys at a place like KID to KID, have a yard sale, or donate items to the Salvation Army or the Crisis Pregnancy Center and get a tax write off. If you started now and slowly went room to room doing this, you would be finished by spring, organized and have a lot more time to do fun things outside once the weather turned warm.