When You Are Not Naturally Organised
I want encourage you today that no matter how messy and chaotic your home and life is or how overwhelmed you feel, there is hope. Because that was me too, not that long ago!
I struggled with having a chaotic and messy house, and feeling like there was nothing I could do to change it. But our home has changed though it didn’t happen overnight! Though I still don’t organise my pantry with pretty storage containers and label everything in sight.
Instead now days being organised starts with a conscious thought. For example; When a cupboard is messy again or I keep arriving late for school drop off. Something is not working here!! What do I need to do differently? Let’s come up with some ideas.
How I came to that point starts here…
The Story Of My Sister And I
I grew up in a family of six, I reckon my Mum is a super hero, 4 kids in 5 years. I am the eldest, then came along my sister, brother, another brother all in quick succession.
Most of my growing up years I shared a bedroom with my sister. My memories are of the disagreements we had, especially in our teen years, over which stuff belonged to who.
But really, what we would be talking about was the “mess”! And usually the mess belonged to me, not my sister. Though I never admitted it at the time!
Later on when I had my own bedroom, my sister’s room was neat and tidy, mine had every surface covered in papers and books. Even though I regularly cleaned my bedroom up (Thanks Mum and Dad for making us do chores!), I struggled to keep my stuff organised.
Thankful For Dishes
One of the blessings of the family I grew up in, was that we had to do the dishes, and do them often. Not that that was how I ever felt back then! But since there were four of us, we would be on the roster most nights to either wash or dry the dinner dishes.
Little did I know at the time, that those dishes and the other jobs we had, was teaching me, that in a family there is work to be done. Yes, that work needs doing again and again… Sometimes you even need a roster to make sure the work gets done fairly and consistently.
When Everything Breaks
So I moved out of home having a fairly good idea of the amount of work and the type of routines, living in a household requires. Or so I thought!
Side Note: Not everyone grows up with that kind of worldview or life experience. I happened to marry a man who never washed dishes like my brothers did growing up, and grew up in a culture that saw household tasks as women’s work!
It begin a long season of one challenge after another… a first baby that didn’t sleep well. Then two more babies within quick succession. There went my sleep! I got postal natal depression after my third and had years of living with chronic back pain!
My organisational systems started breaking down. Big time!! I could no longer keep of top of things just by tidying up again and again…
“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This was one of the most significant things for me, coming out of a time that felt so bleak, dark and hopeless. I learnt to focus on the beauty and wonder that exists in this world and deliberately turn away from negativity, tragedy, darkness and violence.
I learnt how to notice and appreciate beauty in my life, and how to intentional make life beautiful for myself.
I also grew in accepting that beauty is not an optional extra after usefulness and productivity. Instead it’s essential for our well being and for having resilience to weather the storms of life and help others do the same.
One of the biggest changes I made was deciding that I wanted my home to be a beautiful and simple place to live in. That is, transforming the ugly and chaotic things about my home to be something of beauty and with creativity… what ever my constraints.
This was my ugly 35 year old kitchen with no pantry. Check out my amazing new kitchen reno.
Paint Can Change The World
It was around this time that Annie Sloan chalk paint came to Australia and specifically to my city, Perth. I discovered the magic of painting furniture!
I loved how something old, worn out and discarded can be transformed into a beautiful piece of furniture that is useful again.
Not only did I start a small business from home painting other people’s furniture, but I learnt (and am still learning) how you can turn any room in your house into a beautiful and organised space on a very small budget.
Less Can Be More
I also learnt that if I was going to change the decor and furniture in a room, then I needed to think about my stuff. Ultimately, I was trying to be the caretaker of so much stuff and it was stressful and unhealthy for me!
There was the kids’ stuff, passed on to me stuff, unfinished project stuff, my partner’s stuff, gifts as stuff, might need it one day stuff, as well as I have forgotten I even had it stuff.
It was on a holiday to gorgeous sunny Cairns in the middle of winter, that I got a very clear picture of what this organised with less stuff life could look like. It involved my daughter, who was 9 at the time.
Related Post: Tween Room Makeover
Up to that point, helping my daughter stay on top of the mess in her room had a become a huge stress and time waster for me. I had tried numerous different furniture configurations with her room from having a wardrobe to no wardrobe, to cube storage, and a tall bookshelf etc.
No matter how her things were arranged in her room, it would not stay organised. I would again be helping because the big pile of toys, clothing and papers on her floor would too overwhelming for her.
Related Post: How To Teach Kids To Declutter Their Room
In Cairns, my daughter and I were sharing a room together. Oh my goodness, cleaning up was a breeze! If my daughter dropped her clothes on the floor as she was in the habit of doing, it was a 2 minute job for either of us to pick them and put them away.
If her pencils and colouring book were on the floor, not a big deal for her to pick them up and put away. Why? Because she simply had less stuff.
There was so much less stuff to deal with and I loved it!
This has become a very clear picture for me now of what I want my home and life to be like! Less clutter, beautiful and functional systems in place. I’m getting there.
- The Crazy Thing I Did This Year
- What To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed By Life
- How To Slow Down
- Benefits of Having Less Stuff
- Decluttering At The Speed Of Life
- Create A Weekly Routine That Works For You