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Organization does make things easier

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
I love organization. I just wish I had more of it. I strive to be an organized person, but unfortunately it just doesn't come naturally to me.
I have friends who just naturally "see" how to organize everything from their dresser drawers to their cars. They also just seem to know what to keep and what to get rid of. I have a tendency to feel like I need to keep everything. Since I don't seem to have the organization gene, I have to work on developing the organization skill.
The first thing I needed was a way to learn the skill. Even when John and I were newlyweds, I knew I needed help, but how? I was too embarrassed to ask my friends who just seem to know how to do it.
Then one day, I came across a book by Sandra Felton entitled "Messies Anonymous." I loved it! Sandra is a reformed "messie." Not only does she have terrific I ideas, but she also explains why we messies feel the way we do about our stuff."
I began to follow her advice. However, not all of it worked for me, but at least I had a way to start. Sandra's book not only deals with things like long term storage and sorting, but she also has advice on how to manage everyday housekeeping. She gives guidelines for sorting and encourages steady progress. Sandra has a wonderful web site that I encourage you to check out. It's
With the help of Sandra's book, I was finally able to start developing a plan for myself, but I still felt like I needed more help. Since I had so much success with one book, I decided to look at other books that might help me, too. The next book I found was "Emilie's Creative Home Organizer" by Emilie Barnes. She is a professional home organizer. I like the way her book is laid out. When I find that I need a little boost in one area or another, it's easy to look back at her suggestions. (And trust me I constantly need a boost.) Emilie also has a web site,
Now, let's look at the Blaylock house. Even after several years of using both of these books, when we moved I discovered I still had tons of sorting and organizing to do. I found instead of getting rid of things like I should have been doing, I was boxing them up and storing them for, well, mostly emotional reasons.
When did I know I was in serious trouble? When the movers delivered 750 boxes plus furniture to my house! I stood in our new home and felt like I was smothering.
I got out my books and began to read again and draw inspiration from them. Now in self-defense, I have to say our packers in Kentucky were not very efficient. For example, we opened one 3- cubic-foot box and found two baskets surrounded by paper. I also opened one box labeled girls clothes and found my hubby's tools from the garage. This was repeated over and over and over. It made unpacking difficult, and purging and organizing miserable!
I needed a plan. My first plan was to have a yard sale. So I spent several months going through boxes. As I went through boxes, I labeled the things for yard sale and began to organize as I went. This made the yard sale a lot easier. After the yard sale, I donated most of the left over stuff to charity.
My next job was to decide what my problem areas were. Well, that was obvious–the entire house was the problem area! My first instinct was to forget the whole thing and sit down with a large bag of chips and binge.
Obviously, that wasn't the answer. I had to get busy.
As I shared in my New Year's column, my kitchen and my desk (it's in the kitchen) were a serious problem. The next logical question was, "Why?" After looking at the problem, I decided it was because I really didn't know what I needed. So it was back to the books! After reviewing what the organizers said, I created a file system and got my desk under control.
I decided simple was best. I had tried other file systems and they were just too involved for me. I needed something straightforward. I began by sorting through all the papers and putting them in two piles, keep and pitch. After that, I pitched the pitch pile. As for the keep pile, I began to separate it into categories: school, to be paid, paid, file permanently, sentimental, insurance. This became my active filing system. By active I mean things that I have to refer to or use on a daily or weekly basis.
I also have file cabinets for long-term filing. I truly believe that a filing system is unique to each person or family. So this one is what works for me. It was such a relief to have the desk under control!
One of my biggest joys was when John needed something and called me when I was out shopping. I was able to tell him exactly where to look and he found what he needed in just a few minutes. I know that may sound silly to some of you, but for an unorganized person it becomes a major triumph.
So I have realized one of my New Year's resolutions, and it's just the end of February. Now if I can just keep it up!
If you have a question, comment or suggestion for Mom's Corner please send it to: Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496; Hartselle, AL 35640 or e-mail:
I would like to offer my family's deepest sympathies to the Ferguson family in the loss of Bertha Ferguson. We will miss her greatly.