Getting Your Home Organized: Old Habits Die Hard


Someone once said that life is too short to get organized. It could have been me, even though I have no memory of having made such a statement. I’m a lot better than I used to be because life, a mortgage and the IRS have forced me to keep track of my bills. Otherwise, things would be just as they were when I started writing some 25 years ago. Back in those days, I used to pile up my short stories on the television table. When they became level with the antenna, I finally decided to buy a file cabinet.

Of course, one can still find ways to achieve disorganization nirvana even with a file cabinet. Either hide the cabinet or keep it in a completely inaccessible place. If that fails, create a filing system that is more haphazard than your non-files. For example, I have a File and Forget category. Think of all the ramifications: no order, alphabetical or otherwise. What better way to insure and sustain disorganization? Alternate filings under the, with, to and fro can also be very helpful.

A few years ago, I signed up for an adult education course called: Get Organized and Change Your Life! I mailed in my check with the registration form and waited for my receipt and class information. When the day of the course arrived and I had still not received anything, I called the registrar and demanded an explanation. When they checked my name against their student roster, they had no record of my registration. A few days later, while looking for some underwear in my stationery drawer, I found the envelope for the course with a stamp on it all ready to mail!

I can offer a few words of advice and encouragement. If you are disorganized, don’t despair. There are clubs for people like us where we can find others who understand. If you can’t find a club, start your own, but be careful to put the names and addresses of other members in a place where you can find them. For example, in my address book the veterinarian’s name is listed under the name of one of my cats (Spat’s doctor) and my sister’s boyfriend, whose name is Michael, can be found under ‘J’ because her name is Jane.

Another course of action involves attacking that which needs to be organized by throwing all of it in a place where it cannot remain without being a constant reminder of the task at hand. For example, throw all of your bills on the kitchen floor where you must step, cook and eat every day, or on the bed. This will force you to put things away, and when that happens remember:

1. Fight the urge to put it just anywhere. Find a place for everything. It doesn’t really matter where it is as long as you can find it.

2. Don’t listen to that little voice that says you don’t need to do this. That little guy has ruined my life. Turn off the tape.

3. Vow to put things away the moment they arrive in your house. Take those eggs and plant them immediately, and stack those shoes neatly in the refrigerator.

Time is precious! Do not waste any more of it by being disorganized!

(photo courtesy of Peter Gudella/