Why is keeping a home clean and orderly so difficult with children? Why can’t our kids learn to put things away when they’re done playing with them? How can our homes get so messy so fast? How can I get my kids to want an organized home like me?
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard these questions from clients who want to know how to keep a home of order while raising young kids. I always tell them the same thing, “I know what you’re going through! I’m raising four young kids of my own and it’s not easy, but you know what, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.” When I say that, they always give me a look that expresses a combination of confusion and relief.
You see, when I help families with their homes, I don’t whip out an “answer book” or pull out my handy dandy label maker and go to town on their house labeling and organizing everything in sight. I teach them how to manage their thinking around their homes and the environment they are living in, while also creating goals of what they’d like to live in for the future.
The truth is, trying to keep a home clean and organized, whether or not you have young children in the home is a PROCESS. Don’t you love that word, process? In actuality, I’ve never really liked that word, so I express to my clients that organization is never a destination, but is a JOURNEY. I love using the word journey, because I feel it truly encompasses any change we make in life. Whether it’s a job, a move, a new hobby, goal, habit or even a choice. Change takes work and is never a one and done deal, which is why we say it’s a process, but for me I call it a journey. A journey to improve, to become better; happier and more at peace with your home and family life.
So, how do we start? We start by looking around our homes and appreciating all the messes. You heard it right, embrace the mess! As funny as it sounds, when we allow our brains to embrace rather than resist what’s around us, it actually can help us release tension and stress and may even allow endorphins to kick in. By releasing the pressure we are placing on the way we think our homes should look and the way they actually look, we are beginning the real journey to making change.
So, take a deep breath in and soak in the dirty smudges on your stain-less steel fridge, the crayons dumped out on the table and the crumbled up Goldfish in the carpet. It really is okay. Those messes are all indicators that you have a home full of people that love you. People that need you and look up to you. Memories are being made and freedom to be children is being expressed.
Try it! Right now in fact. Take a look around the room you’re sitting in right now and embrace the mess.
It’s a pretty amazing experience, isn’t it? This is why I teach home organization in such a unique way, because true change in our homes begins with us and the way we think. When we begin to master our thinking around the way we view our homes and how we want to live in our homes, we actually create more stable, consistent passageways to making that change. It’s as if we are clearing out the fog in our minds to see everything more clearly.
I will go into more depth of how I help my clients with their thinking and how to navigate as we start making changes, but the first step is to recognize the mess in your home and to embrace it. Appreciate why and where these messes came from. Change is so much more fun and doable when it comes from a place of gratitude and appreciation for our life, our families and our homes.
I like to tell clients that there is a big difference between a “mess” and a “mess.” What I mean by that is, while I may be a professional organizer and having closets full of labeled containers and color coded systems is something I love and like to incorporate into my home, the truth is, I have kids! Kids that make messes and lots of them, and I tell myself all the time, especially when inside, my brain wants to scream….I say, “It’s really okay brain. This is just a mess and my family will clean it up in a moment. Right now we’ll enjoy the mess.”
The difference with the messes in my home and the messes of others’ homes are two things:
1) Every item in my home has a place
2) Messes are only temporary
Understanding this is key; because it will change the way you view and handle messes in your home. The first key is so vital, because when every item in your home has a place or as I like to call it, “a home”, it’s as if your child is only borrowing that item for a moment to use or play with, and at the end of the day, that item will be put back where it belongs… it’s “home.” There’s no stress about where to put it, no worry around how to clean it up, no pressure with it being out and used, because soon it will be put “back in its home” shortly. I often tell my kids anytime they get out several different toys and have them sprawled all over the room is; “I’m glad you’re having fun kids! Just remember that when it’s bedtime, you need to put all those items back to “their home.” My kids know where the item’s “home” is; making cleaning up the mess a total breeze. When everything has a place, there’s no stress around the mess.
The second key to what a “mess” in my home is compared to many others’ messes is that the mess made in my home is only TEMPORARY. Now this may seem like a simple concept, but it’s not. Most families I work with cannot keep up with the messes, not only because they don’t have a specific place for every item in their home, but the root cause of the messes is that they stay. They are not cleaned up. They are not temporary but remain on the floor, under the bed, and in the closet. Most of the time these messes build upon each other and grow and grow until it’s such a huge mess we don’t even know where or how to start cleaning it up. Such a simple concept, yet the majority of the clients I’ve worked with have said that this is the core root to their problems; messes being made and never being cleaned up.
We’ll go into more depth on messes in another blog post, but I want to give you a taste of how it happens and to understand that it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Is it possible to have a clean, organized home with kids? It sure is! It’s not only possible, but it’s fun and I promise, it’s simple. Remember living in messes really is okay. Embrace it. Know that change is wonderful and that it’s a journey.
I’ll be right by your side and show you the way to a happier home!
Messes don’t have to be your mountain anymore.
Use these worksheet to help you realize what’s most essential to you and help your mindset as you declutter your life and those things you don’t love, use or need.
Watch this video as Katie illustrates more on “thought-laddering” and how this tool can help you make changes in your organization thinking and habits.
What would life look like if you started living from your future self? Watch this webinar class to learn how living from a “future self” perspective changes everything!