Home Organization: How to Organize a Disorganized Family Member at Home


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Does your spouse keep his magazines and newspapers spread across the floors of your home? Is he constantly asking you if you've seen his keys or eyeglasses? Are you tripping over your child's toys? Is his or her disorganization driving you mad? You can stop the chaotic madness in your home. Heed this simple home organization advice to get your home or family member in order.


Why do you want this family member to be more organized? Is this person's disorganization affecting you in a way that you can literally describe? For instance, perhaps you're tripping over your spouse's shoes. That's a safety hazard. Or maybe you have to drive your children to school a few days too many because they miss the school bus-because they can't find their report, clothes, lunch, etc.in a timely manner. That affects your schedule (and your gas tank!). Or maybe your husband (or wife) buys duplicate items because they forgot where they put (or that they already owned) the last one. That affects your family budget.

Those are all valid and good reasons to help a family member to be more organized around your home. And there are plenty more examples that you can add to that list. But if your reason to organize your spouse, kids, parents or even roommate is because YOU think it will help them function better in life or YOU think they'll appreciate having a more organized room (because you always do), you're just complicating your life. And home organization is about simplifying your life, not complicating it. Make sure you're helping someone to get organized at home because it helps them in some way THAT THEY WANT or because it helps you both with a shared goal that you express to them (e. g. You don't break your neck tripping over your husband's shoes in the future or you can find the shared car keys when you're ready to go to your appointment. )


In order to organize a function or task of a disorganized family member, you have to think like them. So that means you have to keep an open mind. For instance, you know your spouse or kids come in every day and automatically flip their shoes off the first moment they get. They're not doing this to annoy you. It's just them. Maybe their feet are hot! So make organization convenient for them. Put a shoe bench near the foyer. They can still immediately take their shoes off but they can put them right away there in the shoe bench. A shoe bench is cool because it's a piece of furniture that's part of your home decor. Yet you can't see the dirty shoes (You might want to throw a stick-on odor eater in the shoe compartment too. ).

The same goes for items like keys, notebooks, backpacks, sunglasses, etc. Set up baskets, bins, tins, containers, etc.in convenient places where family members have a habit of laying things. It's convenient for them. Your home looks neater (and you can blend these organizational helpers into the decor). Everyone knows where these items are located when they need them because these items now have an official home (and a convenient home).

Or let's say a family member has a hobby or collection of different items they use regularly. You often find these items on the floor. You know this person well so you know they'll never replace these items neatly in closed bins and put them back on that one assigned closet shelf (like you would). That'll never work for him or her. Instead, think like that person. What that person needs is open bins or baskets (no lids) on an open vertical shelving system. That way they can see exactly what is where at a glance without dumping everything onto the floor. And they can easily (even haphazardly) throw items back into the bins. And that's because there are no lids on them-the contents are viewable at a glance-and this is an organizational system for a person who wants to use their stuff not an organized person who wants their stuff to all look pretty. See the difference.

Think like the end user to create home organizational systems for your disorganized family members. You devise or buy organizational bins, baskets and shelving systems that are pretty and neat for your home while also buying ones that are functional for the intended user of the organizational item.


If you have less organized family members who can't or aren't going to follow your detailed organization system, keep making it easy on them throughout your entire home. Give them something they can handle like a basket or container system. They don't have to organize and sort their toys, dirty laundry or other items. They just have to keep each set of different items in its designated container when not in use. It's up to them to dig through the stack in each container if they need something.

No alphabetizing. No categorizing the items in each container. No color coding. Just put each group of items in a different basket, bin or container. A contained stack is much neater and still more organized than having things spread around the floor or counter. If it bothers you, put a lid on it, literally. And if you still find the occasional item on the floor when you're vacuuming, just toss it in the container (don't straighten it, fold it or try to put it just so in the container-just toss it in and move on).

Try these tips with Mr. or Ms. Messy in your home and watch your home organization plan take shape quicker than you ever thought possible. And remember, you cannot transform a disorganized person into an organized person. But you can work their habits and personality into your home organization scheme with a little creative thinking and compromise (by both parties) as suggested in this home organization article.

Karen Fritscher-Porter publishes http://www.EasyHomeOrganizing.com where you can read hundreds of free tips with home organization solutions, shop for home organization products and subscribe to two free home organization newsletters.


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