By Lisa Lin, BA, RMT

As I sit here writing my article on organization I realize it is rather an inspired topic for me. I used to think in order to share or teach something I had to have it all figured out. Yet I have had a few teachers who reminded me that we often teach best that which we are learning. And if you saw my home office at the moment, you would say “I can’t wait to see how this goes!”

stress treatment CalgaryMy article here is all about “Organization”! Guess what I am learning, grassroots, roll-up your sleeves kind of style? I do have a sense of humor over this, otherwise I would have a good cry over the state of my home office at the moment. I moved house about three weeks ago, minus a week on vacation, two busy kids starting school and digging through (on their own I might add) piles of boxes in the basement looking for things. Until I realize they are down there messing around and find them something less deranging to do. My home office is my inspiration though for purposes of this article (I will deal with the basement another day).

In my home, the office is the command ship for household organization, with the kitchen in second command. I have two girls, one in grade 5 and one in grade 1. They are bright, articulate, delightful and bring home pieces of paper whether it be forms, art or just plain stuff everyday. It usually lands on my desk. And they want to do everything instantaneously as soon as they get an idea, no matter how much of a mess it could make. Plus program registrations, playdates that didn’t happen in the summer, tracking the school calendar for the year, appointments, library book due dates, menu plans for lunches to name a few. Back to school honestly used to scare me! This year I decided it could make me crazy (as throw in the fact I just movedhouse on top of it all) or I could take a deep breath, give myself a boost and say “I can totally do this”. Here is my “how to manage it list”.

Top 6 Strategies I Use Personally to Get Organized

1. Remind myself it is ok to cry (seriously, but you can totally laugh!)

2. Start with a 10 minute tidy of ONE room (eg office). Whatever you can grab and put away, don’t get bogged down on details, don’t pause, go with momentum and set a timer. Pick the easy, obvious stuff that has a home and put it away. For me that looks like tidy office supplies, kids toys out, anything that does not belong in the office. Put paper in the printer.

3. Sort what is left. Lay out tidy piles – such as imminent must dos, receipts, mail, school paperwork, work paperwork, filing, etc.

4. Do you need organizing materials – make a shopping list – file trays, office supplies, filing cabinet, pin up board, file folders, etc.Part of being organized means having what you need on hand. Also look at your space – clearly define what areas in your space will be used for, same with file trays. If it is doubling as homework space, your kids each need their own basket/tray to put their things in. Cork pin up boards are very helpful above a desk as is a calendar.

5. Make a to do list and prioritize. Choose one project at a time. You might set up categories for separate to do lists – work, school, family social, kids registered activities, house, health/self-care. That is how you will deal with those piles you made so things do not get missed and you do not get overwhelmed or stuck.

6. Back to school specifics – print off the school calendar for the year and enter professional development days and holidays into YOUR calendar (include significant days such as Halloween, Christmas, Valentines, Easter that schools celebrate). Plan for a heap of school forms coming home in Sept. Check on your security clearance for volunteering. Make sure school, childcare and program registrations are paid. Bring up fall clothing from storage, go shoe and winter boot shopping this month of September (my favorite shoe store is Little Footprints in Aspen Landing, they take care of my kids’ footwear all year). Menu planning and having groceries on hand will make life a lot smoother, economical and healthier during the work and school week.

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The Trick To Making It Work
It is always the hardest in the middle of a cleanup job as that is when you want to quit. Don’t – you will get to the end if you stick to it! If you leave it spread out in a bigger mess it will haunt you and your self-esteem will suffer. Yes, clutter and disorder have the power to do this to you. So take charge! Use a timer, take breaks outside of the room.=

Take care of yourself. Drink water, sleep, eat decently and regularly and have fun. Go for a massage on a Saturday afternoon followed by a walk through the neighborhood. It is beautiful outside in September and October as the leaves take on golden hues and crunch beneath your shoes, the fall winds blow through the grasses, singing songs of summer. Look up at the sky and feel blessed with gratitude for all that you have.

Best part of it all? We find ourselves teaching our children how to organize, be accepting of change and managing self-care amongst a big to do list. It is a great gift to bestow upon them.

Roll up your sleeves, join me on my trek of organizing for back to school and let me hear you cheer!

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