I often get comments and remarks on how organized I am — insert my mother’s laughter. Just because I dress my family in color-coordinated clothes on Sunday (it helps me keep track of who’s mine!).. Just because I can put my hands on anything I might need while out (I’m a bit of a packrat..).. Just because I have all the reports for my daughter from doctors and therapists in an easy-to-carry portfolio… Does not mean I’m organized.

After all, if I were organized, then there wouldn’t be crumbs (and toys, papers, crayons, pens, shoes…) under my kitchen table. My family room would be neat and tidy. My fridge wouldn’t have moldy leftovers (aka science experiments) and my kitchen counters would be sparkling.. Right?

Ok so I’m at least semi-organized. It has been a skill of survival I’ve been forced to learn. I have a routine for my days and my weeks, and I have helpful tools – like a household notebook! And lists..ooh I love lists.

I am, I confess, an organizing junkie. And by this I mean I love organization websites, I own at least 5 different planners (hard copy and e-copy) and I adore forms. Forms and checklists are to me like John Deere anything is to my husband. Some of my favorite sites include momstoolbelt.com, donnayoung.org, and notebookingpages.com. What’s funny? I have a hard time organizing my forms!

I am learning that what works for some doesn’t necessarily work for me. For example, I cannot stand being tied to a clock! So a set-in-stone schedule does NOT work for me, and becomes a slave driver instead of my slave. I have learned that just because there’s a form for that, doesn’t mean I will use it or that I need it. I have also learned that starting a project means I must allow for interruptions.

My biggest difficulty in organization, and dare I say most people’s biggest difficulty?, is that need for self-discipline. Self-discipline to stick to the routine, to take the two extra steps to put it away and not just set it down, and to go back to a project after being interrupted. This I find hard. And if I can’t stick to the routine I have, how can I ever change it to incorporate habits I want to do, but never seem to find time to do?

Organization is both the love of my life and the bane of my existance! But it is a necessary tool, and at least I’ve started learning. There’s always room for improvement, and as always, I feel like I’m just getting started!