While it may not seem like a critical, urgent thing, I’ve learned that organization in my special needs household helps us in so many ways. I used to believe that organization came easy for everyone. Then a friend showed me her junk drawers and my eyes were opened in a new way.

It was hard for me to take it all in. Where did all that stuff come from I thought? Before kids, I tried my hand at professional organizing, but could never make a go of it. My sister-in-law would praise me for the order and calm in my house. She told me to keep at it because it would be so important when the kiddos came along. I scoffed and told her that I just liked being organized and couldn’t understand what that had to do with kids.

Today, I realize she was so right. My family has grown, but even in the midst of toddlers and chaos, the shell of my house is in order. I’m not one of those people who does the white glove dust test. There is plenty of dust in my house! But, I’ve found that when I keep order in my home, I keep order in me. There is a system in place for basically everything in this house. Not in a nutty, neurotic way. But a keep-it-together kinda way.

Through the years I’ve relied on some version or another of these five principles to keep me in check:

Touch things once. Yes, that means the mail, magazines and other papers that seem to just keep on coming. When they come in, I put them where they belong. This is a sure pile stopper because I stop the pile before it starts.

Own a filing source. It doesn’t have to be a large industrial file cabinet that takes over your life. Portable file boxes or the small 2 drawer cabinets may be enough. IEPs, testing paperwork, evaluations and the like add up quickly so Juliana has her own file box now.

Keep it simple. About every six months on a day when I’ve found some extra energy I purge. I toss or give away anything that no longer works for us or causes too much hassle. That includes clothes, appliances, furniture, electronics or anything else that will create clutter and be there just because.

Compartmentalize and group everything. I think themes in my house. This means rarely used items go in the storage closet, coffee supplies go near the coffee pot, toys and books go in their respective bins, etc.

Lighten up. When life catches up to me I let go and give myself the right to be behind. I know I will always catch up that laundry and get on to my next checklist item when things calm a little.

It only takes a minute to get something organized, but when the mountain piles it’ll take more than a minute to get it under wraps.  Care to share what has worked for you? What helps you stay organized?

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