June 12, 2017

Organizing for Your Lifestyle

I would venture to say that everyone could use some organization in their life. Whether it is one's closet or kitchen drawers, their being organized can make life less stressful. 

I used to be extremely organized. As a kid my dolls and stuffed toys were all neat and tidy. My school books and papers were organized. As a teacher, I had the next week planned to before the end of the current week. I graded papers at home and had them returned to my students in short order. I could put my finger on just about any receipt, or report that I needed. 

Then somewhere along the line things began to be less organized. :-) 
I seem to remember my house organization going nutty when I had two pre-schoolers at home. That mantra of "everything in its place" ...well, ha ha ha. There were diapers, toys, and all of the stuff that goes along with babies and kids. When they were older, there were backpacks, lunch boxes, shoes, homework, and projects hither and yon in the house. I felt like a salmon swimming up stream. I tried to fight the good fight to keep everything uncluttered everyday, but alas I seemed to be losing. Did I give in? Perhaps I did. ha ha. Family life and happiness were more important than my desire to have teenagers' bedrooms neat as a pin. It just was not going to happen. :-) I had to be like the palm or willow tree and bend/adapt.

Fast forward to a few years ago...and we downsized. Oh! That was a very stressful and unorganized time of my life. Our house was ransacked before we were completely moved out. It was mean-ness. (Antiques and family items were taken. Our kids toys from the eighties and nineties were taken. The baby bassinet was taken.)  Our furniture was in storage for a year while we lived in a rented lake house.  When we found our current house we had to sell so much! I was one big unorganized mess. 

I have been working, though slowly, to get back to my more organized self. I remember loving the feeling of being well organized. Whether it was organizing the family meals for the week...or organizing my clothing for the teaching week ahead...it was so freeing to have the planning done instead of trying to decide each day..."what am I going to cook for dinner tonight?"

I guess you have figured out by now that this post is a "confessional." :-) But I am on determined to get more organized...from my closet, to my diet, to my projects.  I will be happier all around. I know it!!!  You are welcome to join me in this quest for happiness and health through organizing. (Please leave a tip or suggestion for us below.)

As it would happen during this past winter of self-reflection I was contacted by the media rep of an organizing specialist/writer. 

I was asked to review the book, Organizing for Your Lifestyle, by Jane Stroller in exchange for a copy of her book. Since I need to visit the "organizing" issue in my home and life I thought this would be a good jumpstart for me.

Jane is like I used to be...organized. As a kid she would line up her dolls and stuffed animals just like I used to do. ha ha. 

She begins her book by talking about the psychology of organization, and how having less clutter and more organization can actually make you a healthier person. I believe it. That was me at one time. :-)  Jane talks about the science behind organization and stress and cites studies to back up the claims. 

To help you uncover your organizing style, or lack thereof, she has a nine question quiz where you select the answer most like yourself. 

Jane's book offers a no nonsense approach to organizing everything from your drawers, to your closets, to your kitchen, garage, and travel receipts. 

While reading I noticed several suggestions that I used to use. (I have to get back in the saddle and get to work.) 

I like the section about how de-cluttering helps you fee better (page 5.) De-cluttering your living space helps to de-clutter your brain, making you less stressed and more productive. Being organized helps you be more focused. 

And the way to begin de-cluttering is to make some hard decisions about what items are:
  • practical necessities
  • emotional necessities
  • or just plain trash

She states that these will vary by person...so you must make the de-cluttering decisions based on your lifestyle, and not on your friend's or your mother's lifestyle suggestions. You have to do this work!

You can organize/de-clutter by room, or by category. Example, all clothing, or all books. Or everything in one room. Do what makes you feel better. Decide how you work better/best. 

You will need boxes or tubs to help you sort into categories:
  • Consignment
  • Donation
  • Keep
  • Toss

I like to keep a donation box/shopping bag in the corner of the closet so that when it is full it can be taken to a charity. Same with the consignment box. This lets you de-clutter on a daily/weekly basis instead of having a month long full scale battle with your "stuff." :-) 

Clothing...post clearing out the clutter:
Jane suggests organizing a week's worth of outfits/suits if you work outside the home. I used to do this when I was teaching. I would ready my clothes on the weekend for the week ahead. Wash. Press. Hang together in the closet. 

I also did a modified version of this when my kids were small and going to school. Once they reached a certain age, well, they were not interested in my fashion combos. ha ha. (When they were juniors in high school I gave both my son and my daughter the responsibility of washing and organizing their own clothes. Daughter was happy while son was not! But when son went off to college he knew how to do his own laundry. win. win.  :-) 

Here are a few of the book's topics...
  • Being Organized Helps You Stay Healthier
  • Less Clutter Can Help You Stay on Budget
  • De-Cluttering Helps You Feel Better
  • How to be a Minimalist
  • Being Organized Helps You Stay Focused
  • Hangers: Your Most Important Tools
  • Plan to be Skinny
  • Organize So Your Mother Can Cook in Your Kitchen
  • Functional or Pretty? How to Organize Your Books
  • Carry On Luggage: The Key to Happy Travels. 

In the introduction to the book Jane suggests that her book is to give the reader tips and inspirations rather than a prescription. She wants to inspire you and not tell you how to live your life. (ix)

I am on this! 

My summer project is to de-clutter my clothing, then the bedroom drawers. After that I plan to move to the kitchen!  I will try to keep you updated. Pictures would be a bad idea...but once things are pretty I will share. 

Until the next time...

Thanks for Visiting!

My Kentucky Living
My Kentucky Living

Hello, I'm Sheila and my house is a giant art project! I enjoy creating an environment where my family can feel safe, secure, and loved. We are empty nesters learning to slow down and enjoy life.


  1. I think I need to read the book. I tend to hold on to sentimental items and books.

  2. This sounds like a great book. I would purchase it if I were able to perform the task. My life drives me crazy because I can't get around. For those of you procrastinating be blessed in knowing you can physically get it done. TFS

  3. I retired from teaching Spanish and English in May and am also devoting myself to reclaiming my home. I look forward to sharing the journey with you.


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