by JoBeth Hooker
Memphis, TN

Control is the key to time management, and time management is the key to successful home organization.  To be organized you must take control of the frustrations in your life and remove them. (No ladies—not your husband or your children! That’s not what I mean!) What I mean is to take control of that which causes us to feel unorganized. The normal problem areas where we feel we lose control are:

  1. Neatness vs. Clutter. There are too many objects on a shelf or too many items on a countertop, etc.
  2. Miscellaneous paper pileups. Coupons, newspaper advertisements, letters, warranty papers, receipts never seem to find their places in the appropriate files.
  3. Bills and banking.
  4. Collectable works. School papers, photographs, poems, award certificates, love letters, etc.,are kept with thoughts of organizing them.
  5. Storage. I find this is especially true of seasonal items.

I will deal with each of these areas in the future, but for now, I would like to lay a foundation of control so that your future organization will be successful.

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“Decorating Your Home Creatively and Inexpensively” by Frieda Cowling (Click on the image for more information.)

First things first is an excellent rule. Control begins by establishing how we manage our time. One uses time most effectively by doing important tasks now and not later. How do you spend your time? Keep a journal for a few days. Write down that which clamors for your attention the most or keeps you sidetracked the most. Analyze your notations. All of us have the same number of hours in the day. All of us have to deal with interruptions like telephone calls. Most of us have had or have small children. Most of us have a husband who needs care, errands to run, church and school activities to attend, dentist and doctor appointments to keep, etc. So, how is it that some ladies seem more organized or seem to have it together? There must be a method to the madness! Like a good marriage, organization doesn’t just happen to those who have a knack for it. Organization is the result of hard work. Being organized means establishing priorities in your life and learning to say “NO!” to a non-priority.

What are your priorities? Do you have paper and pen in hand? If not, get it out. As I cover the next few ideas, I want you to write down your thoughts. Don’t wait. Do it now!

First, as I mentioned before, analyze. The first priority in your life is your walk with God. What does He want from you? Write it down—Bible reading, prayer time, church attendance, soul winning, etc. Each is a priority.

Secondly, what does your husband want? A date night? Help with a project? An evening walk? Time alone after the children are in bed? What could you plan into your schedule that would genuinely please him and make him feel important to you? Write it down. Sometimes meeting his needs means being spontaneous when he is and flexible enough to change your schedule for him at a moment’s notice.

“What’s in Your Bag?” CW St. Louis Ladies’ Retreat (Click the Image for More Information.)

I can’t tell you the countless number of times I have had to rearrange my schedule in order to do something spontaneous with my husband. Don’t let that fluster or upset you. He is your priority. To meet his needs is success. The dishes can wait. Being happily married 50 years down the road because you were willing to be a lover instead of a dedicated dishwasher will make some inconveniences worth it all.

In planning your schedule, make up your mind to be flexible toward your husband only. Decide that he alone can alter your schedule and that you will bask in the joy of being a successful wife for having done so. But make sure he is the only one with that special privilege. With anyone else, it is vital that you stick to your schedule and thereby control and manage your time accordingly.

Thirdly, what are your children’s needs? Are you a nursing mom? Do you need to spend 20 minutes reading to your toddler? Do you babysit? Children’s needs, though numerous and varying, need to be planned into a schedule and made a priority.

Training a child is the most important maternal duty we have and should not be placed on a back burner if humanly possible.

Remember: Important things never clamor for your time, only the unimportant. Items of secondary importance can wait where one of your top three priority persons are concerned.

Have you written down the needs of your priority persons? Good! Beneath these priorities, list all other necessary functions that occur on a regular basis. This list is your secondary list. On this list you should write down tasks like house cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.—those tasks you do on a daily or weekly basis. Once you have done this, we are ready for step two.

Stay tuned to future issues where we will get down to brass tacks in finding ways to accomplish successful methods to combat organizational madness. See you then!