A “Hot Mess” Mom’s Plan for Organization

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I don’t wear the title of “hot mess” with honor, but it is accurate. I’ve been that way as long as I can remember. So, I share with you, a “hot mess” mom’s plan for organization here. 

By the time I was in second grade, my parents were on a first-name basis with all of the school secretaries because I forgot my glasses at home almost every day. I can lose things that are sitting next to me on the couch, and not find them for weeks. Don’t ask my husband about how many times he has called my phone to find it.

Worst of all is how terrible I am with dates and managing a schedule. Chaos is the normal setting in our home.

I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions normally, but I do try to give myself vague (and therefore achievable) goals for improvement for the time ahead. My goal for this year is to be less of a “hot mess”, and I am hoping to share this journey with all of you in order to keep myself more accountable in working toward shedding this badge of dishonor. 

I’ve done a lot of reading about the way my brain works, reflecting on things that have been ineffective in the past, and reassuring myself that past failure does not make this effort futile. I can be a more organized, less stressed, more joyful version of myself this year. I just need to get started. 

The plan:

Readers who know me well likely saw that “P” word and laughed. I love to make a plan. I love to make lots of plans. I think it is because it can be a sort of imaginative creative exercise. The plans I make are for some sort of fictionalized version of myself that 1. Follows plans to begin with and 2. Has a life that is incredibly stable and predictable. 

The first step in being an improved version of myself is to address my planning issue.

I needed a way to make, record, and organize plans in a way that does not make me feel like I failed when I look back at the week. This was a big problem when I made plans for magical fairyland Lisa. Even though there may have been lots accomplished, I felt like the week was lost because I had not done what I planned.

I researched a lot of planners, and there are a lot of different kinds. I finally purchased one that already had a few daily, weekly, and monthly Bible reading, house organization, and deep cleaning tasks printed inside, so I did not have to spend a lot of time thinking about every little thing I needed to clean or check on in the house. The more I need to remember myself is more I will forget. The air filters may never be changed if that is the case. 

I needed a way to physically write down things, as often the kinetic aspect of writing helps my memory. I also needed a way for this to become a neat printed document, because I hate my handwriting and I could never write small enough to fit all the information I need. I purchased a PDF version of my chosen resource so I could print a page, write my notes for the week, and then retype those notes into the original for a neatly printed copy. (There is apparently a way to also access these digitally, but I have not gotten that far in figuring it out.) I did raid my homeschooling supplies for a few of my favorite colored pens, but I do not plan on doing a lot of decorating. The printed sheets are grayscale and I place them in a plain three-ring binder. 

The planning task I am working on this week is the perpetual monthly checklist.

I’ve made a list of things our family needs or wants to do every month. For example, as part of our homeschooling, each of our kids plans, shops for, and prepares a dish each month, so each of them got a spot on the list.

I also made a spot on the list to check our favorite Louisville learning spots for activities and free classes each month. I have missed so many fun library events that we wanted to attend because I didn’t find out about them until it was too late to register. Not anymore! 

Over the next week, I intend to work a little each day to figure out January’s calendar and how to utilize this planner to help me with homeschooling lesson plans.

Once I feel more confident with this change, I will move on to step 2: working with a professional organizer. (I’m nervous already!)

If you are a disorganized mess like me, I hope this journey will be an encouragement to you. Perhaps it will not lead to a huge life transformation, but improvements from even small permanent changes are still worth the effort they require. 

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