I Ask: Can You Get Me Organized Enough To Be Even Lazier Than I Already Am?

Now I am very organized when it comes to scheduling dates and trips and naps and food and blogging.

But when it comes to LIVING? Well…

Because maybe my keys and hair brush are out on a date. In the sink. Like a hot tub only better. (Stop trying to make sense of that. Seriously. Just stop.)

So this past weekend I decided I was going to GET ORGANIZED. I bought binders for everyone in our family (including my seventeen month old — she actually has more in her binder than anyone else at the moment). We now put school forms and mail and bills into our very own Trapper Keepers. Instead of on my desk. Or on the floor. In a massive pile of IMPORTANT STUFF that accidentally gets recycled.

And I started finding HOMES for everything else. Which means I have to put up notes to figure out what BRILLIANT PLACE I put things.

Because how pissed am I going to be when I stomp around looking for the dog leash's ORGANIZATIONAL HOME in two hours.

But after the dog leash, I stopped. Because THIS is a bit overwhelming:

I have a problem here. AND IT'S NOT TOO MANY SHOES. SHUT UP.

and this

Who is going to put away all this clothing? Because when you do, I'll have to start walking up stairs again to dress my children.

oh yes, this room

Okay most of this stuff DOES have a home. So by organizing I mean replace me with a robot who cleans.

and the mess made babies in this room

I've abandoned this desk for the one upstairs. That's a workable solution, right?

and then I find this

My children are also leaving notes. So I don't lose them under some pile of laundry. Awesome.

So I ask: How can I get more organized and still be lazy?

Because I’m running out of rooms in which to hide. The mess keeps FOLLOWING ME.

Answer that said what I was thinking so didn’t really help me at all. Lydia/@uvaleg writes: I read all the comments hoping someone would have a solution… I see there are a lot of us with the MUST-ORGANIZE-but-so-lazy disorder. That 15 minutes thing (with a timer that dings or beeps—KEY!) worked pretty well for me for a while. Then I got lazy and stopped doing the timer. So that sucked. I think people who are organized have less stuff is the best I can figure. But for some reason no matter how many giant SUV-loads of crap I take to Goodwill, I can never get there! It’s maddening.

Answer that shows I’m powerful enough to drive people to drink. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points writes: Umm…you know what blog I write, right?? WOMAN WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Inter-product sink dating? Mess-breeding experiments? SHOE ORGIES? I…I….I’m feeling a little woozy. I don’t know where to start. It’s not even noon and now I need a cocktail.

Answer that’s actually an answer. Kat writes: 15 minutes a day. (or 5, or 10, or whatever floats your boat.) Set a timer, declutter one spot, stop when the timer ends. When you finish the spot work elsewhere in the room, when you finish the room move to the next one. Slowly, slowly, you will notice a change. And it will only cost you a few quarter-hour commitments. I also find you need to have ample storage. It does no good to shuffle a pile from one corner to another. And finally, for your own sanity, tackle kid messes after everything else is under control. I’ve been having a low-motivation mood the past few weeks, so the toys just go from every room around the house right to her bedroom floor. She knows how I feel about the mess, but I’m not about to waste precious resources cleaning something that will just come out in 5 minutes, anyway. Then I close her door so not to have to look at it all…
Oh, also, because I am a total nerd I find having an app helps. Because I’m not playing on my phone, I am getting organized! It is serious business, yo. I build my own custom routines on HomeRoutines – first $5 app I ever purchased, but after getting over the price tag I love it and use it all the time. Sometimes my house even looks clean more than one day at a time!

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

64 thoughts on “I Ask: Can You Get Me Organized Enough To Be Even Lazier Than I Already Am?

    1. Really? Can we hang out? Or can you just invite my other friends to your house, too?

      Because I’m pretty sure that I’m the messiest mom in Richmond. And I’d like competition. Or at least company who isn’t appalled.

      1. I would love to, but I think NJ is a little far from Richmond. I’ve decided that being organized and neat is overrated. Except for when you’re panicking because you can’t find your bank book. That’s no good.

  1. Yeah I hate to say it but being organized and being lazy don’t go together. My house looks like a tornado ran though it. I always take it one room at a time. And I also set a time limit. Like I will clean for 20 minutes and then I get to play on the computer for 10 minutes or what not. I need a reward for cleaning. But in the end I hate cleaning and would rather live in a little messy of a house then clean all day. I hope you get some better advice or maybe the cleaning fairies will come out and clean and organize your house for you. 🙂

    1. I like the time limit idea. Although 20 minutes seems VERY VERY LONG. Which is so sad.

      Also, I hope the cleaning fairies will come too. I’d even take the cleaning trolls — and we all know how much trolls are loved by bloggers.

    1. Okay so here’s my theory going into this post: If I was REALLY organized, I could do LESS.

      But I’m pretty sure it’s like 10 to 1 on my theory. Making me very suspicious that there is a conspiracy against me getting to do less.

      Oh yeah, I could be wrong too.

  2. Seriously, I thought I was the only one. Before kids I was organized I swear….you must have similar fantasies of having everything color coded and in boxes with pictures on it…..because the ziplock bags that hold my recipes on scrap pieces of paper is as close as I’ve come to organizing…they have labels like “chicken”, “desserts”, and then vague like “pork, soups, and other crap”.

    1. I LOVE the idea of color-coded boxes and photos to designate the kids toys and LABELS EVERYWHERE. I even have a LABEL MAKER!

      And I have a recipe book. That has about eight recipes written in. Then a bunch of papers shoved in that may or may not have recipes on them.

      {sigh}

    1. So I totally assumed all good cooks are neat. Because you need lovely spaces in which to operate your magic. Way to destroy that stereotype.

      PS. We have TWO giant pink chairs. And they make me very very happy.

  3. The second law of thermodynamics says that it won’t work. Entropy always wins, and you have to put energy into the system just to stay even. So lazy and organized together are against the laws of physics.

    Sorry.

    You could just decide to not care?

    1. I only care when I can’t find my key. Or my daughter’s shoes. Or underwear.

      Then I curse myself for my lazy habits.

      I also don’t believe in physics anymore. (If the creationists can just not believe in evolution, I certainly can do this. VOILA! My problem is solved.)

  4. I have the same problem! I’ve found http://www.younghouselove.com has some GREAT ideas! Like putting cork squares inside the kitchen cabinets to organize important papers. Total of like $5. As for kids toys our house was definitely a MESS! I bought a 6 cube cabinet and 6 fabric bins from Target and presto! Our living room is a ton more organized! I put labels on the outside of the bins so KG knows where her toys are and when we’re half dead to the world because we’re so tired we know where to throw all of her toys. They also make a 9 bin cabinet which we have in her bedroom. It’s a great size for storing books too and at $40 it’s a great price! Also it comes with a thingy to anchor it to the wall so no worrying about it falling over on her. Seriously, it’s insane how much it holds.

    Release hooks were a quick install to organize all of her dress-up costumes. We believe in the house being functional so her toy room is also our living room but we’ve finally found a little balance to that. Lemme know if you want some more great ideas! I’m full of them hahaha

    1. I just started skimming through their site! Thanks.

      I do have the cube and fabric bins in multiple rooms for the toys. The thing that I want is for the front to have photos of the toys that go in each bin. How cool would that be? So ORGANIZED.

  5. Oh for your shoes by the door – buy a cheapo basket from Michael’s (like whicker or something) to store all of your shoes in. It looks neater and if and when you want to bring your shoes back into the bedroom – carrying one basket is a lot easier then tons of individual shoes. Also makes cleaning around the basket easier!

  6. I love organizing things and making things tidy (am also a librarian, so at least I can fully indulge this at work). While this habit drives my husband batty on the regular, it makes my heart happy.

  7. I am in the same frame of mind right now. I just bought myself a new calendar and I’m all excited about having everything in one place, etc. I like the storage bin idea. We do have a basket for each of our shoes (mine, hubby’s, kids) and for a while they store organized but eventually I’m digging through my shoes to find the boys’ shoes. And I have a maid – only way the house ever gets cleaned! 🙂

    1. We have the shoe bin too. And then I got a smaller one for N’s shoes. Now the big bin has been upstairs full of shoes for weeks. And N’s little bin has mostly my shoes in them.

      This does NOT bode well.

  8. Tell me when you figure it out. We have the same issues here. Except we have a shoe basket. But the shoes just migrate into other piles in other rooms.

  9. I don’t know if there is a happy medium to this. Being organized is exhausting, but so is being lazy because the picking up after all the time being lazy is SO much work. I try to be half-assed at both. I guess that is my happy medium.

    1. I LOVE doing things half-way! Like we all have trapper keepers but now I’m leaving piles of papers near them to file away SOON.

      You and I would be the worst best roommates ever.

      1. First of all, I can’t believe you referenced a Trapper Keeper. Second of all, I LOVE that you referenced a Trapper Keeper. I loved those!
        High five for doing things half-assed! If we were roommates our house would be a disaster!

  10. I am organized and clean up after myself as much as possible, because I’m too damn lazy to have to go looking for stuff.

    Really: the more organized, the more lazytime you get!

    1. So THIS is my theory. Because of all the time I waste LOOKING for things.

      But you are the only person who agrees! Of course, you are only the third commenter to be clean and organized. Which is also odd. Are messy people attracted to each other like, well, mess seems to create more mess? Or can I just not find my neat organized commenters under this pile of laundry?

    1. Okay this comment depressed me. LOTS OF WORK? DIG IN? NO FUN?

      But I do agree that lazy style up too much of my day.

      So you are forgiven. Because you agree with me. But next time, maybe you should lie a little.

  11. you had me a trapper keeper.

    here is your solution: you bring me over and I organize everything because it’s fun for me and I’m insane like that. I work for food. you’re welcome.

    1. I make a mean pot roast.

      And pretty much all weekend I’ve been thinking about how I could get you here and feed you enough to keep you happy. Now you sound like some weird organizing pet. Sorry about that. Don’t be offended. Please? I need you!

      1. being an organized pet doesn’t sound so bad! you could just bring me in every so often to get stuff in order. feed me. scratch behind my ears. and send me home. 😀

  12. Well, if I discover the secret this weekend, I will let you know. We are embarking on Operation Clean This Crap The Hell Up this weekend. On the surface, my house appears organized. But the closets, garage, armoires and drawers? The stuff of nightmares. I used to be insanely organized, and then I had the small people who ate both my brain and my time.

    I did clean out two junk drawers a couple weeks ago and now we can’t ever find anything. I love your notes to your self about where things are! I spend too much time fielding questions from my husband: where are the scissors? where is the flashlight? where? where? where?

    1. No one tells you about the eating brain part of parenting. And with how popular zombies are, you’d think it would come up more.

      I hope Operation Clean This Crap is going well. Also, please tell me your secrets. And take pictures of the multiple post-it notes that are all over your house now. Because WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN?

  13. 15 minutes a day. (or 5, or 10, or whatever floats your boat.) Set a timer, declutter one spot, stop when the timer ends. When you finish the spot work elsewhere in the room, when you finish the room move to the next one. Slowly, slowly, you will notice a change. And it will only cost you a few quarter-hour commitments.

    I also find you need to have ample storage. It does no good to shuffle a pile from one corner to another.

    And finally, for your own sanity, tackle kid messes after everything else is under control. I’ve been having a low-motivation mood the past few weeks, so the toys just go from every room around the house right to her bedroom floor. She knows how I feel about the mess, but I’m not about to waste precious resources cleaning something that will just come out in 5 minutes, anyway. Then I close her door so not to have to look at it all…

    1. This is genius. Pure genius. I can totally do 15 minutes increments. And I can trust that it will show up soon (although that’s never really worked with exercise BUT I’ll just keep rereading your comment).

      And the kid messes last? Great call. I always put that first and never get past it.

  14. Oh, also, because I am a total nerd I find having an app helps. Because I’m not playing on my phone, I am getting organized! It is serious business, yo. I build my own custom routines on HomeRoutines — first $5 app I ever purchased, but after getting over the price tag I love it and use it all the time. Sometimes my house even looks clean more than one day at a time!

    1. This is why I had to read the martha points section of your blog like ten times. Because I’m so far from martha, I’m already down one hundred points just for breathing.

      PS. Although I make a mean craft when I put my mind to it. My saving grace may be my halloween costumes of the last fews years. Although can that REALLY make up for the shoe orgy?

  15. I think you need to train your kids more. Not so much “Don’t do that” because you will still have the mundane tasks to deal with that you had before having kids. More so “how about a nice game of ‘Lets do the monthly accounts'”.

    Is 17 months too young to start making coffee for you? Here in sunny England we had a thriving trade of Chimney Boys in the 19th century, who were small enough to climb up the inside of chimneys and clean them. I think that would be frowned upon now but the only way to be organised and lazy is to delegate. If you introduce your tribe to the joys of manual labour and the miracle of highlighter pens, loose-leaf dividers and rudimentary calender software ( I recommend Mozilla Thunderbird for pre-schoolers) you can enjoy the mutually exclusive benefits of laziness betwix organisation. And they will thank you. HTH.

    1. I really do have some lazy kids. They NEVER make me coffee. How am I supposed to be lazy when they’re always ME ME ME FOOD FOOD FOOD.

      Y’all on the other side of the ocean do EVERYTHING right!

  16. My solution was to buy a bigger house… with alot more cabinet, attic and closet space. Now I have tons more places to put our crap (we even have a Harry Potter hidden closet under our stairs). Organized, no, BUT my friends think I am!

  17. I read all the comments hoping someone would have a solution… I see there are a lot of us with the MUST-ORGANIZE-but-so-lazy disorder. That 15 minutes thing (with a timer that dings or beeps–KEY!) worked pretty well for me for a while. Then I got lazy and stopped doing the timer. So that sucked.

    I think people who are organized have less stuff is the best I can figure. But for some reason no matter how many giant SUV-loads of crap I take to Goodwill, I can never get there! It’s maddening.

  18. If it weren’t for piles of junk on the floor, I’d have very few filing systems going on.

    “Don’t step there, that’s my important papers to file or read or pay a bill from or something”. “Damnit, the cat did a little dance on my pile of journal entries in the corner that I’m supposed to file in the filing cabinet but never actually do becuz I’m secretly waiting for the filing fairies to arrive”.

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