Resolutions: getting organized

Over the years, I’ve made resolutions and succeeded, made resolutions and failed miserably, and I’ve even taken the bah-humbug route and refused to make resolutions at all. While there is something appealing about the bah-humbug method, I have come to appreciate the time out each year to stop and think about where I’ve been, where I’m going, and the best next steps to get me where I want to be.

I want to be organized.

Lack of organization costs us so much time and money, and we have none of either to spare. We may be dirt poor college students and every dollar we spend is borrowed right now, but time is the element about which I am most concerned. I have less time than money, and I have no money. How is it that the people around me are constantly trying to figure out things to do with their time? They offer me suggestions on how to pass my time as though they’re doing me a favor. Thanks, I got it covered. They worry I might be bored. Sorry, boredom is a luxury, and I just don’t have time for it.

And that “Sleep when they sleep” piece of (ahem) advice people offer up to new mothers – that’s a cruel joke. If I slept when my daughter slept, I’d never get my bills paid, toilet scrubbed, homework done, or fight the daily battles with our health insurance company – which we pay for out of our student loans so we are also paying interest on the exorbitant sums they extract from us before refusing to cover preapproved expenses.

Where was I? oh, yeah, getting organized.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to get organized before. I have gone down that road many times. I actually enjoy the process of getting organized, especially when I have the time – and money to spend on little organizing toys like pretty file folders and label making machines.

This time, I want to take a different approach. In the past, the road to organization involved adding complication, and invariably, a long list of rigid rules. Not only did I have trouble getting buy-in from my husband on all those rules, it didn’t take me long to rebel either. The cure was worse than the disorganization.

So how do I do this? How do I get organized in a manner that doesn’t turn our lives into a rule ridden hell? How do I combine organization with simplifying?

I don’t have much in the way of answers just yet. We are going to start with downsizing. We are going to get rid of a lot of stuff. Here’s the kicker. Going through stuff (especially when making value judgments on what to keep) takes time, as do other aspects of organizing.

How do I make sure that the act of getting organized does not create processes that take up more time than they save? How do I make sure I don’t get bogged down while going through our stuff? That’s a tough one for me. I’m always finding something fascinating like an old year book, or journal, or photos, that distract me from the task at hand.

Has anyone written a book on organizing for people with ADD? I think that might come in handy. In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to draw my attention back away from the distractions, and focus on a game plan for getting our home, schoolwork, school financing, writing, medical expenses, and everything else organized.

What are you working on?


Seattle writer, Judy Schwartz Haley, blogs about raising a toddler while battling cancer, finishing a degree, and fending off ninjas. Also, she needs more coffee.
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