How can I get my children to be more organized?
What are some signs of hoarding in children?
How can I get my spouse to follow through and clean up after completing a chore?
How can I make my home office functional instead of a “clutter-catch-all?”
How can I explore my dreams and organize my goals for life?

These are some of the questions I am often asked…
Let’s face it, Moms are the CEO of their homes; they are expected to run the household with precision and are replied upon to create and organize “systems” to accomplish that. But what if your husband and your children have different ideas about what organized looks like and how they need to organize their “stuff.”

A client shared a story recently with me about cutting her finger while preparing lunch. She immediately reached for a drawer that she knew contained a mini first aid kit only to find it empty, and had to run upstairs to another “stash” of first aid supplies. Later that night telling her husband about her dilemma he explained that he had organized all the first aid supplies that were all over the house, putting them into the garage in one single location that made more sense!

Your husband, children and you, may all have different organizing systems. Obviously my client’s husband thought “like” should be with “like” altogether in one place. Whereas my client thought that having things where you might need them, no matter how many different places, was more logical.

You can test your children very simply – by playing a game to see you who can sort a large pile of toys into 3 separate piles most quickly. Similarly you could even dump a couple of “junk” drawers and you or your husband could do the same! Sorting the toys or drawer contents without thinking will reveal how each of them instinctively organizes.

• Like with like – all dolls, all cars, all legos; paper clips, pens, hi-lighters; cold medicine, aspirin, toiletries.

• Size with size – a pile for small, one for medium and all large items.

• Colors – all red toys, project - all scrapbooking supplies or frequency of use – maybe a certain screwdriver or kitchen appliance is used more often than another.

There are many ways to group items, but this test will reveal what is most logically and easily maintained for each person in the home. And can be applied to clothes, kitchen utensils, tools and hobby or school supplies.
This process can reveal hoarding tenancies as sorting items will allow you to discover duplicates or large “collections.” If you or your children have a tendency to collect or hoard items, by purging often you can set a good example for your children to follow. You can also ask why a child feels the need to hang onto to certain items and might be surprised to learn that they are attached to something because of an emotion or accomplishment.

Creating a system of “homes” for things will help eliminate “catch-all-corners.”

• A set of hooks for keys – either upon entering the home or in the kitchen.

• A mail and message center – upon entering the home, in the office or in the kitchen.

• A vertical file or pocket calendar system for bills, lists, to-do’s, current coupons and receipts.
Having a set of House Rules that everyone follows is a great way to systematically stop clutter from collecting where it should not.

• If YOU get it out - YOU put it away. If YOU take it out of the cupboard, drawer, room, house, garage - YOU put it back where it came from.

• If YOU start a project – YOU finish it, and clean up after yourself.

Family SEASONAL PURGES – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Put it on a communal calendar – one day or one weekend – every three months.

• If YOU have a junk drawer – YOU purge and organize it at least once a month.

My latest book – Stuff Your Face OR Face Your Stuff and my new Curb The Chaos System contain a wealth of information visit for more help creating organizing systems for your life such as:

• Getting organized for optimal weight and diet management

• De-cluttering and organizing all the stuff in your home

• Identifying your goals and organizing your business for success

• Embracing your spirituality and organizing for stress reduction

Author's Bio: 

Dorothy Breininger is America’s Most Innovative Professional Organizer with a new book called, Stuff Your Face or Face Your Stuff.

Dorothy is a member and lecturer for the National Association of Professional Organizers and Institute for Challenging Disorganization.

She is an organizing expert on A&E Television’s Emmy-nominated weekly TV series, “Hoarders,” and also appears on the Today Show, the Dr. Phil Show, the VIEW, QVC and PBS in addition to being featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and O Magazine.

Dorothy co-authored five organizing books, produced an award-winning documentary, “Saving Our Parents”, and is a high-energy, sought-after national speaker who inspires her audiences to produce results and take immediate action.

Dorothy is the past United States Small Business Association Award Winner and 3 time recipient of NAPO-LA’s “Most Innovative Organizer Award”. Learn more about services and coaching -