2 Indirect Benefits of Being Organized

posted by Andrea | 11/10/2017
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Over the course of my life, I have reaped many DIRECT benefits from my organized nature.

  • I can quickly find the things I need
  • I rarely lose things
  • I rarely forget things
  • I save money by using things I have instead of buying new because I can’t find what I need.
  • I’m rarely late without a really good excuse
  • I rarely miss out on important events
  • I have less stress because I plan ahead

However, over the past few years, I have noticed a couple really fantastic INDIRECT benefits of being organized.

They are both things I never really considered to be “benefits” until I realized just how helpful they were in my daily life.

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1. Another adult can more-easily take over my house and childcare responsibilities.

Since I usually take care of all the cooking, meal planning, grocery shopping, laundry, interior cleaning, and “family scheduling”, Dave is definitely at a disadvantage when I’m not around to do this all for him.

However, since I’m usually quite organized and able to plan ahead, I make it possible for Dave (or any other capable adult) to more easily take care of our home and our children with minimal effort or stress.

For example, if I want to run a bunch of errands without kids, I’ll have supper in the slow cooker (or ready to go in the oven), have the table set, have my van ready to go, and I’ll wait to leave until Dave is home from school. He gladly plays with the kids and follows my simple dinner instructions while I get an hour away with no distractions.

Another example — when I was recently in the hospital for Clara’s birth. I had freezer meals ready to go, I cooked up a bunch of breakfast foods ahead of time, I had everything ready for Nora to go to school, and had instructions printed out for each day. Not only did this give me peace of mind, it also made it possible for Dave and a couple of our relatives to effortlessly “take over” for the 2 days I wasn’t around. Maybe things weren’t done exactly as I would have done them, but everything important was taken care of without any stress or worry on my end.

One more example — I created an Important Information Binder several years ago and I updated it at least once every year. This binder has ALL the important information, passwords, account numbers, contact information, etc. that any other adult would need to “take over” in the event of an emergency. Everything is there, easy for them to find, and — although I hope no one will ever need to use this binder–, it gives me peace of mind to know it’s there just in case.

I realize we don’t always have the luxury of planning ahead for times when we can’t take care of our home or our families, but in general, I’m confident that being more organized makes it much easier for someone else to step in if need be.

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2. My kids can do more for themselves.

Since we have a fairly regular “daily routine” and are quite diligent about picking up and putting things away around the house, it’s amazing how much my kids can do all by themselves.

Granted, they might not always listen the first time (or the 2nd!), but when push comes to shove, they all know where every book, toy, game, movie, or piece of clothing goes in their bedrooms or elsewhere in our home.

  • They know where the snacks are and what the “approved” list of snacks are.
  • Simon and Nora know how to refill their own water bottles from the spout on our refrigerator.
  • They know how to work the TV, pull up the correct App on the iPad, and connect it with ChromeCast.
  • They can all access the craft/coloring supplies on their own.
  • They know to take their shoes off in the mudroom and where to hang their coats and put their gloves and hats.
  • They can play outside without adult supervision for extended periods of time as they know what they can and can’t do outside.
  • They all immediately wash their hands (without help) after coming inside or before we eat a meal.
  • They know where the dirty clothes go, and even James knows to put his socks in the separate garment bag hanging from the laundry basket!

Honestly, if I leave my kids with another adult for any reason, I hardly even need to give the adult instructions because my kids practically tell the adult what to do (especially Nora!)

I PROMISE, we don’t have a super strict household — Dave and I are simply very organized and our kids really don’t know any different. We’ve always lived with somewhat of a regular routine, we’ve always picked up and put things away, and we’ve always personally modeled that for our kids.

Of course, there are several things our kids still cannot do, but I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate on how their competence allows me SO much more freedom during the day — especially now that I’m taking care of a fussy newborn again!

By keeping our house fairly neat and organized, and by following some sort of general routine, our kids can do more themselves — yahoo!

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I’m not naturally the type to delegate my responsibilities out to others, but as our family grows and as my list of responsibilities continues to grow, I’ve found that by being more organized, I have the ability to lighten my load and allow other around me to more-easily help when I need it.

It feels great!Β 

Dave and I had a good laugh about this last week when I left him home alone with all FOUR kids so I could go pick up a few things from the grocery store.

5 years ago, I would have been so stressed out to leave him home alone with just Nora — and now, here I am, leaving the house worry-free because I know he can handle the 3 older kids PLUS a newborn PLUS following my instructions to finish getting dinner ready by the time I get home.

I realize being organized doesn’t always mean everything will work out perfectly, but it sure does help — especially when I’m not around to do things for everyone!

Have you noticed any indirect benefits of being organized?

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24 comments

  1. Megan

    11/12/2017

    I have discovered that by being organized I am also able to be more flexible. As a very structured type A person flexibility is not my strong suit. However being organized allows me to feel less stressed when things pop up and I have to be flexible.

    I love following your blog. Thanks for doing it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    YES! I’m not naturally super flexible πŸ™‚ but I can be “more” flexible when I’m organized and ready to go!

    [Reply]

  2. Sherry

    11/10/2017

    We had a death in the family this week. Yesterday we had visitation in the afternoon and again in the evening. Because I am organized I was able to invite family back to my home in between visitations to enjoy a soup and bread buffet. I had been wanting to try it ever since your post a few years ago. My house was clean, I had most of the ingredients on hand and with a little advanced prep work we were able to enjoy a healthy, delicious meal during a difficult day. If my house had been a mess I never could have done this for my family.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh no, so sorry to hear this Sherry.
    I’m glad you were able to host your family and offer them a “safe place” to grieve in between visitations. What a blessing for them!

    [Reply]

  3. Debbie

    11/10/2017

    I’m so impressed how the kids can do so much on their own. That’s such a big help to you and any adult who may have to take over when you’re away. Your binder has been on my To Do List but all our information are in hanging folders in our file cabinet. Each hanging folder is labeled and all information inside. I continually wonder if putting it in a binder would be better or now or I’m just adding work for myself. I suppose if it’s our current system is working for us right now, I should be stressed out too much about it. I do like being organized and the reasons you’ve shared are a good reminder why.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Debbie — it’s been so nice to have kids who are slightly more self sufficient (especially with a new baby)!
    As for the binder, I honestly wouldn’t “waste” the time changing your system if your system works for you. The only added benefit of a binder is that it’s more portable that way — like if you had to grab it and run out of the house for something. However, I’m always an advocate for finding the system that works best for you — and then leaving well enough alone!

    [Reply]

  4. Natlynn

    11/10/2017

    I have a question for you. I’m very organized, but my husband is VERY unorganized. How can I work around his disorganization to keep our house organized??? I work full time and need his help, but he doesn’t put anything back where it belongs.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh wow — this is a tough question! I’m definitely not the expert in this area because Dave is naturally very organized… but here’s a link to a post I wrote on this topic a few years ago. Maybe it will offer some helpful tips!

    [Reply]

  5. Anna

    11/10/2017

    I also saw a benefit during potty training the schedules for bathroom time definitely helps with less accidents and now they can go on their own.

    I also notified that the kids gravitate to the clean organized rooms to play.

    And lastly I feel less stressed about always having to supervise and direct everyone. Now that they are a little older they seem to follow the routine and cleaning up on their own.

    And I also see them getting more confident to try other things on their own instead of needing me to push them to try new things.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, yes, yes, and yes! We’ll be starting potty training with James soon and I’m not dreading it nearly as much this time because we have more of a routine down!

    [Reply]

  6. BB

    11/10/2017

    What a great article! I laughed right out loud at the sentence “Honestly, if I leave my kids with another adult for any reason, I hardly even need to give the adult instructions because my kids practically tell the adult what to do (especially Nora!)” and I love, love, love the photo at the end of Dave holding Clara – just precious! Glad things are rolling along smoothly. Bless you and your family!
    BB

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks πŸ™‚ And yes, that is such a sweet photo!

    [Reply]

  7. Debra Martin

    11/10/2017

    My goal for this three day weekend is to put together my version of your Important Binder. I bought the binder and printed everything off over a year ago, crazy. I wrote it down on top of my to do list last night…and it pops up on your blog today! It will get done this weekend for sure and it
    will be a relief.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — you’ll love it when it’s finished!!

    [Reply]

  8. JJ

    11/10/2017

    I am very organized but am absent-minded and get easily distracted. When we were first married, I had thrown two checks away that people sent us after we were married. Thankfully they were on top, haha! But that is exactly why I NEED a place for everything–or it gets crazy fast! And I love how you both model behavior that your children follow! We are working on that over here.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — that’s great! And yes, thankfully the checks were on top πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  9. Michelle

    11/10/2017

    Great advice and all so true!! Also, it’s good for everyone to be able to help out and have things they can be responsible for. Moms need time off too to recharge or get certain things done. And Dads need confidence that they can support moms with their needs too. I’ve taken way too long to learn this and felt frazzled and overburdened for much too long. Happy for you to be seeing the benefits of teaching kids organization habits

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, exactly! Well said!

    [Reply]

  10. Ruth

    11/10/2017

    Life is just calmer when you’re organized. I’ve never lost my keys or my wallet but my sister loses her keys every week in a major way and the whole house goes crazy and everyone is yelling at each other and chaos ensues. It’s so stressful.

    And now that all my kids are away at college, I am finally able to get into a daily schedule that works for ME and it’s been so great. The teen years were hard because everyone had different activities and things ran SOOO stinkin late!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    amen!
    And yes, I remember my own teen years when my parents were basically constant taxi drivers and spectators at all our events. Life at home is definitely “busy” with 4 little kids, but I know it will just be a different kind of busy in another 10 years. At least now they’re all sleeping by 7:00 πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  11. Evie Fieseler

    11/10/2017

    Such a wonderful photo of Clara snuggled into her Daddy’s neck!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know… so sweet πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  12. Rhonda

    11/10/2017

    Sometimes I get frustrated and tired of having to make so many decisions for our family, but I do realize that when I just “buck up” and continue to do so, everyone is usually happier – because my kids and husband like it when they know what to expect each day. My husband has a job where he makes decisions all day long for patients, so I learned early on that I just had to be okay with making the little decisions (such as what to have for supper) – mostly because his brain is drained of making decisions all day long!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I hear you on the decision overload — but I also agree that everything is always easier when I just do it (even when I’m tired and don’t want to).

    [Reply]