Simple Steps to Help Family Members Get Organized.

Simple Steps to Help Family Members Get Organized.

I understand we’re all going through a very difficult time right now. Like many of you I’m out of work but in an attempt to keep some normalcy in my life and yours I continue to publish my monthly newsletter. My goal in doing so is to provide you with something positive to focus on and support you in your desire to live an organized life.

I hope you and you’re family stay healthy, that’s what’s most important right now. If you need a laugh I recommend going to YouTube and searching for Pluto Living. It’s hilarious.

Now, back to the reason you’re here – organizing tips.

My husband noticed, due to the stay-at- home order, I’m suffering from organizing withdrawal so he asked me to organize a space of his in the basement. This is highly unusual so I was very surprised. He’s occasionally asked me to help him get organized but doesn’t set me loose to tackle his stuff alone.

The first thing we did was take a look at the space. I asked him what his goals were. They were simply to get all his shipping material organized. He often sells things on eBay so he has lots of boxes, too many boxes if you ask me, but he never asks me.
I asked him about the contents of shelves in the area and quickly got an understanding of what changes I could make and what was off limits. This will be an easy job for me so I agreed to take it on while he works from home.

I did the following:
  • Put like size boxes together.
  • Put all mailing envelopes in one bin.
  • Created a shelf for things currently listed for sale. I had to move these items to a different shelf.
  • Labeled the shelves.
  • Cut up and recycled extra boxes. I was careful to keep plenty of each size.
  • Created a “do you want this pile”. If I was not sure if he’d want an item I put it here.

It took me about six hours to complete the job. I told you he had a lot of boxes. He loved the results.                             I forgot to take a before picture but here’s the after picture.


Do you have family members who’d like to get organized? You can help them but first you have to gain their trust. In order to gain their trust you have to respect their wishes and understand their perspective.

  • What brought on their desire to get organized?
  • What are their goals?
  • How will being organized impact their life? How will it impact your life if at all? Think about this! Do they have the same goals you have or do your goals conflict with theirs?
  • When you offer to help them get organized are they afraid you’re going to throw their stuff away? Putting that family member at ease and gaining their trust is critical if you hope to help them.
  • The person you’re helping should feel they’re in control. You can offer advice based on what you know and what has worked for you but you can’t tell them what to do. Remember the way someone organizes their space is very personal.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Sit down and have a conversation with your family member. Ask what space bothers them the most. Determine what their organizational goals are. Discuss how organization will positively impact all of your lives.

2. Agree on where you’ll start. Will it be the pantry? Agree on a strategy. You’ll throw away any food that’s expired; you’ll put like things together. If there are things in the pantry that are good but no one in your house uses them you’ll donate them to the soup kitchen or your local food bank.
If he/she is worried that you’ll get rid of something they want to keep agree to show him/her what you plan to donate before it leaves the home.

3. If your family member isn’t sure they want your help don’t push them. Organize one of your personal spaces. Organize your make-up, your tool bench, the linen closet, your clothes closet, but don’t touch the other family member’s things.
When you’re done show them what you did. Hopefully they’ll see how the changes you’ve made have helped you and will be willing to consider working with you to organize one of their spaces. Do not work in anyone else’s space without their permission. Be respectful of their property and their right to make their own decisions.

4. When you’re done organizing a space that others use, like the pantry, give every member of the household a tour of the new system so they can follow it. If you’ve reorganized the entire kitchen and it’s too much to remember use labels to help remind yourself and others where things belong. You can label pantry shelves, inside cabinet doors and even label the outside of the cabinet doors with temporary post-it notes. Once the new systems have become second nature you can remove the labels if you wish.

Just remember, have patience and don’t give up.

If you’re like many of us you’re stuck at home with family members due to the stay-at-home order. This is a great time to work together to tackle an organizing project you can both be proud of. It will, for a time, occupy your mind with something other than the very difficult time we are all dealing with right now.

It’s also a good time to remind you I’m here to help. I’m not currently doing in-home organizing with clients but can offer you my virtual organizing service to plan and guide you through an organizing project. You still get my expert advice and 16 years of experience as a Certified Professional Organizer to make the most of your time at home. Don’t wait; your opportunity is now to emerge out of this crisis with a sense of accomplishment.   

Stay safe.
Lorraine
Copyrighted Naturally Organized L.L.C. 2020

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