When I work on an office or home organization, quite often we will create (or tweak) a system. A lot of effort and time is spent in creating a space that will work for the individual. But, what happens if you happen to share an office or home with someone who doesn’t care OR does not see the importance of being organized? A question I get quite often is, “How do I get the rest of my family/office to follow this new system?” Here are my two cents worth:
1. Clearly communicate to everyone your newly organized space
Share with them what was involved in the process of getting organized and what it means to you. Case Study: I worked together with a busy mom of three to get her pantry organized with a new system in place for snacks, treats, lunch items, etc. When she asked me, “How do I get my family to keep it this way?” I suggested a family meeting. We all sat down together and I explained what we did with their pantry, why we put things where we did, why we put some items out of reach (of the kids), etc. We treated it like a field trip of the pantry. I then got the mom to explain to her family what it meant to her to have a pantry that didn’t bring her shoulders up every time she opened the door. The kids could see how important this was for their mom. The significant other had no idea how much stress the pantry added to his loved one. Now that the rest of the family knew how much the pantry bothered their mom, they made a family decision to help keep the pantry looking in top shape!
2. Teach an old dog a new trick
Repetition, repetition, repetition! That is the key for this strategy! Although this one takes a bit of work, I love incorporating this one! I especially love this one when the above does not work. Case Study: A new back entry way that was created for a busy family of four. The washer and dryer were removed from the back entry way to the basement. This freed up space in the entry way. A shoe organizer was purchased (IKEA) and attached to the wall. The top drawer of the shoe organizer had a pull-out drawer that we designated for keys. ANY keys! Hooks were placed on the wall so that there was space to hang up coats. So, how did this mom get the family to put their things away? We used the “Teach an old dog new tricks” strategy. Any time she found keys she would just put them in the drawer. She would not say one word to the owner of the keys, she would just put them away. The same went with coats and jackets. Any time she found one on the floor, the couch, etc. she would put it on a hook. Why this strategy? Where do you think the rest of the family went when it was time to grab a jacket or a set of keys? You got it! They were ‘trained’ to go to the correct spot. Not only were they ‘trained’ where to find the keys and jackets, they were also trained to put them away in the proper place. Now, that didn’t happen over night, but it also didn’t take long for the rest of the family to see how easy it was to put things away AND how easy it was to find things. Although this strategy does take work, time and effort, it is so worth it!
Happy talking and training!