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Blog: The Simplified Home
Four Common Characteristics in Chaotic Homes

Over the next several months I will be featuring excerpts of my new book and family chore system 'Mom, Can I Help Around the House? A Simple Step-by-step System for Teaching Your Children Life-long Skills for Pitching in and Picking up'  To learn more about the book, visit: http://www.onlineorganizing.com/ProductsPage.asp?name=Mom_Can_I_Help_Around_the_House
I start this series with an explanation about why, as an Organizing Consultant, I felt this topic of calming the chaos by getting kids on board to contribute to household maintenance was so necessary to write about and put forth.
In my work with clients for the past four years, I've observed many characteristics in chaotic homes, but here I focus on four major characteristics that I've found to be most common.
1.      Lack of systems and homes for belongings
Without systems and procedures, each time a task is performed; it's like reinventing the wheel.  Time, energy and productivity are lost.   In addition, if belongings do not have consistent homes, then again, time, energy and productivity are lost when searching for needed items.   Without systems and regular homes for belongings, family members have nothing to count on in the home, like "this is the process for performing this task, or this is where we put this item." 
2.      Children not consistently performing home maintenance tasks as an active member of the family team
Let me share with you one lesson I've learned in my many years as an Organizing Consultant and parent of two you cannot truly gain control of your home and achieve an organized lifestyle if your children are not an active and contributing member of the family team working toward the common goal of keeping the home picked up, organized, and running smoothly.
      From my observation, the less the children are given clear home maintenance expectations (chores) and consequences for not performing these expected tasks, the more chaotic and disorderly is the home, and the more frazzled and overwhelmed is the home manager.
3.      Procrastination runs rampant in chaotic homes 
Procrastination is a bad habit.  There is really nothing positive that comes from choosing to procrastinate.  In the organizing world we define it as a delayed decision.  There are many causes of procrastination, most notably our increasingly fast paced 24/7 lifestyle, but essentially, procrastination is an impulse to delay an action or decision until a later time.  Procrastination is always present in disorganized and chaotic homes.  Procrastination often spreads to all family members when one person gets away with it, it opens the door for others to adopt the same behavior.
4.      More stuff comes into the home than leaves
With the massive debt that the average American carries, it is no surprise that our homes are bursting at the seams with over purchasing and consumption.  Common in chaotic homes, are often few limits placed on how much stuff comes into the home.   Impulse purchasing is common, with little analysis about the purpose of a new purchase or where it will be stored once home.  Then as a result of our busy lives, we never get around to the drudgery of purging little used and no longer valued stuff.  Without regular efforts to equalize our stuff (eliminate equal amounts of existing stuff as new stuff is brought home), our homes are soon bursting at the seams and in a state of chaos.
There are many more common characteristics than the four I've detailed above, but these major characteristics will give you some food for thought.  Can you identify your own household in any of these characteristics? 
Next week The importance of modeling and teaching home maintenance life-skills to your children.

posted on: 3/10/2008 10:00:00 AM by Janet Nusbaum, The Organizing Genie
category: Homes

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The Simplified Home

by Janet Nusbaum, The Organizing Genie

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About Janet:

Janet Nusbaum creates calm out of chaos, and loves bringing serenity and order to overwhelmed households, cluttered offices, frazzled parents, and transitioning seniors and families. Janet, President of Simplified Spaces & The Simplified Home, is an Organizing Consultant, Senior Move Manager, Author and Speaker.

She is the author of "Mom, Can I Help Around the House?" A Simple, Step-by-Step System for Teaching Your Children Life-Long Skills for Pitching-In & Picking-up".

She is a proud member: National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) & National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD)

Visit our blog - www.TheOrganizingGenie.com, and sign-up to receive our special report "SHELF LIFE OF 75 COMMON HOUSEHOLD ITEMS. Use this report to decide what to keep and what to toss ... then TAKE ACTION!!

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