When You Want to Be An Organized Mom

Someone recently wrote to ask me how she could become a more organized Mom:

QUESTION: I am as far from a Type A personality as they come, and I struggle (still!) with productivity and discipline.  As a Homeschool mom of 5, with number 6 due in just weeks, I am convicted of how important discipline and order is.  It’s not that I don’t eagerly desire to move from point A to point B… I just don’t know how!  And every attempt over the years has proved to be unsuccessful.   Do you have resources that you can recommend for a girl like me?  I WANT to be an orderly, productive mama….

ANSWER: First of all, I’m somewhere between a Type A and whatever other type there is. Not a true intense A, 24/7. But girl, I’ve raised 10 adults with two more to go, and still struggle with productivity and discipline. Actually I choose to say “productivity and discipline are a challenge” because I stay far away from the struggle word. I don’t want my brain to overhear me speaking that over my life and self, because we move towards what we think about. I want my brain to think “rise to the challenge!”

You have to decide what being orderly and productive means to YOU. Don’t compare yourself to other families or Pinterest or who you think is an organized mom. What do you want YOUR life to look like? What is really important to your husband and your kids? Ask them, the answers might surprise you. Then make a written list and decide what you can reasonably do. Write it down to prevent the things on this list from becoming a swirling vortex of thoughts in your mind.

If you’re overwhelmed by something, figure out a system to help. For instance, when we had 8 kids at home, laundry was often overwhelming. It helped to get a basket for each person and keep it in their bedroom where they got undressed. On weekdays two kids were assigned to do their laundry, the older helping the younger. If your older kids need some training or help from you to do that, I promise it will pay off in the long run. Start by asking yourself “what is causing me stress?” Hint: Sometimes it’s a discipline issue, not the laundry. It might even be a child’s discipline issue.

If the house is continually a mess, get rid of a bunch of stuff. It’s not worth the stress and feelings of failure to keep stuff. Only have a few toys out at a time, put the rest away and rotate them. Decide on a certain amount of clothing per family member. Evaluate the mess-makers and cut back where you can.

Simplify as much as you can, especially when your new baby comes. (By the way, here’s my postpartum advice). Paper plates, disposable diapers, etc.—anything to make life easier. For whatever stuff you keep, figure out a way to store it so that it doesn’t look clutter-y. Baskets are great because they look neat and uniform on a shelf but inside they can be a casual jumble, making it easy to clean up after a task by tossing in items. Part of being an organized mom is recognizing your human limitations and keeping things simple accordingly.

Ask God for wisdom. He gives it liberally and without reproach. He sings over you and He is gentle with you. Give yourself grace. Your most important work right now is growing a human being.

Don’t make personality or the stories you tell yourself an excuse to not improve areas of your life. Speak life over yourself and your home. Take thoughts captive when they say you’re hopeless or disorganized. Turn your thoughts to hope and belief. Tips are helpful but they can’t fix things like despair and discouragement. Our self-talk and untrue identity and strongholds of belief become the ungodly filter through which we view everything, and I mean everything–from the interpretation of what your husband said to your confidence as a home maker. Who told you that you’d never be an organized mom? What happened that made you feel hopeless to gain self-discipline? You get to change the story and take out the parts that aren’t true and real.

Start today with just three things. There are three things that you or a child or your husband can do to have a cleaner, more pleasant home. Write them down on three sticky notes and crush ‘em when the task is done. Or write them on a list and boldly cross through them to feel the satisfaction after they’re finished. Small wins give you a feeling of success, and that will condition your brain to look for more small wins.

These may seem like small, simple things to do, but that’s how we grow and make changes: a little at a time. What if you made three changes per month? By the end of the year you’d make thirty-six changes. See how that adds up?

I bet you have some tips and encouragement for this mom, too. Please share!


  1. jadegreen says:

    Thank you so much for this post today. My husband is away on a 5-day trip; he does so much to support the home-life that his absence has been sorely felt. I did the right thing by trying to scale back what we planned to get through this week in terms of school and housekeeping, but when I couldn’t even “keep up” with that little bit, I beat myself up with negative self-talk! “How can you not even do just THIS?! You’re just a terrible parent!” Thank you for stopping me in my tracks. The Lord just wants to love me and take care of me; He isn’t trying to measure how many loads of laundry I do today.

    1. Charlotte says:

      Yes! We say things to ourselves that we wouldn’t dream of saying to others! Glad you were stopped in your tracks and I’m glad to encourage you! 🙂

  2. Michelle Palmer says:

    Love this! I am so thankful that my mom taught and lived much the same way. I love tidy-Ness and I’m pretty good at it but I still need encouragement and new ideas are great too.

    Less *is* more! And everything in it’s place?

    1. Charlotte says:

      I’m visual and tidy surroundings feel peaceful to me, but it takes systems and “less stuff” to keep it that way! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Tere Figueras says:

    Dear Charlotte,
    Your e-mails have a way of arriving at the precise moment when i have reached the point of “there’s no way this/that/the other is going to get put away/cleaned/organized, or done at all.” Before my hip replacement four years ago, you encouraged me so much, and now, while my hip is doing great, all due to His mercy, osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, plus fibromyalgia and the accomoanying pain and fatigue have become my daily challenges. My husband, who has always been my rock and my supoort system, has been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. God has put some wonderful doctors in our path, and the treatments they have my husband on are being quite successful. He has to manage his activity level, yet he does all the stuff i could easily do, but can’t do now. The house is pretty much upside down w upside down in spite of his best efforts. It wasn’t until i read your e-mail just now that i can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve had routines, followed Flylady, Marilyn’s Way, and since many years ago, the Sidetracked Sisters. There have been progress and setbacks, but no setbacks as big as now, and no smaller bit of progress than now. Thanks to your wise words, I feel as though a window has been opened and a fresh Spring breeze is going through me. I’m ready to begin anew. I will keep your e-mail as a reminder that I can do this. I can’t thank you enough. Know I admire you, not only for what you do (homeschooling mom, blogger, etc.), but for the way you do it, always lovingly, and putting Him first. I’m so grateful to have found This Lovely Place. Continued blessings.
    Tere F.

    1. Charlotte says:

      Oh Tere. You have a LOT to carry right now, and I’m so glad to have been a tiny encouragement to you! Don’t drag all of tomorrow’s to-do’s and stresses into today, life is too short to live in continual guilt and anxiety. I pray that you and your husband are able to find doable systems to keep up with life and household, but also that your bodies will be healed and strengthened in the days ahead! <3

  4. Barbara S. says:

    I just found your website today!!
    Your words were so relevant to what I was going thru today.
    Words that were almost Angelic…
    Thank you.
    I have subscribed and will view your website often.

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