Parents: Are You Guilty of the Seven Sins of Organizing?

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Parents: are you guilty of the seven sins of organizing? Expert details the seven most common organizing obstacles parents face.

Tonia Tomlin, a professional organizer by trade and proud mother of identical twins Peyton and Sidney, knows first-hand the challenges parents face when it comes to getting - and staying - organized. According to Tomlin, author of the newly-released Choas 2 Calm: The Moms-of-Multiples' Guide to an Organized Family, "For many parents, getting organized is only half the battle - staying organized is often the other half. Parents today are so focused on their children's needs that it's easy not to make organizing a priority. What most parents don't realize, though, is that being organized is so much easier than not being organized."

Through her work with hundreds of parents, Tomlin has observed that parents today face seven primary organizing obstacles:
1. Not organizing paperwork. Most homes, Tomlin reports, have no filing system for important papers, documents, and records. There are few things more chaotic than living in a home where papers, documents, receipts, and records are everywhere - and not collected in one primary place in the home.
2. Not having a place for everything. Tomlin maintains that everything should have a place. Not only does this take the guess work out of trying to locate an item, but can prevent parents from wasting valuable resources, such as the time they would spend searching for an item, or money wasted on buying duplicate items they don't really need.
3. Organizing selectively. Tomlin says that too many parents make the mistake of not fully committing to an organizing system. Like items should be kept together all of the time - not just some of the time. Not only will this strategy keep parents from having to run all over the house when they are trying to get out quickly, but is especially important in the event of an emergency.
4. Attempting to go paperless. Tomlin believes there are a number of problems that occur when attempting to go paperless. Tomlin says it typically takes more time to scan and organize documents in a computer than it would take to just develop an easy-to-maintain filing system, and many times, going paperless results in a more disorganizing system. However, Tomlin says that the biggest pitfall of going paperless is that it increases one's dependence on a computer. If there is a problem with the computer and the necessary papers can't be accessed, the system isn't effective.
5. Not identifying needs before shopping for organizing products. Tomlin says that it never ceases to amaze her how many parents decide that they are going to get organized once and for all, and buy organizational products that they don't really need. Parents need to have a clear idea of what they do - and don't - need before shopping for products. Having organizational products that aren't of use is a waste of time, money, and valuable space.
6. Holding on to "stuff" for emotional reasons. Tomlin recommends that parents ask themselves if they really need to keep all of the things they're hanging on to. Do you really need to keep the five year old dress you wore to your child's baptism? Keep the memory; discard the item. Tomlin recommends that parents strive to keep items that are functional and useful, and be mindful of not keeping things around for emotional reasons.
7. Feeling guilty about "purging" things. Tomlin says that parents should never feel guilty about discarding things that their kids no longer need, use, or want. She adds that since we live in a world where kids are overwhelmed with stuff, and parents need to do their part to keep the clutter at bay.

In the end, says Tomlin, parents need to understand the impact of disorganization on their kids: "A lack of organization will be chaotic both for kids and parents. If parents are exhausted, frustrated, and stressed out because of a lack of order, children tend to respond in a similar way. Parents want to give their kids everything they possibly can, and order is absolutely one of the best gifts you can give your kids."

A sought-after media guest, Tonia Tomlin has been featured in numerous local, regional, and national media print and broadcast media outlets, including HGTV's "Mission Organization" program. Tomlin lives in Plano, Texas, with her husband, Rob, and their identical twin girls, Peyton and Sydney. Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms-of-Multiples' Guide to an Organized Family is available where better books are sold. Members of the news media wishing to request additional information are asked to contact Maryglenn McCombs by phone - (615) 297-9875.

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