Thanks, Mom!

the organized parents

Here’s a photo of my parents, Ma and Pa Bell. (And yes, I just learned how to upload pictures, so you’ll be seeing more of them. Photos, that is. Not my parents.)

With Mother’s Day just a few days away, I wanted to give a shout-out to my mom for teaching me so much about organizing, all of it by example. Maybe she’s a fabulous organizer because she was a home economics teacher. Maybe she’s just inherently an organized person.

Or perhaps her skills were born of necessity. She¬† needed to devise some effective systems to juggle three kids, a business (she and my dad owned the late, great Ross Pharmacy & Medical Equipment in Havertown, Penna.), grocery shopping, laundry, gardening, carpools, music lessons, band practice (high school marching band, not rock ‘n’ roll), billing for pharmacy customers, scheduling and more.

I’ve inherited my pleasure in order from her. We both like to be able to find what we want when we need it, and we prefer to live in homes with less clutter (less clutter = less dust, more space and greater peace). I’m not sure if being organized is inherited, though there’s some evidence that hoarding behaviors are. (More on that in another post.)

Here are some words of advice I often heard from my mom. Is it any surprise I say them all the time now to my family?

“Put it back where you got it.” — Everything, from hammers to saute pans to Band-Aids, needs a home. If it always goes in the same place, you’ll never have to scramble to find it.

“Make a list.” — A grocery list hold down your costs and waste because you’re not duplicating what’s in your pantry or fridge. It also save time, eliminating the need to run back to the store for something you forgot. Check out these wacky but comprehensive notepads for all sorts of lists.

“Send a card.” — I’m guessing that my mom has never bought a “happy belated birthday” card because she never misses a birthday. She’ll sign and address a batch of cards and then write the date they need to arrive in the upper right-hand corner of the envelope. A few days before the Big Day, she covers the date with a stamp and mails the card.

What did you learn — helpful or detrimental — from your parents about organizing?


About organizesf

Professional organizer June Bell ( combats clutter and chaos with sage advice, tested techniques and good humor.
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