Angela Ploetz

Certified Professional

Freedom Filer Certified

Clear and Simple Certified®

President of the NAPO-Austin Chapter


My goal is to help people create a space that supports them, mentally, physically, and aesthetically. When you are free from the chaos you have the capacity to create more of what you want.

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Family Style-Organizing

by Angela On July 22, 2008

I recently met with a client and he kept saying “I’ve tried everything before, but it never works out because nobody else knows where to put anything except for me.  I need everyone to participate”.   

What my client was talking about is getting buy-in from the entire family in order to create and maintain an organized home.  Before I start working with clients I always send them a form to fill out and one of the questions on the forms is “Who will be affected by getting this space organized?” 

If the answer is everyone, then it may be time for “Family Style-Organizing”.  This means getting the entire group involved in the process or at least part of the process.   If you are organizing a space that is being used by multiple people of different ages and heights then you have a lot of things to consider.  Start with a general brain-storming session to get everyone’s ideas on what kind of changes they would like to see happen in the space.  Ask each member of the family what the most important thing is for them to be able to do in the space.  If the family member is too young to speak, but can grab things off shelves, that’s something to take into consideration when planning the space.   

When it’s time to get organized get the entire family involved even if it’s just for a few minutes and then Grandma comes by to take them to see a movie.  Kids can definitely get involved in grouping like items with like items.  It’s like the match game.  You are simply putting all the canned goods together in one box and the snacks in another box.  It’s important for children to learn the process of how to get organized.   

Don’t forget to get their participation when it’s time to reduce and de-clutter.  If you can teach your children about donating and letting items go at an early age you will benefit by having fewer items to deal with later and have a child who is accustomed to reducing their items on a regular basis.  

When you start to determine where everything goes make sure the most frequently used items are easily accessible by those who use them the most.  Also be sure to label all containers so everyone knows where things go. 

As part of the organizing process don’t forget to take time to come up with a family plan to keep the space neat and tidy and working for you.  Write out a list of guidelines that need to happen regarding the space such as:  If a person takes something out they need to put it back where it goes; Mom (or Dad, or a child) will evaluate the space once per month and remove any items that are not being uses; and we will revaluate the space every Spring as a family.  

When family members get involved with an organizing process it helps them  understand the system better so they feel more comfortable using the system and feel a sense of ownership, which helps keep the space organized and functioning longer.   

An organized space that everyone can agree on, now that’s the good life!


Angela Ploetz

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