"Know Thyself" and Work with Who You Are

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I have a thing for organization. My dream is to be so organized I can always find what I need or easily tell someone where it is. My dream is to be so organized I don’t misplace my keys, my glasses are where I need them to be and I can leave the house knowing I have what I need for the day. I also dream, and this is a big one – that my family would see how things are organized and follow through with my great example.

Are you laughing yet? Wait, there’s more. I remember reading so many books on organizing my time, my stuff, my house, and my family – each time thinking, “This is the one. It will show me the way.” One tip I remember from all those books was this idea of putting everything in a certain type of box, the writer called them “perfect boxes” which would be clearly labeled and accessible and used by the entire family in the same way so nothing would be out of place. I had dreams, people.

Many years have passed since I tried to find perfection in boxes. And that’s a good thing. But I still have stuff I need to organize in some way. And thankfully, Lisa Lawmaster Hess has some great ideas. For me. That work. And don’t require perfect boxes. And she’ll have some great ideas for you as well. But they may be different than mine because we are not all the same. We have different styles. Are you a “love stuff,” “love to be busy,” or “need to see it” kind of person? Do you tend to “know you put it somewhere,” “drop and run,” or “cram and jam?” Good questions, and Lisa will help you answer them with some fun quizzes. The quizzes were one of my favorite parts of the book.

I love to be busy and need to see it, which translated into piles on my work spaces. I knew everything I needed was somewhere, in a pile. But the piles stressed me out. My stuff was not organized but I was afraid if I put it away, I’d forget about what I had to do! As I read Lisa’s book, I really tried to hone in on her ideas of what would work with my needs, space, and budget. It was the need to see it that was holding me back. But Lisa doesn’t ask you to change, but rather works with who you are while gently and humorously showing you options.

Throughout the book there are real-life examples, practical ideas, and options. Each chapter has a scripture verse to start and a brief list of things to remember from the chapter at the end. There are quizzes, charts, and questions to help you figure out what works for you and your family — always remembering there is no “one size fits all.” That was an important takeaway for me and a huge help. There is no guilt or pressure. There is acceptance and understanding.

"Before and After" by Deanna Bartalini (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Deanna Bartalini. All rights reserved.

So how did it help me? I figured out how to see it while getting rid of the piles that made me unhappy. I put up a large, contact-paper type whiteboard in my office! So now I see it. No need to open the calendar (though I do use a bullet journal) or have piles of stuff. I have a basket under my desk that stores files of current projects and a shelf with cubes to hold papers, books, whatever I need to keep handy. My desk is less cluttered, and I try to put things away when I’m done working on it rather than taking out the first folder and then the next and next – it’s a process!

Can you tell I enjoyed the book and how it helped me? Want some great ideas that will work for your style? Grab a copy of Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting your Stuff: you won’t regret it.

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Copyright 2019 Deanna Bartalini

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About Author

Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, and educator. She and her husband Deacon John have two married children and a grandson. Deanna loves teaching about Catholicism and how it fits into our daily lives. She writes at DeannaBartalini.com, serves as the editor of the NewEvangelizers.com blog, and is a contributor there as well as at AmazingCatechists.com. Deanna contributed to A Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion published by Ave Maris Press. She has written “Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life: Growing in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control” one book in the series of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women published by Our Sunday Visitor. Deanna is available to lead retreats and speak at catechist and ministry events.

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