#1: Reset and Living Standards {Organizing Boot Camp}

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Organizing Boot Camp is going to start with a reset. My hope is that this boot camp will be a chance for you to learn some great organizing skills and come away with a refreshed perspective that YOU (yes, You) can be organized.


The first thing we are going to do is prepare ourselves emotionally. It is time to stop letting past mistakes haunt you. To move on, you are going to have to forgive yourself and others, and then try again.

Hold A Family Meeting

Gather your family and household members around you. Apologize sincerely for your part in the problem. Absolutely do not point fingers and blame anyone. This is about YOU, not them. Be humble and real. Sometimes I feel the need to apologize to my kids for my most recent parenting blunders. I tell them that I’m still learning how to be a mom. I do not tell them that it would be easier for me to be the perfect mom if they were the perfect kids. Nothing will ruin a family meeting faster than everyone feeling defensive and putting up walls. If you want your family to support you and make some changes with you, dissolve the defensive walls with humility and soft words. Lead by example and your actions will teach more than any lecture.

My husband does this thing with our kids that I think is genius. When there has been a fight or an incident that leads to lots of ruffled feathers, he has everyone explain what happened, but they are only allowed to say their part and only what they did or said, including what they could’ve done differently. If they start to say “because so-and-so…”, he will stop them and redirect them to only tell their part. This is basically what I’m asking you to do with your family. I want you to say out loud your part in your home’s disorganization and nothing else. This isn’t because no one else has anything to do with it, this is because it reminds us to work on ourselves first. After all, our effort is all we can truly control.

Boot Camp Living Standards

Before soldiers go out and train physically, they are expected to leave their bunks in good order. These strict living standards help train the soldiers in self-discipline. During this boot camp, I want you to live a higher personal standard and train yourself in some of the little, but important, habits of living organized.

Make your bed every morning. Instantly brighten your room and mood by simply making your bed. Everything feels cleaner when beds are made. You might find yourself doing other “little easy things” in a positive domino effect from making your bed. I always do. Whether consciously or subconsciously, making your bed makes a big difference.

Get dressed out of grubby clothes every day. If yoga pants are your daily uniform, make sure they are at least a clean pair of yoga pants and go ahead and fix your hair while you’re at it. Do what it takes to personally feel ready for whatever. Getting dressed does wonders for changing the course of our day. Being dressed pushes away procrastination and feelings of “ugh”.

No dirty clothes on the floor. Make the effort every day to put dirty clothes away. This isn’t to say I expect you to have your laundry system sorted from Day 1, this is to say I expect no dirty clothes on the floor, but put away in hampers or laundry baskets or wherever your dirty clothes go.

Leave your kitchen clean every night. Every single night, these basic things need to happen. In my family, no one leaves the kitchen after dinner until all of this has happened. Working together means more family time, teaching our children important life skills, and many hands make light work. Win-win.

  • Clean the dishes and leave the sink empty. Do not leave today’s mess for tomorrow! You will not feel more like cleaning today’s dishes tomorrow.
  • Wipe your counters down.
  • Sweep your floor.

Be Ready

Will it be easy to keep the Boot Camp Living Standards? No. This is boot camp, it is hard, but if you let yourself dive into the process, you can learn habits and make changes you didn’t know were possible.

Worry does not count as work. It just doesn’t. Worrying about having a clean or organized house, does not actually clean or organize your house. If you want something you’ve never had, you are going to have to do something you’ve never done.

To review, your first assignment —-

First Assignment

  • Reset yourself mentally.
  • Hold a family/household meeting.
  • Start Boot Camp Living Standards {1. Bed   2. Dress  3. Dirty Clothes Off Floor  4. Clean Kitchen}

Now get to it soldier! Work on this first assignment until you hear more from me.

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36 thoughts on “#1: Reset and Living Standards {Organizing Boot Camp}

  1. I am ready for a reset. I know my part. I get too many projects going at the same time, then none of them get completed or put away. I am way better at starting than finishing. This is a easy way to get going. Bed, dress, dirty clothes off floor, clean kitchen before bed.

    1. You know, I love starting multiple projects at the same time too, it is just how my brain works. I’ve come to really really enjoy that “finished” feeling, so now that I am familiar with how it feels to finish something, I keep going to get there. This is definitely something you can get better at. I’m glad you’re joining us!

  2. Love this! Those four things are things that I’ve been saying I want to do for a long time. I hope this boot camp gives me the kick in the pants I need to help make them habits.

  3. But what happens when your family rolls their eyes and says “we’ve heard this before”? It’s very frustrating. I’ve reset so many times. I’m trying again.

    1. You know, it is frustrating. But try to put yourselves in their shoes. If you’ve tried many times and never finished, that could be frustrating for everyone. I think as you keep going with this and show them that this time is different, that you are truly committed, they will start to be supportive. Just keep kindness in your voice and lead by example. Make this your time to be successful!

  4. Love today’s assignment! I live alone with one son living off-campus but only 20 minutes away and one in the Navy. The son that lives the closest came out to hone to have dinner with me so we could have our family meeting. Meeting went great and he commented that he knew I would do well I “boot camp ” since he could still see the results of last year’s declutter challenge!

    Dishes are done and kitchen sink shining from a little baking soda and elbow grease. Since I work outside of the home, and therefore have to dress each morning, I am changing that up slightly to having my clothes laid out the night before. After all my decluttering efforts, I still have mornings where I stare into the closet at a complete loss. Hope that small change in the daily assignment is OK!

  5. I love this idea ! I am going to begin first thing in the morning. Thanks again for the wonderful inspiration !

  6. I love this idea. Why do we only clean up for company? don’t we deserve the best we have to give? I’ve done some reassessing since I’ve joined this group and I decided that I deserve better than I have been giving myself. I live alone(with three dogs) so I am taking
    responsibility for treating me to the BEST I have to offer.

    1. We shouldn’t only clean for others. We deserve to be comfortable in our environment too! Making that mental switch makes such a difference!

  7. I live alone totally and I try to start with making the bed every day. The days I slip up are not usually good days. Picking up dirty clothes after dressing every morning is a must along with cleaning the kitchen after dinner. I was an only child who was pampered and had it all done for me. Never made the bed, never cleaned the kitchen, never picked up dirty clothes. Never had to pick up after myself or do anything around the house. Well My Mom died when I was 17 and then I started to learn the hard way with no one to guide me, I was totally lost. So do your children a favor guide them and encourage them to do all this from an early age. I have found over the years that picking up and doing as you go is much easier than leaving it for latter. Thanks Mary we all need reinforcement.

    1. Yes, we all do need reinforcement! Love your reminder that doing as you go is so much easier than leaving it for later. Some people never learn that lesson, so kudos for teaching yourself!

  8. We’ve been doing the things on the boot camp living standards 1st assignment for years. However, I/we clean up the kitchen after each meal, empty the dishwasher after it has completed its cycle and put away the clean dishes. [All dishes have an assigned placement in the cabinets.]

    We have multiple [assigned function] dirty clothes hampers (when full have an already sorted load). We place the dirty clothes in the clothes hamper each night after we shower. When all clothing in the home is clean there is sufficient room for them to fit in the available closet and chest of drawers. PS In addition to laying out clothing for next day, anything that needs to be removed from the house is at a designated spot near the front door [designated landing zone].

  9. Perfect timing! I HAD been doing all this, and lately had started to slack off….not sure why. A few days ago I realized I hadn’t made the bed in a few days, and those few days I had been less productive and a bit grumpier than usual. Coincidence? I don’t think so! Starting off the day on the right note is SO important. This post reinforces what I just finished scolding myself about…haha. Can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us. I’ll be ready for your next assignment! :)

    1. These are great life rules. It’s always been a challenge for me to get out the door in the morning, so to make my bed each day…well, it will an accomplishment if I can do it–I hope so! Anyway, here is a link to a short video about the importance of making the bed each day–love it the inspiration it provides; I’ll be viewing it weekly. :). https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jflUvxQLkgs

      1. If you are in a rush in the morning, than making your bed could be hard. This might be a great time to work on organizing your morning so that you feel like you have time to make your bed!

  10. I am in. I already finished the first three things in the list.Last one is yet to go.Hope this boot camp helps me get into a routine.

  11. Good work! I have been blogging but my husband is in ICU and my dad died in Michigan this past Friday so I will be sharing your boot camp with my groups while I am in survival mode.

    1. Thank you and I will say a prayer for your husband. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Praying your healing is complete and that you’ll get past survival mode soon.

  12. I think this is a great idea. I have a house way out of order mostly because I have chronic migraines and the days I feel well, I want to relax. Honestly, I am so overwhelmed and cannot do it alone!!


    1. It’s okay to get help. I’m a professional organizer, so I may be biased, but getting help makes sense. We hire people to help us with our taxes, with our yards, with our vehicles. If organizing doesn’t come naturally to us, why not hire someone to help us with that too? A good organizer will help you learn how to eventually stop needing them. :)

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