I can see Routine beginning to peek it’s friendly face back up over the horizon of my family’s life. Oh, we’re not quite there yet, there are still remote control helicopters buzzing through my living room at all hours, but I can see bits of our normal life beginning to appear again.
Up early (although not as early as it will be in a week), throw a load in the wash machine, come downstairs and unload the dishwasher while I’m making my coffee. Toast with peanut butter, feet up on the coffee table, reading and prayer. To-do list for the day. Forty minutes on the treadmill.
But we still don’t have to be fully back to school and work yet, so what do I do with my days? I clean. I plan. I organize. I love this time of year. It’s the week after the joyful madness of Christmas, and the week before we’re all fully back to work. It’s like a bonus week.
Look around you. What do you wish was better organized? Which of your homes systems could operate more smoothly?
I do not disparage organizing as some sort of OCD hyper-rigidity. On the contrary, organizing helps me to be a more laid-back and easy-going mommy. Organizing is simply making our lives more efficient. It quite literally puts more time in every day.
The backpacks and lunchboxes have a spot in the hall closet? No more running around wondering where they are in the morning; no more tripping over them at night. The storage room shelves are organized? I can find the crock pot/serving platter/suitcase when I need it. The keys have a spot? I always know where to find the keys when we need to get going quickly.
Years ago, when I first hired a professional organizer to teach me how to do this, I learned two priceless lessons: 1) group like things together, and 2) if something has a spot where it lives, it will go back to that spot. If it doesn’t, it will float around your house being messy and impossible to find when you need it.
The third thing she taught me was almost as valuable: to let go of stuff I wasn’t using anymore. Hoarding is a sort of optimism gone awry… we tell ourselves, “well, I might use it someday…” and we end up keeping piles and piles of stuff that does nothing but gather dust and clutter up our storage areas. If you haven’t used it in the last three years, darling, you are not going to use it. Let it go.
Last night, I had our crew in the storage room. We opened every box on every shelf so that we knew what was there. We got rid of a bunch of stuff that we are never going to use, and we continued to keep some items that are precious to us. Christmas decorations that haven’t been put up in the last three years? Gone. Husband’s Boy Scout sash with all his hard earned patches? Keep. Tax records from 2006 and 2007? Gone, baby. Each child’s favorite baby blanket? Keep. We were down there for about three hours and made significant progress. Perfection? Of course not. But better for sure.
Today I’m going to have the kids go through their clothes. I’ll supervise and encourage, but they’ll choose what stays and what goes. I need them to have ownership of what they own. They’ll take better care of it that way. Tomorrow my home office. Friday, the garage.
Ah, sister. Whatever you are going to do today, cleaning and organizing, back to work, or continuing to laze on the sofa reading books out loud to your kids… be blessed.
This life of ours is so amazing.