It’s a mess.

At one time in my life, I was known for my organizational skills. I took pride in them. Maybe it’s because I’m a Virgo, or just anal, ; ) but nothing soothes me like putting everything in it’s place and having a place for everything.

And then came children. I organized the first one’s toy box. Yup. This toy here, this toy here. Everything in its place and I taught her to do the same. Once she was a little older, I relaxed a bit, and the toys changed. But still. Blocks: in a box. Dolls: in the doll box. Stuffed Animals: Well, you get the idea.

And then came the second and third with very little change. My paperwork was not piled on any desk but filed in appropriate folders in appropriate cabinets. My spice cupboard was alphabetized as was the canned food-so much easier to see what you have and what you don’t.

Hate me yet?

Wait.

Here is my desk today.

That’s the bank statement on the right that I’ve been wanting to go through for a week. My coffee, bills I need to call about…notice the tums? ; ) I won’t show you my closet. Color coded? Heck no, I’m glad most of the clothes are on hangers. The pantry? I know I have onions in there somewhere. I’m afraid I just might find them by the scent in a few weeks. And the kids’ toys? LOL I still have boxes. The smaller ones make nice hats.

So what happened?

Priorities. And maybe some perspective.

I still love to meander down the closet organizer aisle in Home Depot with happy sighs, but I know it’s not for me. Not now.

You see, to have that level of organization you have to do everything yourself. I don’t have time to do that. I have a career I love, which also takes a lot of time. I also have a husband I love spending time with. The house is bigger to hold all the kids and my kids need to learn their own way of organizing. To do that, they need space. IE: Not so much interference from me. If that means I have to yell down the hall, asking where my measuring cups are (and someone better know) then that’s the price I’ll pay. If they don’t want me asking, they will put them back in the cupboard above the microwave, right?

Think I’m too lax?

Remember the child who I taught to be organized like me? The first one? For the first 12 years of that girl’s life her bedroom was clean. Really clean. She could clean the kitchen as well as I could when she was 13. She’s on her own now. She keeps her living room pretty clean…now, but her bedroom…well, let’s just say the closet exploded all over her room.

I don’t mind. I step over the cute shoes and ask to borrow the blue shirt on the bed. She has a system and I’ve learned to let go.

Are there any changes you’ve made in your life recently or in the past?

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18 Responses

  1. LOL Loved this post! You sound just like me. 🙂 After the third child, I’ve let alot go that I used to kill myself to keep up. Like laundry, it’s clean just not put away. Or the yard, it’s neat and tidy just not full of blooms and pretty bird feeders and things. 🙂 And I’m so much happier for it. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” It really does work!

    • Yup. That pretty much describes it. : ) With me it was my fourth. But I had to decide what kind of childhood I wanted for my kids. I wanted them to have fun. They need to learn to be responsible, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they need a sterile, highly organized environment. So I let go of the small stuff. : )

  2. Love that photo of your desk!

  3. LOL, Crystal, I thought of you when I posted it. : P

  4. Shawna: I thought that was a Sag thing! 😉 I love being organized, but these days the house is not the clutter-free haven that I’d like. I’ve decided I’m okay with it.

  5. yes, little storage boxes for toys do make lovely little hats!

    I tried and tried to teach my son the “cars go here, this goes here, men goes here, legos here” and he just wouldn’t do it. after struggling, I’m just happy to have them all in a box, any box, even partly hanging out of a box is okay too!

    • My son and my 6 yo daughter are organizers. My son had a little drawer, box, or container for everything…until he turned 12 then the floor seemed to be the place he wanted to store everything. My 6yo loves to put things in boxes…she just wants to take out all the boxes at once. Now I have two baskets in the family/play room and that’s where the toys go.

  6. Oh, Shawna, thank you, I mean really Thank you 😉 If you were a writer and organized, I was going to jump off the planet . Before I started my new deadline, I cleaned out my closets, went to Home Depot, bought storage boxes, etc. I had SUCH good intentions. Well, the closests are cleaned out, but stuff has yet to make it into the boxes. My office that was semi clean has now turned into a greater version of disorderly conduct. All I care about is making my deadline. . . .boxes what boxes! Great post!

    • Oh that sounds like something I’d do! I have way more good intentions than I do time. : ) Come to think of it, I also have boxes in the garage for goodwill that have been there so long I’m not sure what’s in them anymore. ; )

  7. Great post Shawna. the only place I have to be semi-organized is my desk at work – when I took over this position 4 years ago, there was so much paper (piles and piles) on the desk, the computer was sitting on the desk and I don’t know what else that you couldn’t even see the desk.

    I have to be able to see my desk and be able to put my hands on stuff right away – besides I work in HR so I have to keep things put up for confidentiality reasons.

    Now my house – that’s another story. Hubs said when we moved 2 years ago this house was going to stay picked up and clean, well it is for the most part but when you have a 3 year old and her toys it’s kinda hard.

    • Hi Heather,

      Yup, when I worked outside the home, my desk was organized. It had to be, I was in accounts payable and receivable. And well I understand the toys of a three year old. ; ) I’ve implemented a new rule around here: Any toy found on the floor of the hall, living or family room is garbage. I looked around, imagined a 6 month old crawling around and panicked. 10 months should be long enough to make it a habit, no? ; )

  8. I WISH I were organized. I love the boxes, the labels, the knowing exactly where everything is. The only problem is all the work that goes into organizing. I’d have to have my time better organized and well, I just don’t have time.

    All parents “relax” as other children come along. It’s just the way it is.

    Love the tums! and the FedEx package. picture perfect

  9. Preach it, sister…and I’m the choir! I’ve never been known for being organized, but kids change everything. So does the computer. Spend too much time on it, and everything else falls to the wayside. Now I take my bills around in a little folder and pay them while the kids are at practices…where there is no computer to play on. Otherwise, I’d be in trouble.

    Good luck with that bank statement. I did mine yesterday while the kids did their speed class 🙂

  10. I don’t know, my memories might be off. But I don’t think I was ever that controlled. I like things neat and put away, but never managed to keep them that way, myself. I’m not disorganized, but nothing is ever perfect, either.

    The thing is, balance has always been the driving force in my life. It’s something never fully achieved, a pendulum always swinging, so it averages out. 🙂 So we make the kids clean their rooms every so often, praise them effusively, then them them go until it’s getting out of hand or someone’s coming over. Stuff like that.

    Plus, I latched onto this question VERY early in motherhood: “Will they remember how nice and neat the house was, or that you were all happy and loving?” It seems to be working so far. 🙂

    • Balance is important. And your question is what I remind myself of every time I get stressed because I haven’t dusted shelves or cleaned windows/window sills it a long time. Thank you for the reminder!

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