I used to heart organizing. In my mind palace (which currently resembles a Costco right before a hurricane), I still heart organizing. It’s just that what I envision in the mind palace cannot exist in the temporal state of my home.
I mean, I love all things organizing. The Container Store? Yes. IKEA? Yes. (My son calls it IKEA: THE EXPERIENCE and says he does not have enough insanity to go on that ride). Mason Jars? You betcha. Label makers? Drool. Pantries featured on Pinterest? Butterflies in my stomach.
I have everything it takes to be an organizing queen, folks. There is only one small problem: I have a family and we live here.
I have come to terms with the fact that I will probably never get to spend hours and hours organizing a pantry to perfection. And, even if I did, it would stay that way for .008 seconds. Or less. Because my people eat. They love to eat. They eat all the time. They are little hobbits.
I still have days where I leave the house to wander the aisles of IKEA, daydreaming. But, I have found that there are ways to cope. Here are some of my strategies for coping with my humans and their inability to appreciate my love of organized matter:
Use A Stairs Basket
We have what we call a “Stairs Basket” which is supposed to be a receptacle for things that belong downstairs that have somehow found their way upstairs. It saves us from having to walk up and down the stairs three thousand times in one day, which, even though the children seem to have the energy of supernovas, this energy somehow drains completely at the mention of taking something downstairs.
Here is where you have to cope. You have to realize that the Stairs Basket will become the “I Don’t Know Where This Goes Or I Don’t Want To Walk Another Five Feet To Put This Away So I Will Casually Dump It Here” Basket. And you have to kind of just accept that. Well, I guess you don’t HAVE to accept that, but accepting it is part of my coping strategy.
It also can be mistaken as a laundry basket by my very little children. You may be wondering why they disrobe and run around partially naked upstairs. I wonder that, too. But that is a post for another day.
I think they are trying to make me believe that it actually is a laundry basket by putting laundry in there.
Maybe they think they will eventually convince me, or maybe they think that because I have brain damage from the spinal meningitis, that one day I might wake up, see the laundry in there, and just somehow believe that all is right in the world.
Use A White Board To Organize Your Home/Thoughts/To Do Lists
We use a white board to write down extra chores, things we need to get done, etcetera.
Here is where I have to cope.
One of my children believes that if she erases her name and/or the chore listed next to her name, then it no longer exists in time or space. It simply never was and never will be. She also seems to believe that artistic doodles accentuate that supposed fact.
When asked if she has done said chore, she looks at the questioner with a blank stare which turns into compassionate concern for the mental stability of the person asking, as if they must be in an altered, confused state for ever even thinking of asking her the question of whether or not she has swept the dining room floor,
“What? What do you mean? What? I don’t understand. [Insert dramatic pause] Are you feeling alright? Are you okay? Do you need to lie down?”
All the while this genuine look of fearful concern…it’s almost convincing.
I also have to cope with the fact that luckily, it’s dry erase, because if I label it “Tuesday Things To Do” I inevitably have to continue erasing the day of the week, because it never really seems to get done. But, when people come over, it looks impressive.
Use Canvas Bins, Yes, But Please, Don’t Really Even Bother With Labeling
So I recently looked at one of my favorite stress-inducing blogs, “I Heart Organizing” and there she was, a really awesome and gorgeous blogger who writes the blog and takes amazing photos and is totally organized…and she had a tutorial on four different ways to label canvas bins.
And, I used to be the kind of girl who would be over the moon excited about finding a crafty friend who would make labels for my canvas bins IN FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS!!!, but I just laughed out loud a little and sighed.
I have canvas bins. I love my canvas bins. Truly.
But labeling them? What on earth for? I have learned to be content that the children have put things inside of the bins. It seems to be humanly impossible to put things in any semblance of order. A trains bin will inevitably have a train, a My Little Pony, three half chewed Nerf darts, a light saber and a rotten apple core in it.
Who am I to understand the workings of child geniuses who obviously see some sort of pattern that someone as less imbued as I cannot understand?
And how does one make a label that would identify that pattern?
So, I would rather not go there. It’s not worth the mental effort.
It Is Possible To Organize Silverware!
Yes, indeed, it is possible.
I cope because the only time it has been possible is when I am missing over half of my silverware, which is somewhere in the backyard.
I have come to terms with the fact that my home is a living, breathing entity. It never stays still and it is always shifting and moving and everything in it shifts and moves, especially when it comes to food.
I will never be able to have an organized refrigerator because people keep opening the door and moving things around and getting things out of it! How dare they?
Also, they often don’t understand the difference between things that are shelf stable in the pantry, things that are refrigerated, and things that go in the freezer.
That could be because many of them are not even old enough for first grade yet, but still.
I have found ice cream in all three places in my home before. And something to point out here is that ice cream is delicious and lovely when it is frozen, but in all other states, not so much.
I must cope. I must remain calm and assertive, like Cleopatra. Or Morgan Freeman.
He is the perfect example of calm and assertive. I mean when he gives me directions on Waze, I never get lost and I feel patriotic (“Exit Right for Freedom,” he tells me.)
I don’t know. It’s hard. But I know I can continue to soldier on. And you can, too. I hope these little things I have shared can help.