After ten years of being a mom, there are several books that I have almost memorized. One of my second son’s favorite books was read multiple times, and somehow I still like it. The lines seem to reflect my life at times.
Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, Oh no, you’ve got to go through it.
Those lines can be applied to my relationship to stuff. Although my husband’s offer to put it all in a pile and torch it occasionally sounds appealing (shh …don’t tell him I said that), I know that I would be sad to not have some family mementos that somehow got mixed in with more meaningless papers. And as a homeschool mom I struggle with knowing what to keep – will I really remember to play that apple printed out game again?
Along with managing and disposing of stuff come setting up chore charts. I once heard someone say never do the jobs for your children that they can do for themselves. Which means now that my kids are age 4 to 10, I am probably doing too much for them. Setting up routines like that take time. I have been going through some different resources to find some of the best ideas. Plus at our recent homeschool convention, I made a point to attend or listen to the classes on organization. Because this is such a vast subject, I could write volumes. Since you all don’t have time to read that and I don’t have time to write it, I am going to just right about a few things that I am trying to put into practice currently.( Note: these are not my brilliant ideas, but since they were kind of assimilated from several different people/books, I am not sure who to credit. So a shout out to those who have helped me!)
1) If you expect a task to be completed, do not forget to inspect the completion. This is hard for me because when I send my kids off to do their jobs, I am usually trying to do one of my own. But, as I have made more of an effort to follow through with checking lately, I have discovered that more is getting done.
2) When possible, do not start another project without completing one. Obviously moms will frequently get interrupted, and you really cannot ignore a diaper that needs changing. But, you should not try clean out 2 closets simultaneously. I personally have papers that I need to organize, but I also need to finish changing out winter to summer clothes (it’s not supposed to snow this week, is it? 🙂 ) If I have too many tasks going on at once, I am flustered and lost.
3) If you know you should part with something but just can’t yet, put it in a paper sack for 6 months untouched. See if you really miss it. I tend to be sentimental toward objects. If someone gave me the book or the tupperware, I should keep it forever, even if I never look at it or its broken. This is one I need to apply.
4) Organizing is more fun with a friend. Find a friend or two – take turns spending afternoons cleaning at each other’s homes. I did this with 2 friends last summer – highly successful! The kids got to play with each other – we had cleaner are in our homes (you could have inspected even the tops of some cabinets!) Hopefully we are going to do that again soon – I have to confess that I need to pre-clean from the school year before that could happen.
Well rather than writing volumes or acting like an expert (and if you saw my home you would know that I am VERY much a work in progress), I will end with that. Tomorrow I will try to post some of the best idea resources that I have found in helping with this process. I know that all of the effort of organizing and straightening will be worth it in the end.
P.S. May I mention that if you h ave anyone living in your house under age 3 that organization may not happen for awhile? Now that my youngest is 4, our orderliness has improved a little. I watched my friend’s 1 & 3 year olds one morning. I thought I could quickly finish a small project or do – I got nothing done! Amazing what a difference a year or two makes! So, hang in there, mommies of young children – your day will come again soon!