As I typed the title of this post, I started singing Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical,” and I have a feeling that it is going to be running through my head all day.
I could write a book (well, a really, really long blog post) about my organizational history. Here’s the quickie version:
I have always been really good at organizing my professional space but not my personal space. As a kid, my pattern meant a tidy desk and backpack but a semi-messy room. As a teenager, I had obsessively neat school notes. I loved color-coding with cool pens (Jessi? Are you reading this?). I loved binders and folders and paper clips. Staples was my retail heaven! But as my life got busier and my pace got faster, my room got messier. And messier. I seemed to be always cleaning it, but it didn’t get better. I would spend an entire Saturday “cleaning,” but I spent most of my time gazing at old photographs, art work from junior high, and other memorabilia. The state of my bedroom was always a battleground between me and my mom (in an otherwise wonderful mother-daughter relationship). College and grad school were about the same. Organized work and schedule. Semi-messy room/apartment/house.
Then in 2005, while still studying in grad school and working in various capacities at a university, we added a baby boy to our family. Suddenly, I could not tolerate our messiness. I wanted a cozy, clean place to raise our little family. I tried hard. I felt like I was cleaning all the time, but the house didn’t get better. The baby’s room was the single spotless place. The nursery was super organized and always tidy. I was frustrated. Then, in April 2006 when F was 9 months old, my mom and I attended a La Leche League conference. One of the speakers taught us about home organizing, and for the first time, I learned about the FlyLady. Now, the FlyLady might not be for everyone, and her methods might seem silly or extreme, but she changed my life! At least for a little while.
By June, I had my home organized and clean, and I was maintaining the routines that are essential to the FlyLady program. I felt AWESOME! On the evening before my baby’s first birthday in August, I was ready for the party. The house looked good. The cake was ready. The food was ready. That never happens. On the morning of the party, I was able to attend church, do some final party prep, and just enjoy my birthday boy without the usual frantic race before guests arrived.
My home organization lasted until baby #2 arrived (about two years), and I’ve never returned to that delightful state again. We live in a state of semi-organization. Thankfully, our summer move left us without much of our old clutter. I’m great at crisis cleaning. I can pull together a clean, pretty house without much trouble, but it’s not truly organized. My closets make no sense at all. I’m often losing things or frantically hunting for things as we head out the door. Our second floor has tons of storage near the bathroom and bedrooms, but the drawers and closets are almost empty while our belongs are still in boxes or stacked in corners. Our car is always full of stuff, leaving it unsightly but also unsafe.
On Thursday, I attended a MOPS meeting on the subject of organization, and I’m feeling very motivated. I also have a sense of community support, and that accountability means a lot to me!
Project: Food Budget has been so helpful, so I decided to do a similar thing with organization. I will report once per week on my progress in getting organized. Here is the plan of attack:
Week #1: (April 16-April 22) Downstairs closets and begin family paperwork
Week #2: (April 23-April 29) Master bedroom and upstairs closets
Week #3: (April 30-May 6) Boys’ room and paperwork
Week #4: (May 7-May 13) Leftover unpacked boxes, back porch, and paperwork
Week #5: (May 14-May 20) Home library
Week #6: (May 21-May 27) Kids’ papers and crafts
Week #7: (May 28-June 3) Car, kitchen, and finish family paperwork
Notes: The kitchen is thrown in at the end because it is fairly well organized. I want to tackle only two spots: the very junkie junk drawer and the top of the fridge. Otherwise, I’m happy with the order of my kitchen. Paperwork is spread out through the seven week project because as I organize each space, I will have more paper to manage. There are other areas that I could add such as the garage and bathrooms, but those areas are functioning pretty well. Our bathrooms are basically empty, so no trouble there. My laundry area is really just a big closet, so I’m including it in Week #1.
Anyone want to join me?