Organization is overrated!

A week or so ago, Tim made a comment regarding how organized I was when we were in college and during PT school and even the first part of our marriage...and come to think of it, even during the first years of our parenting! "What happened?", he asked.

At first I was defensive, because it's not like I don't try!! Everytime I do anything, I'm trying to be more organized. I see a gadget, or a system, and I think to myself, "if only I had that, then I could get organized!" It doesn't happen that way though. After I cooled down a little, I reminded myself that I'm not just responsible for keeping myself and our home organized, I'm responsible for the other 7 people that live with me!!! That's quite a job.

Our mudroom looks like an all-seasons room at a school. We have at least 16 coats/jackets/sweaters hanging up, probably a minimum of 16 pair of shoes scattered about, and then the baseball gloves, golf clubs, gardening gear, pool toys, tools, and of course the miscellaneous stuff that we don't know what to do with, and all of that is on a "clean mudroom" day. You don't put 8 people in a house and not have stuff that accompanies. We've tried the limit it to two outfits, one pair of shoes...well, two because we have to have something nice sometimes too, 8-10 towels in the linen closet, etc. It's still a lot of STUFF! There are STILL 16 pair of shoes laying around, and that is just a lot of shoes.

I desire my pantry and linen closets to look like those of Martha Stewart. That lasts maybe1 hour tops! As soon as everything is put away, someone needs something, and then the ripple effect occurs. It's kind of like the story about if you give a moose a muffin, or a mouse a cookie, or a mom a muffin...That's the story of my life!! I start out making a cup of coffee and pretty soon I'm emptying drawers and organizing socks and looking for stamps, and maybe by the time the coffee pot has been restarted a dozen times, the coffee is burned and I've still not finished anything. As soon as all the totes of seasonal clothes are sorted and put away for the summer, it's time to dig into winter clothes, and then clothes are lying all over for three months, most of which get washed a half dozen times, because no one knows what to do with them except throw them back down the dirty clothes.

We had some friends out for dinner tonight...friends that have 5 kids all the same ages as our first 5. Their house often looks like ours does and that makes us feel so much more comfortable and less judged when they are our guests. Why? Is it because we're messy people and so are they? No. It's because they're in the same season of life that we are...a constant need for modification...and they too have 5 boys, so they have the elevated testosterone level to contend with. Whenever someone comes over, I see all the shortcomings of our home, inside and out. The messy fridge, the dirty stove, the incredibly unorganized pantry. The piles of laundry baskets in our bedroom, the stains in the carpets, the weeds in the driveway, not to mention the ones around the house, the height of the grass, the recyclables that fell out of the bags and haven't been picked up, the unreeled hoses, the garden that looks like a pasture, the unpainted barn, the hideously unorganized, dirty and messy garage, the garden produce that now litters our sidewalk...my list could go on for pages!! It makes me feel like we've bitten off more than we can chew! It seems like when we get one project started, we don't finish because we're interupted with another important, immediate event and then we have 100 things that are unfinished. That would definitely reveal my lack of organization!! Then, again, I remind myself, it's not like I don't have anything else going on! I mean, I do pay the bills, shop for groceries, get everyone to appointments on time on the right day, put food on the table, wash the clothes...ok, well it sounded like a lot more in my head, but still, it's a very busy day!

I may not achieve my level of organization again that I desire for years. We may forever be searching for that other shoe, the tape, one of the 24 finger nail clippers that I know we have somewhere...we may be eating cereal one more day for lunch because I forgot to add somethingto the grocery list or take something out of the freezer, we may have a wardrobe in the car, no kleenex in the purse, everything but a diaper in the diaper bag, and 6 containers of leftovers from three weeks ago in the fridge. But, we're a growing family, full of change and seasons, andwe're going to be in this state of constant modification for a while...

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