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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Simple Life: Day 1


OK, I admit it is going to take me major prayers and extraordinary willpower to accomplish the simplicity I yearn for. In my defense, I have a 9-month-old eating machine (who, incidentally, also likes to do things like pull DVDs off of shelves and eat them) and 2 maniacal boys who can tear a room apart in 2 minutes flat.

But I DO have plans…and a darling, enterprising almost-6-year-old daughter who went through her entire dress-up wardrobe and put most of it in the giveaway box…not to mention a double-stroller for dolls and various other odds and ends. She is a shining example for us all.

One major part of my plan is to learn how to organize. I was raised in a totally spic-and-span household…I’ll be honest, part of my messy way of living is probably a direct reaction to living the first half of my life in an environment where nothing could be out of place. My friends used to say that we lived in a “model home” when they came over. Really. Not a chance of that happening around here. But, in spite of having been totally surrounded by neatness and order, I was never actually taught how to create or maintain that sort of order myself. I just knew what it looked like, not how to make it that way. And it doesn’t come naturally to me. Let’s face it, these are skills that have to be learned and practiced. So I am going to learn how to organize as I go. Anybody got some organizing tips?

I need to evaluate every single thing that we own. Is it used? Is it useless? Is it useless but still worth keeping? There are a lot of things we (meaning people in general) carry with us because we think we should keep them. That’s another topic I’ll be exploring. Do you think it’s worth it to keep those high school memory books? Or the squashed and yellowed communion veil? And am I an insensitive jerk to not feel instant emotions and a connection with my past when I look at these things?

Beginning Wednesday, I will be going through at least a box a day. I’ll divide everything into: store, keep handy, giveaway, and trash. I will not put anything aside to deal with later (I know it will never get dealt with that way). Giveaways will be donated or freecycled ASAP. Once the boxes are done, I’ll move on to the rooms of the house. I’d like to do a room a day, but let’s be realistic…with the kiddos not helping it will probably take a little longer than that. My goal is to finish the house by the end of January. Then I can start on our hard-drive! I’ll keep you posted along the way…no before pics (I have some dignity), but I’ll put up pictures of choice items I find.

This is something that is going to Work For Me...Be sure to hop over to We Are THAT Family to find other WFMW posts!

And if your family eats cereal, be sure to check out my giveaway.


  1. One organizing idea that helped me a lot was to put all of my kids toys into plastic baskets in a variety of sizes, that I bought in the organizing area in Walmart. Then, I used picture labels so that everyone in the house would be better about putting things back in the right place. (Plus, they know how to find what they are looking for.) It has made clean up time so much better around here!

  2. Good luck. Organizing is a never ending battle in our house. Just realize that you won't always come up with the perfect solution the first time. Sometimes it takes a couple tries before you get everything situated in a way that works for you family. Just stick with it and eventually you'll get there.

  3. I have the same problem. My home growing up with ultra-neat so I am totally not--clean but not neat :-)

    I try to keep the public areas (kitchen, bathroom, living room) clean--no toys left out, etc. That way...if someone was to stop by, the house is 'presentable'...just don't go the bedrooms :-) The bedrooms do get cleaned just not as often.

    I do hear you, too, about having kids who are walking tornadoes--MINE ARE! I keep thinking--hello, shouldn't the neatness gene have hit them because it skipped over me :-)

  4. Angie-Thanks for the suggestion! I actually tried that a few years ago, and the first few weeks it worked like a charm, but after a while the kiddos rebelled and started throwing into whatever bin was closest. I may try it again...or not. We need to severely reduce the number of toys we have to put away in the first place.

    Buffie and Just_Aimee- Thanks for your support! It's good to know there are others with similar struggles.

  5. Now, I know I don't personally know all kids in the world, but this is what has worked for me. I tell my daughter to clean up her toys and give her a time limit. At the end of that time, I bag up any toys left in the floor and take them away for whatever period of time is effective for those items - a day, a week, whatever. She has learned that the instruction to clean up is a serious one. Does she get everything put back perfectly? No. But it's off the floor. : )Every so often, I go through it all with her and re-organize it, but I can handle that!

  6. I've been planning to do the same thing myself! I'm feeling an attack of "Too much stuff" since Christmas, and I've been slowly putting together boxes to bring to the Salvation Army thrift store. I want to go through every room and do this, to make room in our house, and so that others will have the opportunity to use whet we're not using!


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