Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The messy family reforms

We are the messy family. We are the people who don't want you to knock on our door unexpectedly. We are the ones who rush around hiding piles of stuff when company is on the way. We are the people who walk around muttering, "where did I put the staplers? Why can I never find the stapler?!"

We are the people who don't give "house tours" to guests. Ever.

We would like to have a nice neat house, and not experience terror at the idea of guests. Indeed, we try to invite people over frequently, as that's the best way to get (portions) of our house straightened up. But we are not successful at keeping it neat.

Over the years I have read many books on home organization. Some are better than others, but none has provided the key to unlock and release my hidden neat, organized self and family. Mostly they repeat what I already know: keep a simple filing system, and use it so papers don't pile up. Get rid of clothing that doesn't fit or flatter. Create a place for everything and be sure to put everything back in its place. Yep, great ideas all. Got it!

I'd say that the majority of people I know say admit to being messy; most are unhappy about it. But some people seem proud of their messiness. They are so busy doing interesting things, they say, and are so creative with numerous projects going all the time, and are interested in so many things - Renaissance people, all! - that cleaning up is just so, so... mundane. Some people say they are unhappy with the mess but really don't want to bother cleaning up. I understand that; it's boring. There are better things to do, until we can't do something because we can't find the materials, or the tables are so covered in stuff there is no place to do it. Some people are just busy and overwhelmed and don't know where to begin. Those are the people who read organizing books but never seem to be able to actually organize. That would include me.

On the other hand, there are people who seem to do nothing but clean. I know people who won't allow their kids to have craft supplies because they make a mess. Imagine a life without glitter and paper and glue! Or imagine a life where Mom is too busy cleaning to read a book or have a tea party. Some say a messy house is sinful because God is a God of order, not chaos. I can see that point, though I don't think it justifies depriving kids of fun, useful activities - and our time.

This morning I had a brain flash, an inspiration, a crisis, a prompting by the Holy Spirit - something to make me realize I have been on the wrong track in my efforts. Ideas from a few books I've read started to coalesce in my mind. I am starting a series of projects - very, very small projects to get my house neat and organized. Projects so small that some people will laugh at me.

This is a program with multiple projects and a long timeline. I've tried the quick-and-dirty organizing surges; now I'm going for slow and steady. I think getting organized may be like losing weight: we might be able to do it quickly, but it's not likely to last.

Join me as I work on my organizing projects. Just don't laugh!


G said...

We too are on the sllloooooooowwww path to a clean home. Ours never is, excpet when we're expecting company, so I think taking very small steps is the way to go. Obviously the clean it all in one swoop or don't bother isn't working!

Sheryl said...

I would never laugh, but I will root you on!

Yep...slow and steady, you can do this. :-)

~*~The Family~*~ said...

You have just described our house. We do a lot of cropping when we put pictures on our blog so the world can't see it.