When you’re having “one of those days,” it’s important to have a go-to activity to brighten your mood. For some, it’s curling up on the couch with a favorite movie. For others, baking puts a smile on their faces. But for me, finding something to organize is the ultimate energizer.
As a mom of two school aged kids and three fur babies, there is always something to organize, especially when we have enough Legos in our home to construct a life-size storage shed. But there’s always laundry to do and bathrooms to clean as well, so why don’t those bring me as much joy as cleaning out a pantry or buying new bins? Well, as Edmund Burke said, “Good order is the foundation of all things,” and organization has taught me three important lessons.
- “Focus on what you can control.” I cannot control the size of my daughter’s closet or her love of stuffed animals. I CAN control how we use the space we have to tame the zoo in her room with storage bins and shelves. I cannot change the lack of a home office in our townhome. I CAN control how I reorganize our basement to create not one but two work spaces. I cannot control that our cats do not get along with our new puppy. I CAN control how I rearrange their living spaces so that Lucy and Charlotte can maintain the calm, dog-free lifestyle they were used to. This lesson extends beyond folding desks and puppy gates, though. 2020 was an avalanche of adversity, from political strife to racial injustice to a worldwide pandemic. Sometimes it all feels so out of our control, but although no one can do everything, everyone can do something. Whether it’s wearing a mask or standing up for people who need a voice or voting, everyone can do something. Focus on what you CAN control.
2. “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” (Ben Franklin) I put off reorganizing our garage for months because I knew it was a gargantuan task that would consume an entire weekend. But now that each tub is sorted, labeled, and stored on shelves, I could star in my very own version of “Supermarket Sweep: Garage Edition.” I could find a pair of snow pants, a beach shovel, and my daughter’s third grade report card in 30 seconds flat. Sometimes the biggest obstacle to beginning a task is the amount of time it will take to finish, but think of how thankful your future self will be.
3. “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” (Barbara Hemphill) Clutter is more than something you physically trip over. Clutter weighs heavily on your mind. Every time you open the pantry door and see four half eaten boxes of cereal, you feel a little nudge of annoyance. Every time you see that pile of clothes in the corner of your room (you know that pile…everybody has that pile), you think of how you wish you had taken the time to fold them earlier. Whether it’s an overflowing toy box, kitchen cabinets full of mismatched Tupperware, or a linen closet bursting at the seams, making the decision to DO something about it is a liberating feeling. As Peter Walsh said, “Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor. It’s anything that stands between you and the live you want to be living.” And the live I want to be living is neatly organized in Rubbermaid tubs and storage cubes.
finding a way to reorganize one spot in your home!