Why is it so hard to keep things organized? Going from chaos to organization with kids seems impossible some days but understanding why it is that way may help you accept the fact that you can’t “win” this fight, but merely teach, train, and discipline yourself and your children to do the best you can so you can focus on things that matter most.
I listen to Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s podcast and he points out that our world is naturally chaotic. We have to work to find organization and it takes work to maintain it. This is an interesting point. Think of your house, it can get messy, unorganized, and even chaotic in a matter of moments but it takes thought, action, and discipline to get it back to calm, nice, and tidy.
From the Beginning
Whatever theory you choose to believe of how we came to be it all started from chaos.
- Evolution-from a single cell organism rapidly growing.
- Creation-from the dark unformed Earth.
- Big Bang-from an explosion.
Our natural state IS chaos. It took time, work, and circumstances to make the Earth as we know. Going back to chaos only seems … natural.
The first step to containing the chaos is teaching ourselves and our children that chaos is not a way to live. I teach my children early -3 or 4 years old- that if they do not put their toys back where they are supposed to go, they will not be able to find them. Their playtime isn’t as fun when they can not find the toy they want. It’s a lesson they have to learn many times over.
Putting things back where they belong takes little to no effort in-the-moment (a lesson for all of us). When you are finished with the blanket, put it back. When you are finished with the snacks, put them back. When you are done with your notebook or your bills or your SOCKS, put them where they belong!
When things get a little bit chaotic I grab a laundry basket and we go room to room taking everything that doesn’t belong and putting it in the basket. Then the basket is placed in their room. Even little kids can go to a laundry basket, pull out one toy, and put it where it belongs. This is possibly my favorite way to pick up because it gets the house nice in 5 minutes and everything ends up in one place so the kids to focus on it.
The next step is having a place to put everything. Keeping things organized will only happen if you and your children know where things go. You can not expect them to put their toys away if they do not know what that means right? Train them early and often and you will be surprised at how fast they understand and want to do it on their own.
Your turn now. Find a place in your home for everything you have. Yes, Even the pile of miscellaneous items that you cant find a place for. Take it a little at a time and do it often. A junk drawer should actually be a “get to it later” drawer, not an “ignore forever” drawer.
Keeping things in place allows you to keep up. Train yourself to put things back and your kids will do it too.
Have you ever timed yourself picking up? Emptying the dishwasher? Folding clothes? It really does not take very long. If you have read my other articles you have gotten to know that I love my timer! Set a timer for 5 minutes and see how much you get done. I have done this before bed, right when I wake up, while dinner is cooking, while kids are getting ready for bed. When the kids head to the car and I can hang back I even get in an extra 30 seconds (YES, IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!). I literally count to 30 and do as much as possible in one area.
I do it with my kids too. We tell Google to play a song and everyone picks up for that one song (or 2 or however many). This makes it fun and productive.
The point is to actually do it. You can do anything for 5 minutes right?? Even when you are tired from a long day. Even when you have not gotten any of your accomplishments on your accomplishment board done today. 5 minutes is all you need to give you that boost and go to bed feeling better.
I love this phrase because that is really all we can do. Organization is a good word, but it is an illusion. As a mom, controlling chaos is a great goal. Kids are chaotic, they can’t help it, their energy, lack of concentration, and natural state keep them from wanting organization until they understand what it is used for, why it exists. It helped me to understand on a very basic level what I need to do to keep things from getting too crazy.
This understanding helped me communicate better. It helped me not strive for perfection. It helped me relax when I spend time in one room cleaning, move to the next room, come back to the first room to realize a tornado just hit. It was clean a minute ago, it can be clean again. Anyone invited into my home knows that I have children, they shouldn’t expect perfection. If they do…honestly, they probably wouldn’t be invited in my home in the first place. I could care less about the opinion someone has over a home with children that has toys on the floor. Would you rather I kept them in front of the TV so they don’t make a mess? They are playing, imagining, creating. I am not stifling that, but they should clean it up when they are done.
My home is clean but messy. You can lick any surface at any time because I have cleaned it and cleaned it well, but you may step on a toy walking through.
Love Your Children
They Can Both Be IMperfect
Peace and Balance,