My “Getting Real” series began after a reader recently told me that everything on my blog looked too neat and organized!
Let me assure you that the organization photos are staged. I especially clear the tables and pack away the clutter before I take the photos! But, of course, my school room does NOT look like that all the time!
Once, I asked my kids what they think makes me most stressed and they told me that I
am often always stressed about clutter and chaos. So, yes, I am a bit of a tidy freak!
Usually I tidy as I work, and I spend about 5 minutes packing away at night. I like to have a clear desk and clean kitchen when I go to bed. It helps me feel positive and motivated to walk in to clear rooms in the morning.
But I have 3 daughters who work all over the place … doing all sorts off stuff ~ They love creative projects and they are allowed to make a mess! It is part of the creative process. There may be ~ branches full of lichens across a table wired into a ‘chandelier’ … beads and wire scattered on a tray … flower arrangements with petals, leaves and off-cuts mess over the floor … a massive sewing project with patchwork pieces and fabric scraps lie all over every surface … paintings and paint trays and paint bottles lie around … a mass of confetti papers surrounding some craft project litters every meter …
Even normal things clutter and create chaos, such as unfolded laundry piles waiting to be folded and packed away … someone’s chores still undone … It is a real mess at times. I’m your typical mom calling the kids, “Come clean up!”
Chore charts prevent the need for moaning and nagging. Simple routines enforce before & after mealtimes so that they do their kitchen chores. They fold and pack laundry on wash days. Once a week we all clean house. (It stays cleaner longer if they know they have to clean up the mess again, and the person responsible for a zone will moan at her siblings to clean up after themselves so that they don’t have to clean again that week.)
After school, every day, we pack away schoolbooks and make the area available for other projects and play. Just before the end of the day, everyone packs up or packs away their project so that the school room is available the next morning. A basket, a tray or a box keeps unfinished things handy so that they can continue their project the next day. When we fall into chaos, we delay our schoolwork and first tidy up. This means that they have less free time in the afternoon.
As the girls get older, I find that the tidying, habit-training really pays off, and they calmly clear and pack up with out constant reminders and nagging.
I recommend moms create a simple routine for your family and focus on one habit each week or month until it is established. Train young children with songs (like Barney’s “Clean Up, Clean Up”) and reminders with simple rhyming words. Make it fun! Put on great music and sing as you work!
How do you tame the chaos in your home? Please feel free to share your advice in the comments.
Blessings as you create order in your days.