I have two kids and a history of living in pig sties. To my credit, the first sty was my teenage self’s room, where I insisted that I knew where everything was in that disaster. That’s why I spent at least 15 minutes every morning searching endlessly for my other heel, right? Right. The second was my husband and my first apartment. I have an excuse for that one, too. Wanna hear it? No? Ok. My dishwasher broke about 6 months into living there and we were too afraid to ask them to fix it. (We’d already ripped a hole in the wall thanks to my preteen brother catching the drilled-into-the-wall baby gate at the top of our indoor stairs, and had to replace a light fixture we dropped, and had my brother walk through our screen door, and gotten in trouble for drying our clothes on the balcony….) Also, I was 21, had an 18 month old, and a husband who’s man cave was the front 1/3 of our living room. Dip cans, dip bottles, and soda cans abounded. Walls were covered in highlighter and butt cream. Dishes piled up, as did laundry from our three week trip to the laundromat that I was too exhausted to put away.
Then, I started to teach daycare. Ah… a place of my own, where I was the only adult and could direct the smaller people to my heart’s content. Within a week (more often three days), my rooms were organized, labeled, and up to code. After a month, they were still organized. Yes, children make messes. Yes, two year olds can play games and recognize what toys go in which boxes. Or, they know that “BEEP” means they got the right box, while “AAAAAAANK” means they got the wrong box. It was bliss. I had color-coded folders for each day’s activities that were prepped by the previous Friday. I had news letters written. I had parents’ boards and bulletin boards to express myself and the kids on. It was amazing.
Then, I’d go home. It was awful.
Fast-forward a year, and I again have my own domain. Today, I re-organized. I re-organized my kitchen, moving throw-away baby bottles and cups and lids (none match, which is annoying in itself) to a lower shelf and my appliances to the higher shelf. I moved spices to a place where I don’t have to climb onto the stove to get them. I moved all the crap off the counter. It is a beautiful thing. I re-organized the baby’s room and switched out all of his 6-9 month clothes for his 9-12 month, which are surprisingly lacking. I discovered that I have about 10 boxes of boy clothes of various ages that are spilling out of ever closet except my own. I moved his make-shift dresser to his brother’s room for optimal toy organization and turn the changing table into a dresser-changing table. And #1’s room got wall stickies so it looks like a jungle! Everything is so organized! And I love it!
I love knowing exactly where everything is. I love looking into a room and being able to breathe because the shelves are clear. I love being able to say, “Grab me the baby towel off the left side, top shelf of the changing table, please, babe!” and getting a baby towel handed to me without shouts of frustration. I love color-coordinating shower curtains with towels. I love being able to get things off #1’s floor. I love being able to let #2 freely roam my kitchen cabinets because there is nothing harmful or expensive in them. I love it.
And maybe that makes me a little weird, but organization is definitely my happy place. There is nothing more calming to me than finishing a project and stepping back to see a tapestry of cleanliness. If I’m ever stressed or overwhelmed, look at my house. I can guarantee that the house is a mess, which is the root of it all. A clean house is a clean mind, and I can tackle nearly anything if I’ve got a couch I can sit on and a sink free of dishes.
Tonight, I’m in a very happy place.