On Home Organization… and Peace

I have a love/hate relationship with organization. You know fad diets? I was a fad organizational guru. Fly Lady, binders, notecards, phone planners, paper planners, lists… they each worked for a season. Or maybe a day. Then we started the life where we full-time traveled. And every home organizational trick I knew and practiced went out the window. Hardly even a calendar beyond the one that told us where we needed to be and when. There was no organizing our family of 5, that grew to 6, beyond that because we went together, stayed together. No cleaning schedule or routine. We were rarely home and when we were, it didn’t take much to throw together our tiny 900 sq. foot apartment. No. There wasn’t much use for decluttering because we had downsized to hardly anything to fit into that apartment.

But times have changed yet again. We no longer live in that tiny apartment (praise Jesus!) but have ‘upgraded’ to a 2600 square foot townhouse. Our clutter has returned as we have slowly (or not so slowly) accumulated more and more over the last 3 years. The kids now have lives of their own that we have to jive with. Public school, dance class, church activities, sports, work schedules… yes, the season of needing organization has returned.

But as I have Googled and Pinterest-ed endlessly, looking for the latest fads, I’ve found that my organizational ‘needs’ have changed, maybe matured, maybe digressed. I no longer care about making time to shine my sink daily. Community dressers with shared clothing, sox and undies will NEVER work with 3 teen girls. Actually laundry isn’t much of a chore because I only wash clothes for 3 instead of 6 since the older girls have been doing their own for years now.

Yes, this season of organization seems to look different. It’s more about who plays what sport, who works what hours or church class, who needs money for what school activity and by when, have I paid the dance class tuition, better yet, did I pay the rent? The house needs cleaned but seems to take a back seat to the pressing and honestly more important things in life. Remembering (and even scheduling) 30 minutes to declutter my toddler’s toys – yet again – needs to happen… sometime. But making sure I didn’t plan on my still homeschooled teen to watch the toddler while I go to lunch with a friend is more pressing. It saves my relationship with my daughter, saves me some stress and keeps the peace in the house.

Honestly, peace. That really is what I’m looking for in my organizing of my home in this season. My toddler’s clutter on the floor does not promote peace once she’s left it hours ago to watch Netflix or YouTube videos. That makes it a pressing need. Scurrying around early Monday morning to find certain clothes or some cash for a forgotten school activity does not promote peace so having information written down to plan ahead is a pressing need. I can maintain peace if my bed doesn’t get made one day. (Though make that everyday for a week and my peace can drift) Yes, it is about peace.

And I think all of us have different ‘peace barometers’ when it comes to how the household is functioning. You may need a shiny sink to feel good about your day and say to heck with the laundry for the day – even though it’s Tuesday, laundry day. You may only need to make your bed to have a sense of peace on a Wednesday. That and knowing that your kids are off to school with all they need for the day is enough. So, at the bottom of it all, what I need – and what you need – is tools for getting the things done that actually matter for the sake of peace in your own home. I don’t have to do everything Pinterest suggests. I do need to do the things that matter to me in this season, in my home, in my life. And so do you. And that’s why, on this Saturday, I’m going to make another cup of coffee and sit back down with my computer and Facebook and Pinterest or maybe a book or a movie. Because resting on this Saturday is what will maintain a sense of organization and peace in my life!

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