For as long as I can remember, I have loved being organized. Back in the day it made me that person who maniacally took over in school group projects. Now it means that Orlando never needs to remember where anything is in our house because I ALWAYS know. But bringing little people into our lives meant that my OCD tendencies had to relax a bit. It was just inevitable: kids are kind of crazy, and they can’t be expected to keep a house spotless all day, every day. I’m still learning, but there’s been a few major breakthroughs that have helped me find the light at the end of a very, very messy tunnel.
1. I keep the master bedroom free of kid stuff.
Every night, it doesn’t matter what Winnie-the-Pooh bear or My Little Pony figurine has somehow found its way into our bedroom during the day, I always make an effort to at least stash it right outside the door. I don’t know why, but it’s just a mental break for me to have that little bit of space from the clutter, the toys littered randomly about. Which means by the time morning comes about I’m ready to tackle another day with sticky fingers and big messes. Granted, actual kids are still in our bedroom on a nightly basis, but at least their stuff stays out most of the time.
2. I give myself a two-day mess rule.
Sometimes things get hectic. Sometimes we let things go a bit. But it always drives me crazy if it goes too long, so I give it two days. If Cora wants to terrorize the play room and dump out every single box, I don’t want to keep her from being able to use her imagination and run a little wild. So even though I might not be able to clean it up right afterwards, I can take heart that I’ll get to it within two days. For those two days she can revel in the mess, and then I can make a big sweep and get things back to a more orderly fashion afterwards.
3. I had a second kid.
It might sound crazy, but I have relaxed more in these 7 months with Issa around than the past three years I had with just Cora. Before baby number two arrived, I would spend every single night after Cora went to sleep getting the entire house back into shape. It was exhausting, and it was unrealistic. And then out of pure necessity, when Issa was born I had to let that go. And I have to say, Cora has played with more toys, read more books, and actually gotten more use out of her play room now that I actually give her the space to do just that. I think by putting everything away and out of sight before she could even blink was a little too restrictive. So thanks, Issa, on behalf of Cora as a kid and me as a mom.
4. They help me clean up.
When I say they, I mean just Cora, but I expect Issa to pitch in as soon as she’s able. I think helping pick up the mess means that Cora appreciates it more. And she’s slightly less likely to make a HUGE one if she knows the consequences of that. So maybe she’ll get out 10 more markers, but at least she doesn’t dump them ALL out at once. And at some point it would be FANTASTIC if I could actually just tell my children to clean up a mess and they do it on their own. But I think we’re still a few years away from that. You better believe though, that when they are able, they will be cleaning up solo from there on out.
5. The power of the giant toy box.
I’m a huge believer in a spot for everything, and specifically for big storage tubs, boxes, cubes, whatever I can get my hands on to make sure that clean up is fast and easy. That’s why I’m obsessed with our new Little Tikes Sort ‘n Store Primary Colors Toy Chest. The huge capacity in the top is perfect for stuffed animals and dolls, which could potentially take up an entire room of our house on their own if we let them. And on the bottom are two handy trays where we store books, making them easy for Cora to access and flip through. The sturdy construction also means I can toss things in there haphazardly at the end of the day and not have to worry about doing any damage. It’s perfect for little girls who want to play and a mama who doesn’t want to lose her (Type A) mind.
How do you relax as a mom who loves to be organized? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Thanks to Little Tikes for sponsoring these post with product to review. Don’t worry though, all opinions are my own!