I used to be pretty damned good at this whole ‘working mom’ thing. I was good at managing my time, keeping things together, blah blah blah…
Oh yes. I used to be really good at this stuff.
Today…eh…not so much. Meals have been downright weird, my kindergartener has brought cereal bars for lunch more times than I like to admit, bills are languishing unpaid a little longer than is strictly kosher, and I’m finding myself easily confused between tasks. Ack, which do I do first? The vacuuming! No, the bathroom! Wait, I haven’t started dinner! OK, I’ll vacuum with my left foot while I stir the rice with my right hand, pay this bill with my left and…Aw, heckwithit. Let’s just order pizza and watch a pay-per-view…
Of course, while denial can be lovely for a while, it doesn’t tend to end well. These last few weeks, I think I’ve actually spent more money than I’ve earned on convenience foods; the house has gotten steadily seedier (it wasn’t all that hot to begin with); and I’ve dropped an awful lot of social and work-related balls.
So I blew the dust of my trusty Franklin-Covey planner this weekend and started trying to get it back together. The writing stops abruptly on February 6, 2003 – a couple weeks after I came home from work ‘for good’ (ha!).
I sat down and read through my old notes. Man. I was one organized cookie, back in the day. Monthly goals, high level weekly goals, daily prioritized task lists, coded by project or life area.
No wonder I have memories of being able to lay hands on an envelope, stamp and return label without a forty-minute search in a hard-hat through the craft closet.
So I began thinking about what I need to do to get back on track, and I have to admit: simple organization is what I need more than anything else. Over the last couple years, I’ve really been letting things slide – especially things like drawers and closets. They’re stuffed with miscellaneous stuff, because I kept saying I’d deal with it, you know, later.
But when you’re working full time and you’ve got precisely two hours per day at home that aren’t taken up by sleeping – spending a precious half an hour in the garage digging through empty diaper boxes and cans of green beans searching for the box of laundry soap you know is out there somewhere really doesn’t work so well. I’m sure my coworkers won’t mind if I give my shower a miss today…again…
Given the time crunch, I’m planning to go about battening down the hatches of the Den of Chaos the same way I’d go about eating an elephant: one bite at a time.
One drawer, one shelf, one ten to fifteen minute organizing job at a time, I’m going to get this place cleaned up. I started yesterday with a small but psychologically significant area: the kitchen junk drawer.
From that one area, a 18” long by 20” wide by 4” deep drawer, I threw away almost an entire plastic grocery bag full of stuff. Stuff like, a broken sugar dish from the dollar store. A stack of ancient rubber bands. A deck of torn-up playing cards (I suspect I grabbed them away from a toddler and stuffed them in there to keep them out of reach). Lots and lots and lots of ancient candy, probably likewise confiscated from a Denizen.
The drawer is now organized, and less than half full. You can see at a glance every single thing in it. It is clean. The things it holds make sense.
It’s a small bite – but it’s a start.
Just a few dozen more, and I’ll be really cookin’ with gas…