A few weeks ago, I received a text from a client that had a question. Before she proceeded, she asked if it was a good time for me...I said that it was, that I was organizing my closet, and needed a break.
Her response was so funny to me. She said, "YOU? Organizing your closet?"
"Yes, of course," I said. "It was a total disaster!"
"I thought you were always organized," she responded.
I said, "how do you think I get that way?"
People have a misconception that I am always organized. OF COURSE NOT. In fact, my mother in particular gets great joy out of seeing my crazy, messy, chaotic house when she stops by.
One of the things about being an organizer is this very misconception...that I am always organized, and so is everything in my home, and that I believe being organized is the "right" way to live.
HERE is a perfect example of a picture I took this week (and could take pretty much most days of the week) of one of my daughter's rooms:
I'll be honest, it does make me a little crazy, but it is her room, her belongings, and her life. If she wants to live in piles of clothes, we are okay with that. We have a rule that the kids cannot leave food or beverages in their rooms, and that there is a clear pathway to the window (safety first!). Aside from that, we are pretty lenient.
For a couple of reasons.
First, we feel that a child's room is their space, and within reason (see above), they can maintain it however they see fit. If their room/laundry/bedding/carpet is so dirty or smelly that it affects other people, then we make some adjustments. But if their laundry doesn't get done, they can go to school in dirty clothes, buy new ones, or borrow some from a sibling. They've learned that lesson, and are generally pretty good about doing their own in a timely manner.
Over their combined 26 or so years of school, they've often forgotten something for school, not been able to find an overdue library book, or lost an important paper. They've learned that they don't like it when that happens, and have figured out a way to ensure it doesn't happen again, even WITH a messy room.
Another reason we don't have a completely organized household is because it would drive everyone nuts! When our oldest was very young, she wanted to learn to read. I started homeschooling with her, and learned quickly how very perfectionistic she was...I determined she wasn't ready to start reading, and it wasn't worth her emotional well-being to do so. She was so hard on herself when she didn't get something "right." At about the same time, I noticed that she didn't like to get her hands dirty. Soon after, we started doing art projects, really really messy ones! At first, she was reluctant, scared, and very careful. After a while, her confidence grew, and she started to enjoy our crazy projects, and began exploring other things outside of her comfort zone. If I had continued to teach her to read, or did exacting and careful projects, she would be a much different child today. The LAST thing she needed was a mother who insisted that she be organized and do things "right." I adjusted.
Being organized isn't a quality we have when we are born. I do think it develops organically in some personalities more than others, but it is also a skill that we can learn and employ. Although I feel it did come somewhat naturally to me, I have also learned that there are many different ways to be organized, there isn't only one "right" way to do it, and not everyone needs to be organized to be successful. In fact, I think that is one of the reasons why I am successful at what I do. One size does not fit all.
As you can see, our kids enjoy getting messy, and they seem pretty happy doing so, too. I wouldn't change that for the neatest, cleanest, most organized house in the world.