Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Everything in it's place

I was tagged for a meme by crazymamaof6.
The question I need to answer for the meme is "Are you a procrastinator?"
I'll have to get back to you later on that one.

If you've been reading here for the last while, you'll know that I'm trying to get my house organized. We moved here three years ago, the day before Max was born, and at the time, I just wasn't able to get everything the way I wanted it, especially with all that recovering form the C section and everything.
We are having two parties here in the next two weeks. One this weekend with about 15 people coming, and another next weekend with around 40+ people, and I really want the house to look nice for the gatherings.
Apparently, just wanting things to be organized isn't enough. I seem to need a deadline to get anything done.

In the last few weeks, I have managed to get a ton of unneeded things out of the storage room. Yesterday I started cleaning out our filing cabinet so I can have a place to stash all the paper on the kitchen counter.
Have you ever noticed how when you start to clean something, you always need to make a bigger mess before it actually starts getting clean?
That's kind of where I'm currently at with the filing cabinet. All of the paper from the filing cabinet is now having a party with the paper on the kitchen counter.

But hey! The filing cabinet is empty!

Last night, I had to have yet another family meeting about the closet in our kitchen. This happens about weekly.

The first meeting we ever had about the closet went something like this.
ME: "Look children, I have a shoebox!" (I am talking to them as if they are very small children )
Children: "Yes mom, that's a shoebox." (Very monotone)
I hold up a bag of blocks.
Me: "How many blocks do you think I can fit in the shoebox?"
Children: "Mom, how long is this going to take?"
Me: "Watch! I will put the blocks in the shoe box!"
I dump the bag of large blocks into the shoe box. They land crooked, and most of them land outside the box.
Me: "Okay kids! Lets count how many blocks are in the box!"
We count about 8 blocks.
Me: (very enthusiastically) "Do you think we could fit more blocks in this box?"
Children stare blankly. One of them says "No, it looks pretty full to me."
I dump the blocks out of the box, and then carefully stack the blocks neatly inside the box.
Me: "Now children, how many blocks can we fit inside the box?"
I count around 20.
The children are unimpressed.
Me: (obnoxiously enthusiastic) "See how many more blocks I can fit inside the box when they are STACKED NEATLY, and not just dumped inside?!!! Isn't this EXCITING?!!!! Now, the next time I ask you to put something in the closet, will you dump it inside, or stack it neatly?!!"
Children: (rolling eyes, in unison) "we will stack things neatly."

I went to put away my Kitchen-aid stand mixer in the kitchen closet last night, and was angered by what I saw. I won't go into detail, just imagine the worst.
I called the children together for another family meeting about the closet.
Me: "Do we need to get out the blocks and the shoebox again?"
Children (pleading) "NO! NO! NO! Please mom, NO! ANYTHING but the blocks!"
Out of the closet, I pull two grocery bags full of cans of food.
Me: "When I hand you this sack and ask you to take it to the closet and put the cans away, it doesn't mean toss the sack in the closet, it means PUT THE CANS ON THE SHELVES!!"
Children: "It wasn't me!"
"It wasn't me!
"It wasn't me!"
I then pick up three large jars of spices from the floor of the closet and hold them out for the children to see.
ME: "When I ask you to put these away, it doesn't mean toss them in the closet, it means STACK THEM NEATLY ON THE SHELVES WHERE THEY BELONG! Because we don't want to re live the taco seasoning fiasco of last week now do we??"
The children look at me as if I have lost my mind, and fearfully nod their heads.
One of them asks "what's a fiasco?"
I then pick up a case of chili from the pile on the floor of the closet.
ME: When I ask you to put away the case of chili, I don't mean dump it in the closet, I mean take the cans out of the case, and STACK THEM NEATLY ON THE SHELVES!!"

Are we seeing a pattern here?

Then, I lower my voice, and invite the children to come closer to the closet. I carefully clear a space on the floor of the closet by picking up 3 lunch boxes, several stray packages of easy-mac, three empty plastic grocery sacks, a bag of chocolate chips, three slices of plastic toy pizza, and a package of spaghetti. I smooth my hand gently over the tile on the floor. "This" I say, "is sacred mixer space."
The kids burst out laughing, because, apparently, this is funny.
I continue "Nothing, I repeat NOTHING is to be placed on this spot except the mixer. This spot is reserved for the mixer and the mixer only! GOT IT?!"
Children: "Sacred mixer space! Ha ha ha! Mom, you are SO funny!"

Eventually, I did get the closet organized again, having to remind the children that I don't want anything ON TOP of the mixer either.

Earlier today, I cleaned out the refrigerator. I found a bunch of storage bowls, and one of my spoons.

My goal for today is to get all of the paper off of the kitchen counter.

Wish me luck.


Hey It's Di said...

Sounds like you are on a roll! I can't tell you how many unsucessful "family meetings" I have had to try to get my children to do or not do something. It's funny how they retain the things they want to. At some point I start threatening them with taking away priviledges and they pay attention quickly. Good luck with the house organizing and with your parties!

Bonnie said...

I love the way you write. You are funny and have great timing. I love to do demonstrations for my kids.

Jen said...

Lost spoon recovery = Pooh finding hunney.

Jodi said...

Oooooooh I can so relate! I love your blog! Just dropping by and wanted to leave a comment!

Sue said...

Ha! You ARE so funny, Mom.

Oh, wait. You aren't my mom.

But you know what I mean.

I'm impressed by how you gave them an object lesson first. I would have gone right for the frustrated venting. (I'm an excellent parent.)

Elizabeth said...

HAH! I KNOW that feeling...you should see my upstairs hall....
I just EMPTIED my daughters' closet...can you say: "hang up your clothes"? The WORST is when I JUST IRONED a skirt and it is actually clipped to a hanger and STILL ends up on the floor! It doesn't help that the closet is big enough to be a "club house"...but not really a walk-in.
They are pretty good about the pantry....but roller skates on the other hand will soon be banished to the outer reaches of creation.
Good luck with the organizing. I love when stuff actually has a place to go! BTW, most of us need to invite guests in order to get those "projects" done, though last year I sent my Darling Husband to the store with ALL THREE children -under 7 on the DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING so that I could paint the dining room!
God Bless & have fun at your parties.

Damama T said...

I haven't been laughing as much lately and I just realized why! I GOT BEHIND OVER HERE! I'm catching up now... in triplicate! ROFL! I had so many of these conversations with the boys growing up and now with the Girl! I don't seem to remember them being quite so funny, though!