Trying to curtail the chaos that comes with life with small children is like swimming up stream against a bloody strong current and I’m not a good swimmer. You kicking those legs with all your might and turn those arms over at your fastest pace just to maintain your current position, or at least not drift back so far you end up going over the waterfall (there’s always a waterfall in these metaphors). The chaos I’m referring to here is the mess, oh the mess.
Over the last three months I have gallantly tried to maintain my toy free/play free zone in the lounge room. They have three other rooms with toys and books, surely that is enough. Yet every night I find myself picking up dress ups, soft toys, shoes and discarded socks, books and miscellaneous other items.
The girls bedroom gets a once a week complete tidy when I want to vaccuum the floors. The rest of the time it’s a complete disaster. Dress ups and soft toys literally cover the floor in a see of pink sequence and fur. I kick a path clear as I put them to bed so I have clear passage to get to them when they (inevitably) wake during the night in an attempt to avoid a broken ankle at 4am. The study (where Mr Good works and I rarely use… it was supposed to be my reading and sewing room) I just close the door to so I can’t see the mess)
The family/meals room at the back of the house, which is where the bulk of their toys live and where I spend the most time, is tidied properly (almost) every evening, all the toys going back in their place and books stacked on the shelves. This saves my sanity, I clean the kitchen and tidy the toys away and then stand in the clean and organised room just before turning the lights out and leaving that part of the house for the night. I get up and it’s still clean, but within ten minutes chaos reigns once more, argh! The whirlwind begins and doesn’t stopped until the end of the day.
It’s every mother’s frustration (actually I’m sure there’s a fair few fathers out there feeling the same way, I just live with someone who ‘doesn’t see’ the mess) that all their hard work is undone in a tenth the time it took to do in the first place. But there are two things that drive me crazy more than anything else.
1. Soft toys – we have an invading arming of soft toys in every conceivable variety and size. I put a veto on soft toys as presents two years ago, but yet they are EVERYWHERE. And I have no workable solution to store them effectively. I’ve tried, boxes, sacks, shelves, hanging storage and nothing keeps them contained. They spill from every nook and cranny, being lined up, dragged around, played with and quickly discarded. And most annoying, we can never find the exact toy that either Miss Two or Miss Four are determined to sleep with on that particular night. It’s never the RIGHT teddy, or giraffe (yes we have several) or doll. Is it just me that feels these cuddly creatures are taking over or do others have this invasion at their home as well. What’s the solution (don’t say give them away, I will one day but for now it would be like ripping the hearts out of my girls or so it seems).
2. Bags – my girls are absolutely OBSESSED with bags, handbags, backpacks, little jewelry bags, shopping bags, any kind of bag (anyone else know that playschool song “Bags, bags, bags”? That’s my life!) It’s not the putting away of all the bags, that’s pretty easy, I just put them all in the dress up box, it’s the fact that they love to put things in bags. All sorts of things, my things, Mr Good’s things, their own things, even guests’ things sometimes. Do you know how long it takes to look for a missing USB stick when you have to add looking IN dozens of bags. The worst scenario so far was the case of my missing work keys (keys that opened every door in the school, so somewhat problematic if I didn’t locate them). After THREE DAYS of searching they were eventually found in a dress up bag, inside a suitcase, under the bed. Yep that’s the first place I should have looked, of course. The things in bags drives me CRAZY.
Today, I attempted yet another re-organisation of the toys and things. The soft toys are all in the second toy box, in the girls room. It’s easy for them to get to, but more importantly easy for the girls (not me) to pack them away. And better yet the family room is looking much more organised and my mind is calmed….. until tomorrow.
Ease my mind, do you struggle with reigning in the chaos at your place? What are your strategies for dealing with it?