When Being Organised Takes Work… My Story
I am not a naturally organised person! Really? The funny things is most of my friends and family would say I am highly organised.
Yet the organisation they see is actually the result of years and years of effort. It’s from struggling with the consequences of having a chaotic house, and then trying ideas and systems until I finally found something that works for my family and myself. It’s still a process!
Sometimes I even forget myself that I’m not naturally organised. Spending time on Facebook lately has reminded me of that. There are people who really do organise their pantry with pretty storage containers and baskets and then label EVERYTHING. I wouldn’t think to do that!
See for me, now days most of my home organisation starts with a conscious thought. For example; When a cupboard is messy again and again or I keep arriving late for school drop off. Something is not working here!! What do I need to do differently? Fun Pinterest research coming up.
How I came to that point starts here…
The Story Of My Sister And I
I grew up in a family of six, I reckon my Mum is a super hero, 4 kids in 5 years. I am the eldest, then came along my sister, brother, another brother all in quick succession.
Most of my growing up years I shared a bedroom with my sister. My memories are of the disagreements we had, especially in our teen years, over which stuff belonged to who. But really, what we would be talking about was the “mess”! And usually the mess belonged to me, not my sister. Though I never admitted it at the time!
Later on when I had my own bedroom, my sister’s room was neat and tidy, mine had every surface covered in papers and books. Even though I regularly cleaned my bedroom up (Thanks Mum and Dad for making us do jobs!), I struggled keeping my stuff organised.
However my organisational skills may have been pretty basic, but I did learn how to work.
Thankful For Dishes
One of the blessings of the family I grew up in, was that we had to do the dishes, and do them often. Not that that was how I ever felt back then! But since there were four of us, we would be on the roster most nights to either wash or dry the dinner dishes.
Little did I know at the time, that those dishes and the other jobs we had, was teaching me, that in a family there is work to be done. Yes, that work needs doing again and again… Sometimes you even need a roster to make sure the work gets done fairly and consistently.
When Everything Breaks
So I moved out of home having a fairly good idea of the amount of work and the type of routines, living in a household requires. Or so I thought!
Side Note: Not everyone grows up with that kind of worldview or life experience, as I came to find out. I happened to marry a man who was never on a roster for dishes like my brothers were growing up. He also grew up in a culture that defined household tasks as strictly only women’s work! Oh that was a big adjustment!
It begin a long season of one challenge after another… a first baby that didn’t sleep well. Then two more babies within quick succession. There went my sleep! Having postal natal depression after my third and through out those years, the challenge of living with chronic back pain!
My organisational systems started breaking down. Big time!! I could no longer keep of top of things just by trying to regularly tidy up again and again…
So Yes, The Challenging Years And Through It Learning That…
Beauty Matters A Lot
“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This was one of the most significant things for me, coming out of a time that felt so bleak, dark and hopeless. I learnt to focus on the beauty and wonder that exists in this world and deliberately turn away from negativity, tragedy, darkness and violence. I learnt how to notice and appreciate beauty in my life, to then doing things that made life beautiful for me.
I also grew in accepting that beauty is not an optional extra after usefulness and productivity. Instead it’s essential for our well being and for having resilience to weather the storms of life and help others do the same.
One of the biggest changes I made was deciding that I wanted my home to be a beautiful and simpler place to live in. That is, transforming the ugly and chaotic things about my home to be something of beauty and with creativity… what ever my constraints. In directly, I learnt new organisational skills.
For example; this was my ugly 30 year old kitchen with no pantry. Check out the amazing new kitchen here.
Paint Can Change The World
It was around this time that Annie Sloan chalk paint came to Australia and specifically to my city, Perth. And I discovered the magic of painting furniture! How something old, worn out and discarded can be transformed into a beautiful piece of furniture that is useful again. Not only did I start a small business from home painting other people’s furniture, but I learnt (and am still learning) how you can turn any room in your house into a beautiful and organised space on a very small budget.
Less Can Also Be More
Well, if I was going to change the decor and furniture in a room, then I also needed to consider how our “stuff” was used and stored in that same space. Ultimately, I was trying to be the caretaker of so much stuff and it was stressful and unhealthy for me! There was the kids’ stuff, passed on to me stuff, unfinished project stuff, my partner’s stuff, gifts as stuff, might need it one day stuff, as well as I have forgotten I even had it stuff.
It was on a holiday to gorgeous sunny Cairns in the middle of winter 2 years ago, that I got a very clear picture of what this organised with less stuff life could look like. It involved my daughter, who was 9 at the time.
Up to that point, helping my daughter stay on top of the mess in her room had a become a huge stress and time waster for me. I had tried numerous different furniture configurations with her room from having a wardrobe to new wardrobe, cube storage, a tall bookshelf etc. No matter how her things were arranged in her room, it would not stay organised. Mum would again be helping because the big pile of toys and clothing and papers etc on her floor would too overwhelming for her.
In Cairns my daughter and I were sharing a room together. Oh my goodness, cleaning up was a breeze! If my daughter dropped her clothes on the floor as she was in the habit of doing, it was a 2 minute job for either of us to pick them and put them away. If her pencils and colouring book were on the floor, not a big deal for her to pick them up and put away. That was the only stuff she had with her.
There was so much less stuff to deal with and I loved it!
This has become a very clear picture for me now of what I want my home and life to be like! Less clutter, and beautiful and functional systems in place. I’m getting there… 🙂