Friday, January 15, 2016

When Life Hands You Lemons

A couple of Advents ago, my older little asked me THE QUESTION:

"Mommy, is Santa Claus real?"

At the moment he asked this, I was in the throes of my harried Christmas preparations and was tempted to respond, "Yes. I AM SANTA! I make your Christmas happen! I make YOUR LIFE HAPPEN! If it weren't for me, you'd be eating a TV dinner on Christmas Eve with a nothing more than a Nike sock hanging on the mantle!"

I didn't say that, but I wanted to. I get kind of stressed out during Advent. The blessed season when I am supposed to be reflecting on the Coming, I am more focused on figuring out what I'm going to get everyone, what we going to eat, and managing everyone's dizzying social calendar. Somehow it all seems to come together, but by Christmas Eve, I'm spent. Every January, I vow I'm going to do better, but I never seem to manage a low-stress holiday season.

I think part of this is due to lack of organization. I am a somewhat naturally organized person, but since I had the small people, I've lost my way. Anyone who knows anything about small people knows you don't get chunks of time to do things. So for the past eight years, I've just been stuffing things in closets and drawers to reduce clutter, but the result of that has been... more clutter.

The littler little started preschool last year, so I have tackled a few closets, but there is still plenty more to be done, and some of my 'organized' spaces are not so organized anymore. This means my system was not good, so I have decided to branch out on the blog to chronicle my home organizational projects. I'll still talk about exercise from time to time, but I'm kind of done with talking about food, and I think you are all kind of done with me talking about food, too.

When life hands you lemons...
... and limes... and an orange...

I've decided to do a modified version of the 14-week Home Organization 101 challenge that is outlined on the very orderly blog called A Bowl Full of Lemons. The Lemon Lady has also recently published a book, which you can find here, but I think I'm going to forgo the book because I am really trying to reduce the amount of stuff in our house. I'm also being super cheap these days. (December was a very expensive month.)

A Bowl Full of Lemons is a very pretty blog, with very pretty pictures of a very pretty house. My house will never look like that. I think I will have to go off the lemon grove to some extent, because I will never be storing my books by color. Seriously, she does that. She has a Paula Deen cookbook next to a Harry Potter book because they're both orange. I mean, it's pretty, but not super practical.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa, and I am he.

In addition to having a lower-stress December, I also realized that the Santa question brought up a real truth that scares me a little. I DO make it all happen in my family. My darling husband earns the paycheck, does the taxes and handles car and many household repairs, but I keep pretty much everything else humming. In fact, I even file the car paperwork, organize the taxes and pay all the bills. I'm also the one who does all the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, and anything that pertains to the children, including medical stuff. Since we have a child with disabilities, that stuff can get very complicated.

I'm not saying all that to sound like a martyr, or make my husband sound like he isn't involved (because he is), only to point out that I keep all the plates spinning, and I have a lot of information in my head. What if something happened to me? If I died (!) or were incapacitated, life would be hard for my family.

So, with that long-winded pre-ramble, my goals over the next 14 weeks are not just to organize, but to label everything so other people know where the spare batteries or extra laundry detergent is hiding. Also, I'm planning to make up a binder with pertinent information, especially regarding all of the little little's medical stuff. Yes, my husband or others could dig around and find what they'd need to know, but wouldn't it be nice to have it all in one place?

Lastly, I'm going to try to do all of this without buying anything, or at least, not buying very much. I might even do a nice spicy rant on my love/hate relationship with The Container Store! Goody!

I might not be able to do all of this in 14 weeks, but I'll try. What's more important to me is developing systems that work. Let me know if you want to join in on the 'fun'!


  1. Oh Stephanie, I'd join, if only I knew I would pull it through! I'm taking baby steps to get my house organized and clean. Step by step. I don't want to fly into a panic before every birthday party!

    I agree with Advent being a very stressful season and it saddens me every year. I was looking forward to January! Can you believe that? haha!

    Good luck with your organizing!

    1. Oh, join in anyway! I don't think ultimate whole-house order is necessary. Whatever little bits you can do are good! I do think the BFOL method can be pretty overwhelming--empty all drawers and cupboards, sort and put back. Yikes, I can't even imagine doing it that way--esp. with kids! So I'm going to do it in small bits. But blogging about it will keep me accountable!