My mother always told me that they raised me with the kind of person they wanted me to be as an adult in their mind. As H gets older I have started to understand what she was talking about. There are a number of things that I want my daughter to be. I want her love God with all of her heart, to be kind and gracious, strong in her beliefs and loving, polite, and respectful of all people and organized. The last word on that list may seem a little out of place when talking about the other qualities but that is because you don’t know me. The short story is that I was adopted into a wonderful family. My mom (adopted mom, but to me she is just mom… my only mom) is neat as a pin. She was one of those people that you walk into her house and everything is in place and clean and organized. Poor thing, no matter how hard she tried to train me we didn’t realize that ingrained in my DNA was the messy gene. Later, when I was 17, we met my birth family. I was introduced to the brave woman that made the best decision for me (later post, I promise) and even found out I had siblings. I also found out that I inherited a few things genetically that you just wouldn’t believe unless you experienced this for yourself. A love of ketchup, pizza, diet coke, and messiness. In a way it was oddly reassuring that I was not alone on the messy island feeling like an organizational failure.
Fast forward to today. My daughter. I do not want her to struggle all of her life to keep things clean and organized. I feel like a fight a daily battle to keep my home halfway picked up and clean. Now that I know that we come preprogrammed to be messy I am trying to begin early by teaching her to have a place for everything and to pick up on a regular basis. I think that if my mom had known I was predisposed to clutter and mess she would have taken a different approach when training me. She is one of those people that is naturally organized and driven to organize and pick up on a regular basis. It makes me jealous. Even as I sit here writing I barely have enough room on my desk for my keyboard!A place for everything.
I really think this may help H in many ways. I wondered if starting at 2 years old was too early but I thought you could probably never start too early. I bought clear plastic bins from Wallyworld and I created labels for them. Since she is not able to read I put pictures next to each item. I actually thought it might help her learn the words faster to have them around her room. I tried to keep it simple and put like things together. After getting her setup we went and got her clean laundry and I watched as she matched her socks (for the most part) and then put everything away. Added bonus, one less thing I have to do to try to keep organized. Now she is a contributing member of the family J. This also helps her pick out outfits when she is given the option (most days but not all days).
(we were a little heavy on the jeans and shorts... but at least she put them all away)
I did the same thing for books. I had read somewhere that the key to keeping a child’s room neat is the make it easier to put something back than it is to get it out. I wish I could remember where I read it because I would love to give them credit. It is so true! So with her books I bought bins big enough that she could see the front of the books as she flipped through them but then all she has to do is drop them back in the front of the bin and they are put away. I also added pictures and the word books on the front.
The last mini-room makeover was to hang an old shower rod that was taking up space in my laundry room low in her closet so she could walk in and see her dresses. Overall she has seemed very happy with the changes and her ability to do things herself. A phrase I hear about once every 10 minutes anyway but most of the time she doesn’t quite have the coordination to complete whatever it is in reference to. At least now she feels some success in keeping her room organized (me too!)
I know this isn’t rocket science and may not even seem like an accomplishment to most people, but for me and my messiness it felt like I had taken a big step in the right direction for H. If you would like my word doc pages that I used to create my little signs please leave me a comment with your email address and I will email them to you (since I cannot figure out how to attach to the blog, ugh!).
More than anything I hope to teach her to be a good steward of the wonderful blessings God gives us. James 1: 17 says that all good gifts come from God. I do not want her to take for granted the amazing life we are privileged to lead. Also, if you have any great tips for cleaning and organizing by ALL MEANS please post them in the comments below! I am always looking for a great way to organize and do a better job of keeping house.
With a Grateful Heart,