Thanks, Mom

Posted by Sue on May 15, 2012  

I hope that all of you moms out there enjoyed a peaceful, joyous day. Mothers’ Day is filled with nostalgia, and even more so this year for me. This Mothers’ Day marked the 18 month anniversary of my Mom’s passing. And so, I’d like to pay a special tribute to her and what she taught me about organizing in today’s post.

Mom wasn’t big on organizing. Yet somehow she managed a happy home with a happy kind of chaos. Here’s some of the organizing advice I picked up from her:

  • Never let organizing get in the way of living.
  • If there’s a bird at the bird feeder and you’re doing housework, drop everything and grab your binoculars; even if it’s a robin, guaranteed it’s more interesting than the housework.
  • Be well enough organized to do what you want to do. Anything more is just excessive.
  • The only good reason to dig into an organizing project is if it’s time for Mr. Rogers.

Despite these finely tuned organizing strategies, my childhood home was never outrageously disorganized. How did she accomplish this with 5 children and a somewhat old-world husband who, to this day, is not sure which end of the vacuum cleaner to plug in? Among her carefully guarded secrets were:

  • Get help: We were fortunate to live near several colleges and regularly had students in to help babysit and clean. Besides the much needed help around the house, we all learned to play a mean hand of poker.
  • Count: Never fold more than 10 pieces of laundry or put away 10 pieces of miscellany without looking out the window to see if anything interesting has landed in the yard.
  • Containerize: Although she never called it this, we had baskets of sorted stuff throughout the house. This made finding and putting away a lot easier. It also provided good use for the baskets and odd copper pieces that she brought home from antiquing.
  • Simplify: Mom always sought the most direct route from point A and point B (unless we were taking Sunday afternoon walks – which became known as “Sallymeanderings). For example, a key element of her life advice to me was to install a laundry-shoot. I also learned that leftovers are much tastier when eaten directly out of their containers while standing in front of the fridge ~ but I digress.
  • Finally, laugh: Because humor, especially a good pun, is the balm that sorts out any degree of disorganization.

  • With love,
    Sally’s daughter, Sue
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