Masking tape labels - just one of my organising tools.
However, when it comes to keeping a clean home, I am not the hotest. In fact, I have spent years living in relative filth. I was trained well, exceptionally well in fact, but somehow that all got lost for a bit when I left home. It was compounded by extreme tiredness and fatigue due to illness in the early years of our marriage, and Boyo and I ended up in some bad habits. I say 'bad' because it meant that our house was a bit of a pigsty despite us actually having both the time and ability to make it otherwise. So I have been working on cleanliness over the past 2 years or so. It was a major achievement when I started cleaning the bathroom once a week. I couldn't believe how good I felt! Or how little time it took to get it at least semi-clean (15minutes once a week, and I have a reasonably clean bathroom - I only wonder why I didn't try earlier!)! I've had to train myself not to be such a perfectionist, otherwise I either won't get started, or won't be able to stop once I do. You might hear me talking to myself as I go, coaching my efforts along the way with things such as, "We are going for CLEANER here, Amy, not cleanest, and definitely NOT perfect!" or, "Don't look, don't look at the skirting boards. You are only allowed to dust the lounge today, just the lounge. Do the lounge and be happy with a clean lounge and don't worry about the rest for now!"
So for me, keeping house is not so much about it being clean. It might be more about it being tidy. Boyo would certainly say that (tidy isn't such a priority for him). For me, I think of it more that I like everything to have its place. I like it to be organised. So this past week I have been on a mission...
...a mission to organise my house. It has been happening gradually over the past 5 weeks we've been living here anyway, but this week has seen concerted effort on my part to 'get things organised' while I am officially on 2 weeks holiday. Holiday being, in this case, another word for study leave...I have 7 assignments and 2 tests before Munchkin is due (plus another test on our due date, and 2 exams a couple of weeks after~we will have to see about those ones!), so for starters I have plotted out the next few weeks on a calendar, decided what assignments are priority and when I can do them, and made a start. Mid-way through the second week of 'holidays' I have posted off 2 assignments and have another almost finished. Whew. There is also a small mountain of research books now sitting on my desk. Goal: Read and take notes within the next 2 weeks before they have to go back to the library. Hope: Complete 1 of the 2 assignments the books are for. Reality check: Not sure how that will go!
On the home front, I have sorted all of Munchkin's clothes and stored them in little containers on a shelf in our door-less wardrobe, labelled, ready for use. If Boyo needs to dress the baby, there will be no excuse for not being able to find the right things. We have bought a car seat! This is a big deal, considering the rigmorale we had to go through to (hopefully) get the right information for our car. Still have to get it fitted correctly with tether bolt, but we do at least have a car seat. I have bought maternity bras - another very, very, very big deal! I have sorted all my non-preggy clothes into summer and winter and stored all of them in underbed storers and containers in the linen cupboard. Labelled, of course. I have written to our sponsored children. And I have unpacked yet more boxes. The only thing with unpacking boxes is that it tends to create another job to do. Or several. This lot were our childhood soft toys, some of which will be passed on to Munchkin. They all needed a wash after 4 years in storage, and now we have to work out where to store them (can you hear my organising brain ticking over right now, trying to work out whether a basket or container will work, how big it needs to be, how much it might cost, and where on earth we can put it?). I still want to find a set of drawers or cupboard to sit beside my Lazy-boy chair in the lounge, to hold things like my knitting, water bottle, book, snacks, etc. I figure I will probably spend a lot of time in that chair over the next year either babying or studying, so it may as well be well-equipped.
Some of Munchkin's clothes.
So, here I am, the planner. The only thing is that not all of life can be planned. People often compliment me on how organised I am, wishing they could be the same. Don't wish it. We are all made unique, and what can be a strength one day can easily be a failing-point the next. I cope by planning. It is my safety mechanism. If something comes up that I cannot plan, or do not know the outcome of, I really struggle. Trusting God with the unknown is one of my hardest tasks ever. Leaving things alone to see what might pan out is another. I always want to organise it, and sometimes interference is premature and unhelpful. Sometimes we just have to let life flow, and take us where it wishes. I've had to learn that with being pregnant - there is so much about pregnancy that is not predictable. No one can tell you what symptoms you will or will not have, what day your baby will be born, it's size or temperament, how well it will sleep or feed, or what effect having a child will have on your relationships and your sense of self. These are all things I cannot plan. I can think about possibilities, and definitely do, but I am having to learn to let go.
Amy, the organiser, is having to leave some organising to a more qualified source. The good thing with that is that I know it will be well handled. Probably not how I want it to be, but then God sees the future so much better than I do, and is looking at specific priorities (such as my character development). I have noticed, looking back, that He does seem to get it right. Whether you believe in divine direction or not, one must admit that life's unpredictablity has a way of shaping our character, helping us define who we are, and keeping us on our toes. And if life didn't consist of little twists and turns along the way, imagine how boring it would be.
Don't the teddies look cute drying on the washing line?!