Organizing with kids: A thankless task? How do you stay inspired?
I've never been what you might call "great" at organization. I love to have organized spaces, I do -- I even enjoy the process of organization when, from time to time, I put my mind to nothing but. What I don't have much (ever) is the space and time to do that. I have an inspiring idea on how to organize something, or a fantastic open afternoon, or some great reason to get neat and clean (sadly, this is often "I want to take a picture and there is a mess in the background" -- but any port in the storm, right?).
Thank goodness for my youngest sister, Abby. She has been a babysitting rock for me through the years, and would regularly undergo spurts of amazing effort. I would come home from a run or a meeting to see something like the above scene: a transformed space, neatly labeled, using the supplies on hand, no more. This, a little free-pile bookshelf set on an awkward-shaped square table with little plastic boxes and a big plastic box, has been in use for over a year -- I just have to keep it organized. And the boys always know where to find everything.
My sister Abby had a baby this summer, and since then, I've been flying solo. Thank goodness for Asha and her organization chat a few days ago to keep me inspired. I've been trying for months (ok, over a year now) to get a huge pile of paper -- that grows all the time from two boys in school and many reams of writing group notes -- organized. She had the great idea of tackling the pile of papers for just 15 minutes at a time, setting a timer and planning to go back to it the next day. Boston Mama Christine Koh posted a link to this on Pinterest -- a pretty, pretty use for clipboards to organize children's art and papers.
Which comes to the topic of Pinterest. Lately, Pinterest is how I've been staying inspired to keep organized; although I've heard many lament that the site is nothing but eye candy for craft ideas (and none of them actually get done), I've slowly been incorporating the ideas into my to-do lists and -- ok, I'll be honest -- doing things just so I can take photos and pin them. Nothing gets me going like a little repinning!
How do you keep your house organized with all the papers and art supplies and toys? How do you stay inspired? If you, like me, just don't ever feel like you have the time to focus (and, when you do, the kids are busy totally annihilating another room of the house), how do you make it happen? Or do you just throw up your hands over periods of weeks (I'm ashamed to photograph my dining table) and let the mess prevail?
Also check out this huge list of organization resources -- which I haven't yet had time to click through. If I did, I wouldn't have time to keep the pile of papers under control!