Organization 101

I’d gone back and forth on hosting my extended family’s Thanksgiving dinner. We did last year, and it went well, but this year there might be more family able to attend. Would more people make it too crowded? Was I really up to hosting a large gathering at my home? Would I become a total nut in the preceeding two weeks so that my children would wish I would never do it again? My daughter Beth remembers well how I would become a whirling dervish in the weeks before a gathering.

“Why can’t we just wait to clean a day or two before the event?” she’d wail. “It’s not like it is going to stay clean!”

And she was right. With small children underfoot, a room doesn’t stay clean any longer than it takes for one toddler to destroy it, and that can be ten minutes or ten hours. (with her little Jo-Jo, our third grandchild, that would be ten SECONDS)

But there is always some sort of “organization” that can be done ahead of time, organization that contributes to the cleanliness and look of a house. And that organization is what I have concentrated on since last Thursday when I decided to host Thanksgiving here.

I started with the kitchen.  I have hated the look of the green recycling bins sitting in my kitchen corner for a long time so I went to Walmart and picked up a tall kitchen garbage can and wrote RECYCLE down the side and that fits nicely in the corner now. The green bins will be on the back porch and I can transfer recycling into them as the garbage can fills up. Then I bought a new dish rack for washing dishes. I liked my red one, but it was too small. We have a lot of dishes. I found a much bigger one and replaced the red one. Abby is now using the red one with her wooden kitchen set.

In the meantime, Katie started cleaning her room in anticipation of Thanksgiving, setting up white shelves a woman had given us. She brought down the colored shelves Abby has used for her toys and books for years and I thought how cute they would be set up next to the toy kitchen set, so I removed the wooden food and dishes from the shelf they were on to the brightly colored shelves. That left an empty wooden shelf. (see how one thing leads to another around here?) It occurred to me that those shelves would look wonderful in the kitchen and add the extra space for appliances, etc. that I have yearned for. We shut the heating vent that had prevented me from placing shelves there earlier (there is another one in the kitchen) and now I have been busy setting those shelves up. I emptied the cupboard that held the crockpot and now I can use it for those extra canned goods I have hesitated buying because of lack of room.  I haven’t picked up any Libby’s vegetables at Dollar General precisely for that reason. They are on sale for 50-cents a can and I have $1 off 4 coupons.  Now I can stock up on canned peas and corn for only 25-cents a can, after coupons!

Today the little girls and I are going to work on organizing the playroom/office.  There are empty boxes, bubble mailers and books all over the floor in one corner, waiting for me to find a place for them. I’ll concentrate on that while the little girls go through the toys and see if there are any they would be willing to part with. (Abby has already conceded to allow me to donate the marbles she’d begged for early this summer. I have hated having them around when Jo-Jo visits)

And so we are “organizing” and cleaning around here the rest of this week, and into the coming week, as we prepare our house for a Thanksgiving feast shared with those we love.

I tend to do the same thing when I am grappling with a looming writing project.  I know that I need to update my book proposal and work on a query letter.  Yet last night I found myself cleaning off my desk in preparation for my writing session this morning.  And now this morning I find myself writing about organization instead of working on a query letter.

It is true that I work best under organized conditions, but in this case, I think it might just be procrastination. Honestly, the longer I can put off finishing a query letter, the more time I have before facing possible rejection.

But enough already. Time to get that query letter completed and sent. I’ll start it now, before the little girls get up.

At my messy desk.