Friday, 8 May 2015

Organization Obsession

I am obsessed with organization. My favourite hobby is organizing and reorganizing. Nothing gives me more of a sense of peace and calm than a clean, clear, clutter-free space. Our house is compulsively organized and clutter-free.

To maintain this state of visual zen I am pretty much constantly tidying and sorting and purging. I do a major purge - the kind of thorough digging through the backs of closets and crawlspaces that most people only do before they move - twice a year.

Right around now, actually. Spring is here, we're opening windows and spring cleaning and moving outdoors, gardening, working on backyard projects, switching from indoor hibernation mode to an outdoor living lifestyle - it's the perfect time for a purge, to take a look at our home and stuff with fresh eyes and lighten up.

Except I can't.

These children that I'm sort of accidentally-on-purpose doing home daycare for are still here every day. And there's absolutely no point in sorting or organizing or re-doing anything until they're gone. (Less than eight more weeks, but who's counting?)

Though both boys are older than my youngest they act much younger. My three-and-a-half year old likes to play board games, do puzzles, build Lego, paint and colour and do crafts. When he's playing with toys - cars or action figures or Little People playsets - he uses his imagination and creates stories, explores and discovers and makes connections and problem solves. The four and five year olds I watch can't understand board games or puzzles and ask me to build Lego or draw pictures for them. "Playing" with toys, for them, means mostly throwing things around and smashing them together and I've never seen any kind of imaginative or creative play or any interest in figuring out how a new or different toy or game works.

All that said, when they first started coming to our home we quickly realized we had to re-baby-proof our house if our stuff was going to survive. My kids pulled all of the toys they wanted to rescue (anything breakable, or with small parts, or particularly special to them, or anything considered a "big kid toy") and put these in their bedrooms - an off-limits part of the house for the daycare kids. I installed a bunch of high shelves in the playroom to keep the boys' models and Lego creations visible but out of reach from destructive hands. We moved things around to make the playroom more toddler-friendly. I put a small tv with an old Playstation and DVD player in the older boys' bedroom and relaxed the "no video games on weekdays" rule during the hour and a half after school while the daycare kids are here to make up for my boys having to put up with them.

So, basically, our entire house is upside-down and nothing is where it belongs. Like things are not with like things, things that should be out have been put away and things that should be packed away are out and my OCD is making me all twitchy and anxious over it all. But there is simply no point in starting any kind of spring cleaning, organization or purge until these daycare kids are gone and we can have our house and lives back.

Until then I'll just have to keep obsessing over my less-than-perfectly-organized house.

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