I watched the premier episode of The Ricki Lake Show today and it was really great. She's so spunky and fun and she has such a positive energy so it was really enjoyable to watch.
One of the segments was about a woman who at a young age had lost her husband while he was deployed in Iraq and he never got to meet their infant son. She was a single mom for several years but is now happily engaged. However, our pain manifests itself in many different ways whenever we have a traumatic experience or when we are dealing with stress, sadness, etc. and her's manifested itself into an extremely messy closet. She was hanging on to the past with her mess not knowing how to let it go. She kept avoiding cleaning it out and would find a million other things to do instead. Since she was a busy mom, a messy closet never took top priority. I can relate. I get so overwhelmed sometimes with being a stay-at-home-mom and the day-to-day mess of dishes, laundry and toys that major things like organizing closets, drawers and garage boxes get pushed aside.
I was greatly inspired by The Ricki Lake Show today and the themes I took away from it were to:
- Just do it
- Stop procrastinating
- Just start somewhere
So I looked in my closet and I started taking everything out that no longer works, no longer fits, no longer looks good, is no longer in style, etc. Since becoming a mom, especially a SAHM my style of cute skirts and dresses with high heeled boots and funky purses has morphed into anything and everything that is comfortable and made out of cotton. My purses are now filled with diapers, wipes and worn out baggies of sticky raisins and stale cheerios.
Then I moved on to my drawers because my kids were busy entertaining themselves with some "new-to-them" books they found in their rooms. I have been alternating books from the different places we keep them (both kid's rooms as well as a bookshelf in the livingroom) and adding in books of the season that I (try to ) keep away in a box so they are special again when the time comes.
Who wants to read about Fall and pumpkins when it's blazing hot beach weather outside?
Since they were busy doing something productive with their time (reading!) I tackled my drawers and again pulled everything out that no longer fit, no longer looked good, or was too warn out and frumpy. So....um...now my closets and drawers are pretty much bare! I had a lot of "frumpy mom clothes" I was hanging on to.
Which leaves me to ask, "Hey Ricki, are you doing a makeover show anytime soon? I know of a mom who is in desperate need of a new look! Me!" ;-)
I was so inspired with the instant gratification of the new changes and how much less stressed out it made me feel that I tackled my daughter's room and her closet! We made two bags: one to sell at our next garage sale and one to donate. The stuff we were keeping we found a place for it to live, hung it up or folded it and put it away. But the bottom line here is we did not stuff it under the bed, in the closet or stash it away on the shelf to "deal with later."
We handled our mess!
Once that was cleaned out and I got the kids on board with helping too we moved into the living room where a lot of their toys live in various baskets and boxes. I decided to move every single toy into the play room (where they should be anyway) and just left the bookshelf full of kid's books as well as a little climbing structure we keep in the house to give our toddler a clean, safe place to climb. But really it just keeps him from dive bombing the couch all of the time. Now he only dive bombs it some of the time.
But basically we reclaimed our living room. It felt awesome!
After putting all of the toys in the toy room I saw just how much kid stuff we have and having it all in one spot gave me a bit more clarity to go through it. I was able to see all of the duplicates, what was broken or missing from a set, what had been wandering from basket-to-basket and room-to-room in search of their long lost match or missing piece (that is never to be found because toddlers like to throw things in the trash), and what needed to be tossed, donated or sold because we've outgrown it or it no longer makes the cut. Having everything in one spot made it quicker to go through it and store it properly as well.
I was so inspired with change that I finished the dishes, started dinner and banged out a few loads of unfolded laundry... and put it all away!
It took a bit longer because I was teaching my preschooler the art of folding the socks into little balls and I was teaching (or at least trying to teach) my 23 month old where the clothes go in the drawers. It turns out that I really didn't need to actually fold it once we were done with the lesson anyway, but that's OK.
The task was complete. The clean clothes were put away!
So thank you to The Ricki Lake Show for inspiring change in our house with your very first show and for helping this frazzled mama feel a little less frazzled! You also gave me a reason to shop for some new clothes! I learned that you just have to start somewhere and make small changes.
Small changes morph into bigger ones and soon enough you'll be done!
UPDATE 1 Day Later:
The ripple effect from my one day of cleaning and purging just a few of our "junk spots" has already made a drastic change in myself and in my family. We woke up to a clean living room and the kids woke up to clean bedrooms. The few things that were left out took minutes to put back in "their place." This started the day off calm and relaxed. It made it easier to leave the TV off because I wasn't trying to buy extra time to get things picked up while my two kids were already climbing the walls. The house was calm and quiet even though we were wide awake and ready for the day. I wasn't preoccupied with the thoughts of, "how in the world am I going to get this done today with the kids under foot?" or "I have a few "free" minutes but where do I even begin?" Instead we ate breakfast, got ready in a flash and joined some friends at an indoor play place for a few hours which left the kids happy, laughing, smiling and worn out. Both took an afternoon nap at the same time allowing me the free time to go through more boxes of...ahem...crap in the garage.
It was a good day!
The kitchen/dining room is next. "Yea, that's right kitchen...I'm talking to you." It has become our dumping ground for art supplies, art projects, purses/backpacks/lunch boxes, lost toys, mail, paperwork and random things that have no business being in the kitchen on the island.
But for now I smile and exhale because the living room was an amazing work of progress!
*Are you an Organized Mom? Please share your secrets so the rest of us (myself included) can learn a thing or two!
Let's keep the conversation going over on our facebook page, My Tales From The Crib!
Or join me on twitter @coco_cana