Friday, January 11, 2008


The family exhibited classic nesting behavior last weekend. For those unfamiliar with this term, pregnant women (and by extension families) begin in the last trimester of a pregnancy to prepare for the birth and arrival of a new person by occasionally going through fits of intense organizational activities.

We did this on Saturday by:

1. Buying several organizer drawers to put the innumerable crayons, markers, colored pencils, regular pencils, scissors, scrap paper, pencil sharpener, scotch tape, regular pens, and more crayons that are constantly shifting position through the house into separate areas. The girls now each have their own drawers for their rooms and we are attempting to organize the kitchen area desk by housing downstairs community art supplies into rational locations.

2. The kitchen desk was another organizational mountain. I used to place the laptop there, but have recently decided to place it in the side room (that is supposed to be a dining room but never will) on a small desk by the window. Now, with both computers in that "office" space, the kitchen desk tended to be an entrance way dumping ground for everybody's crap. Since this offends my obsessive tendencies, the aforementioned art supply drawers is one attempt to bring order and hold off entropy. Secondly, I went through the many pieces of paper, old calendars, rec center catalogs, out-of-date school lists, and other junk that filled up the desk drawer and desk trays. A great deal was thrown away and the desk is now a central location for gathering mail and art stuff for when it is needed.

3. The most radical, but logical move of all was moving the television from the kitchen/eating/den room and placing it in the front room with the main window. I have never liked the furniture configuration in the fireplace room, with the couches on either wall--perpendicular to the TV screen. This made the small love seat by the window to the backyard less suited to watch the TV from--you had to lay down (which I would often do) or sit sideways (which the kids always did). Furthermore, we all tended to use that room at the exclusion of all other rooms--eating, cooking, watching TV, playing all in one place. What were the rest for? Nothing.

By shifting the TV, we made the kitchen/eating/fireplace room more for reading and food preparation. That calmed down this area significantly. The front room is consistently used now and everything gets spread out. (Right now, for instance, I'm sitting at the kitchen table, Lynda's working in the office, and the girls are watching TV. Each of us are in our separate rooms and the house is better utilized. Ahhh, family togetherness.)

Of course, the only drawback to this plan will come next December when I have to figure out how to configure the TV to accommodate the addition of the snowman tree that sits in the middle of the window. But that's 12 months away. I'm sure I'll think of something.

4. Another nesting/organizational technique that is being implemented is the creation of a pictographic chore chart for the girls. They've been helping out for a while now, but the creation of a chart will be visually interesting and help them track what they've done and what still needs to be done. I've had fun creating suitable tableaus for each of the chores they have to do, such as putting dirty clothes down the laundry chute, making their beds, setting the dinner table, picking up their toys, hanging up their coats, brushing teeth and hair, etc. Once all the photos are taken and laminated, I'll construct the chart the pictures will be velcro'ed on.

5. I also put together two small shelving units for the corners of the office to house some toys and neaten up the corners that tend to be dumping grounds for half-used art notebooks, small memo pads, old guitar music, financial papers, and a great deal of old stuff that I chose to throw away.

We're trying to prepare for the addition of another person, anticipating the uproar of baby, diaper, bibs, toys, blankets, mats, and everything else. Of course, you can never really be ready for everything, but cleaning up does help.

Now if we can just keep it this clean . . .


Sven Golly said...

Burb, dude, you should take this show on the road. There's gotta be big demand out there for home organizational genius, which you clearly possess...D. Martin, feng-shui mastah! You can start with the Golly household, where entropy seems to have the upper hand.

David said...

Well, Sven, thanks. But I'm thinking holding back chaos at the Martin pad will be a full-time job.

And besides, being the savvy blog reader that I am, I think that this quote:

"Truth be told, I'm just high-maintenance, as those who know me best will confirm. It has taken me many years of study, meditation, and practice practice practice to fine-tune my particular wants and needs, and I'm not about to let all that work go to waste. All those classes, all those books read, papers written, seminars and workshops and retreats shouldn't go down the drain. By now, I have a pretty good idea of what works for me, and if I get around to doing it all, I invariably feel good."

from this post means I shouldn't try to impose my zeitgeist on your weltanschauung.

Anonymous said...

Last night, Mark came into the living room with a piece of bacon that he had knocked onto the floor during yesterday's breakfast. I saw it laying there, but didn't pick it up. It was with its friends. A motley crew to be sure--the outer layer of a cinnamon role, a couple of Lego horses, various fabric scraps from my latest quilt, a half of a large plastic butterfly Mark had yanked off the window the day before--but who am I to judge?

Keeping the Family Home clean is a neverending tragicomedysaga. I vowed to do it tonight after supper, but what's the use? I'm not going to take the time to dust underneath the really heavy furniture, and I did just rearrange all of my thread in one big, clear bin instead of 4 small fabric-colored ones (Martha- Approved).

I guess what I'm saying is...good luck to you, Burb.


Anonymous said...

And I should say "half" instead of "a half". And I should also note that Mark was EATING that bacon.