Saturday, July 23, 2011

Stuff, part 3: That's entropy, man

I have mentioned the British singing duo, Flanders and Swann, here before.  They are a family favorite and you should really look for their albums At the Drop of a Hat and At the Drop of Another Hat (my favorite) if you are unfamiliar with them.  But I bring them up because a line in the song, The Second Law of Thermodynamics (click the link and look for the link on the page to hear the song... go ahead and listen, I'll wait), which always makes me think of my house:  "That's entropy, man!"

Why?  Because without vigilance, that is what happens... it moves toward chaos.  And the more people who live in the house, the faster chaos wins.  For us homeschoolers, keeping chaos at bay is even trickier because there is never a time when the majority of the household is out of the house.  It is much easier to keep your house looking like a catalogue picture if no one is ever home.

This is why, even though for the most part I don't collect a lot of stuff (children's clothes aside... and I took care of those), there is always something that needs to be sorted or reorganized.  The natural state of stuff is to be strewn about and not happily and neatly organized into boxes, bins, and folders.  I've been reading a lot of organizing/clearing out books recently, and the main rule of thumb is that if something can't be picked-up in five minutes, it's too much stuff.  Currently our toys do not fit into the 5 minute rule, but that is my goal.

I just keep focusing on living in a way that did not constantly include me telling children to pick-up toys or me picking-up toys myself or me feeling angry that I'm constantly stepping over toys.  (See a theme?)  Having too much stuff about robs us of our relationships because we are focusing on the things in our lives instead of the people.  I'm tired of being annoyed at my children because their stuff is not picked-up, so I am opting to do something about the stuff.  I am choosing to fend off chaos by giving chaos less to work with.
Stuff, part 1 -- Lessons from the playpen
Stuff, part 2 -- Lessons from the too small house
Stuff, conclusion -- The hard part


Amy said...

I'm loving this "series." You inspired me to reorganize the boy's toys and clear out a few bags.
What are your favorite home organization books? I know that the "flow" in our apartment isn't the best, but with so little space (less than 900 sq feet, which I realize is only small for the first world) rearranging can be a bit tricky.

Angie said...

Would love to hear what types of toys you are getting rid of. And how are the kids handling it? Also - there are many different age appropriate toys and that seems to add to the amount when you have all different ages of kids - any thoughts on that?

Love the series.

thecurryseven said...

Amy - One of my favorite organizing books is Confessions of an Organized Homemaker by Deniece Schofield.

Angie - The kids are handling it fine (probably better than I am), and I have done it with their help. First wave was anything that was broken or missing pieces. It was also my chance to get rid of toys I didn't like at all. Second we got rid of most everything that used batteries or made noise. Those single type of play toys that can only be used one way. Third we had a lot of similar type toys, so we only kept the favorite of a single type.

The children really like having more room to play and less to choose from. I have also done big clearing out projects with the children gone, bagging up what I was getting rid of and hiding it for a couple of weeks. That way if a child asked where a certain toy was, I could go retrieve it. I think I have only had to do that once. They just never really noticed something was missing.

The multiple age/appropriate toy thing is tricky with a lot of ages. It is why we still have more toys than many if only because there are so many ages. I have tried to pare that down though, keeping only one or two puzzles for instance instead of having 12.


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It