I wish I had more of a penchant for organization. I love it. I’m just not that good at it. Or maybe, like anything else in life, I could be good at it if I just practiced – disciplined myself to stick to a system and rhythm. Took time to think through things up front instead of tackling them as they come.
Gosh, I’m such an admirer of people whose homes and lives and offices and calendars are planned and ordered into lists and beautifully crafted schedules. My heart seems to take a deep breath when everything is in it’s place.
Shoot, The Container Store makes my heart skip a beat as I walk up and down their symmetric aisle-ways wishing that my actual home could fall in line with one of their staged sets.
But my kitchen never looks like that.
My closets never looks like that.
My kids’ rooms certainly never look like that.
But they could.
I’m convinced that they could.
This weekend, I was at my friend Kerri’s house. First time I’ve ever been into her home in Jacksonville. I wasn’t surprised to find her surroundings clean and simple and organized to a “T”. That’s just the kind of woman she is. Without ever stepping foot into her personal space, you can just tell by her calm spirit and clean, simple fashion sense that this woman believes in order. . . and she does. In fact, organization and systems are a creed she lives by.
A creed that she teaches younger women in her church who have the good sense to lean in and learn.
I asked her about it while I stuffed my mouth with the meal she’d prepared – using kitchen utensils that were ORGANIZED. . . meticulously placed with care inside her kitchen drawer . . .
. . . .instead of piled on top of each other in a huge heap like the one I have to dig through to find “that spatula that I know is in here somewhere”.
I sat with my mouth ajar and eyes wide like a deer caught in headlights as she explained some of the systems she has put in place to make her life operate as smoothly as possible.
And, man oh man, does she need every single one of them.
She’s a pastor’s wife who runs the women’s ministry at her church, manages a large staff, writes for her own vibrant blog, authors books and Bible study curriculum, mothers three children and takes care of her pastor husband. (I just got exhausted writing that sentence.) Her life is full and without her meticulous systems she’s the first to admit she’d never be able to manage her life and full schedule. She doesn’t teach perfectionism. She’s a proponent of organization and there’s a difference.
So, she walked me over to her “planning station” – just a simple counter top in her living room on which she has a small box filled with several files – one for each member of her family with important health care and school documents. And a binder, organized with a monthly calendar, chore chart, weekly meal plans and details on each child’s activities. Every evening she takes 10 minutes before bed to update her binder so that any member of her family can look into it and know what they need to tackle the next day. So even when she isn’t around, her system makes certain that life continues to run.
Then she said this and I knew she was talking directly to my heart, “If I spend the best of my emotional and mental energy trying to figure out the predictable, daily details of life I won’t have any energy left to move my life forward. My best energy shouldn’t be spent trying to urgently figure out dinner each day or determine which kid needs to do which chore. I need to save the best of myself for higher level things – for moving toward the future vision in store for my family and ministry. I don’t want to expend and exhaust myself on things that a simple organized plan can take care of in advance.
I was caught – like another one of those deer in headlights.
I put down my fork, titled my head to the side and said, HELP ME!
She’s a gracious woman so she didn’t roll her eyes, laugh and walk away to leave me wallowing in my unorganized misery. She offered to help me get my life together.
I’m so grateful.
So, I think I’m going to start small – meal planning. If I can sit down and map out a dinner plan for the week and make one trip to the grocery store (instead of three times a week every time I discover at the last minute that I’m out of that one ingredient I need to complete a meal) – I’ll save loads of time and energy each day trying to figure it out.
Yup, I’m going to start here – organizing my family’s meals.
Want to join me?
If you are already doing this please tell what your method is. Also, I’d love to know what your organization tricks of the trade are for other areas of your life? What are some systems you’ve put in place that help your life run in a sane and sensible way?
LET’S HELP EACH OTHER!
P.S. For tips on organizing and other bits of wisdom on life visit Kerri’s blog at www.kerriweems.com