Organizing Me by Overcoming Obstacles

I grew up in a house full of hoarding and not even my momma’s house. My mom for the most part was a neat freak but because I spent a lot of my younger years at my grandparents, I have grown to understand that I picked up habits from them that I never realized. My grandparents grew up during the “Great Depression” which impacted things they did in their lives. But one thing they never grew out of was holding on to things “just in case”.

I would come home to my grandparents’ house from school in the evening and walk in to a living room buffet set up with food “just in case” people stopped by. Then my grandmother would be in the kitchen cooking more food “just in case” they didn’t like what was already available. They housed an overflowing freezer and deep freezer and even an extra pantry in a spare bedroom “just in case”. My grandfather was a man that got sucked in to every gimmick/ infomercial known to man and would have packages being delivered everyday, 24 hours a day. On top of this my grandmother was a shopper of everything. Groceries, arts and crafts, clothes, home decor, you name it- she bought it, “just in case”. Let me paint a picture…. Imagine walking into a home and for as long as you walk the hallway there is a mountain of any and everything next to you, every closet in the house is filled where the outside of the closets have become extra storage. Their are 2 adults in the house with 6 closets and all overflowing. So much jewelry, coin jars and trinkets that you can’t even look in the dresser mirror because the dresser is stacked to the top. And til their dying days, most of the items in their home still had tags on them or in original packaging. This my friends killed my organizational skills. And often made me frustrated to do things before I even started. This carried over until I got grown. Then I had to learn to check myself and breathe through it.

With two children there is no time for being unorganized. And for a while I used to kick myself in the butt during my cause and effect moments. During my reflection I realized that when I had my kids, I literally was just realizing my responsibility to myself. Then It dawned on me that I never wanted them to feel as overwhelmed as I had.

I had to first acknowledge why I shopped non-stop and why when it became too much I felt like I couldn’t handle it. I grew up in a house of 70+ year old individuals and for them, they couldn’t handle it. But catching myself in my 20s, I knew that I could and I had to. I don’t think my sisters were as heavily effected. We all grew up under the same roof but we all were raised and experienced things at different parts of our parents lives. My oldest sister had the family unit until she was 10. A mom, a dad, and siblings. At age 13 she left home for boarding school and never fully returned. My middle sister experienced the family unit until she was 7, and at 16 she left for boarding school, came back home for senior year and off to college. Me, I was 2 when our parents broke up and don’t remember a household with both parents. When I turned 5, my oldest sister left home for boarding school so our relationship became strained. And as my mom put in more hours to ensure bills were paid and tuition was paid I was raised in an old folks home. Unless I was in activities or staying at a friends house, I was held hostage by the 70+ year old community. I always felt that i was left behind or there to pick up the pieces. In some ways it helped me and in some it hurt me. This was one of those hurt moments. But I accepted it, got through it and have moved on.

I realized as I got older that I have a lot of characteristics like my grandmother. I also knew as my grandmother got older and sick, she carried a lot of resentment with herself for things she wished she would have done different. I never want to carry that burden. And I knew now why I got so flustered when a large household tasks came my way. I would do the same thing I did at my grandparents house. Find a space, a corner, or area to clear my thoughts and stay put until time to go or go to bed. Basically paralyzingly myself because it was too much to deal with. I hated inviting friends over because I would have explain why they were tripping over everything or why my grandmother was forcing food down their throat.

It took me a long time to come to terms with why I was that way. And in a way it was also how i held on to pieces of them. But now I focus on fixing it. I have done so much to work on myself in the past couple of years that I love sharing that information with others. Let me tell you some tricks I use to stay organized. I used to be great at making homes but not keeping them. Now I do both by making time work for me.

– Calendars- All calendars get combined on 1 (school calendars, extra curriculum activities, family events, appointments, etc.)

– Appointments- All family doctor and dentists appointments are scheduled on days school is closed to ensure least amount of days missed for them and you using leave.

-Wash Laundry -Once a Week, those small busy kids stay needing something washed

– I workout during the kids extra curriculum activities or do workouts they can do with me, it helps motivate them to stay active

– We all assist with household chores and the chore schedule shows on the calendar as well. They learn from actions not just talking.

– We usually discuss and plan meals for the week. Dad and I compile the grocery list together to cover two- three weeks. While the kids help organize the coupons.

-Holidays, birthday parties, baby showers, school donations…Now I start months in advance so I’ll never be running around last minute. Because with kids anything could happen. As you find deals on hot items, buy while their cheap. Buy 4 or 5 because it’s always somebody you forgot. Clearance sales on books, toys, and educational items are a must. My trunk always has a bag of children’s gifts because I hate going anywhere I’m invited empty handed.

My Biggest Accomplishment is Clean as You Go. I used to wait until the mess was made to clean, but that’s what overwhelmed me in the first place. Now before my kids can make a mess, they are being lectured before hand or I’m there to clean it up. I have also decided to shop my own closet for the remainder of the year, thanks to great advice from my Bloggers Like Me Sisters.

I used to think my mother-in-law was crazy for cleaning up after grown people. Until I realized she was doing it to keep her own sense of sanity.

Wow look at how we’ve grown.

“Organizing the clutter within will change the clutter without”

How do you keep yourself organized with a busy schedule?

Categories: Uncategorized | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Organizing Me by Overcoming Obstacles

  1. Neela

    Great advice here, Jameelah!

  2. I’m loving the calendar idea. I like to color code my calendar so I can look at it and have a general idea of what is going on. I will be using these tips as I juggle work and family.

  3. Great tips! I’m a SAHM of three and I’m in the process of organizing my life. I trying my best to come up with a schedule/calander. I’m also in the process of doing a menu for the rest of the year…that way I can plan shopping trips accordingly and theres no guessing about whats for dinner.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. You have made some pretty powerful observations! Thank you for the tips on how to stay/get organized. I used to be very organized until I had children. Now, it just feels like things are everywhere…especially paper. I hate paper. I’ve developed some filing systems, work my shredder, etc., but I still feel like I’m swimming in a sea of “stuff”.

  5. I follow some of these same strategies. There has to be a method to the madness, right?! Great post!

  6. You’ve inspired me to get it together, going to organize right now!

  7. I never made the connection about the great depression and holding on to everything. #interesting. Girl I agree with the clean as you go. So much simpler…really!

  8. Loving this one as well. I am good with the calendar, but that’s about it. This post is duly noted!

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