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After the “After”

I have spent the last few months pouring over articles, pictures, books and blogs researching methods of organization. It’s been inspiring and given me so much to aspire to in my own home organization. Yet, this morning I looked around and thought, “You are writing a blog on organizing!? You’ve got to be kidding!”  The couches were stripped of their cushions and blankets and pillows were strewn about the living room as the kids played “pillow house”; breakfast dishes were undone, crumbs and Cheerios on the floor and counters; laundry I had folded was still on the table; the floor needed mopping (again); the areas I have yet to get to in my week-by-week organizing were leering at me; and even my organized spots didn’t quite look as I thought they should.

I’ll be honest. I wanted to get angry — with the kids for making another huge mess, with my husband for not keeping up with my system exactly as I envisioned it, with myself for not keeping it together better. . . However, this morning I had managed to accomplish one thing on my to-do list – my quiet time. I had just finished a study on Jonah. We’ve all heard the story of Jonah and the great fish, but sometimes the end is left out of the Sunday School story version. Jonah is sitting outside Nineveh, angry with God for His compassion, watching and waiting for Him to destroy the city. God sends a vine to shade Jonah, then a worm that eats and destroys the plant, and finally a scorching wind that makes him miserable. Again, Jonah is angry, this time about the plant dying. God says, “Have you any right to be angry?” and makes the point that Jonah is more concerned about a plant that brought him comfort for a short period of time, than he is about a group of living, breathing people who make him uncomfortable.

In that moment of my frustration, as I started to get angry, immediately the thought entered my mind, “Have you any right to be angry?” So things got a bit messy. That’s life, especially life with four children. This incident got me thinking about how discouraging it can be comparing my home, even the organized areas to those pictures in books and magazines and the beautiful “after” pictures on blogs. The reality is, these pictures are taken at the moment when that area is at the absolute best it can be. These “after” pictures are the writers and bloggers putting their “best foot forward.” And truthfully, that is what I do in my after pictures as well. So, today I thought I’d do something a bit different. I’m going to put my “real” foot forward and show you some After the “After” pictures — my organized spots when life is actually happening.

I’ll start with my kitchen counters.

  

The first picture is my “after” picture. The second is after the after. Unfortunately it currently houses my seedling trays because it is the spot with the best sun exposure. And that’s how it will stay for the next month or so until I can plant.

This was after I organized one of the kid’s toy areas.  Below is what it looked like this morning (before I sent them back in to clean up).

And now my command center area.

       

Clearly, I need to attend to my “to do” box. I’m putting it on my to-do list now.  I could show you more, but I think you get the general idea. Things can’t always look like the “after” picture. We have to do some living too. The benefit of organizing is that you create an ease with which you can get back to that “after” look. My kids can quickly get their toys back in order because of their labels. I can quickly go through my to-do box and my filing box (if I don’t let it grow too large), and on planting day I’ll have my counters back. So, there you have it, real, but sometimes not-so-organized order.

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About easygoingorganizer

I am wife to the world's nicest man, mother to four lively/intelligent/beautiful children, daughter to two incredible parents, sister to four amazing siblings, aunt to nine fun-loving nephews and two sweet nieces, friend, teacher turned homeschooler, runner and aspiring organizing maven. Most importantly, I am a woman of faith and unapologetically blend my faith and my God into all that I do because it is ". . . in Him we live and move and exist . . ." (Acts 17:28).

11 responses »

  1. I love this post! I think the same thing often, I’m writing a blog in organization when I feel a hell of a mess a lot! How ironic! I guess this is just life with kids… Can only clean so many times in a day before you say ok I’ll handle this tomorrow!

    Reply
  2. So your “after the after” pictures are still pretty clean and organized! Although the kids win – they made the best mess. I miss your kids.

    Reply
  3. Sadly the messes just don’t end. I’m waiting for my robot that cleans up behind us all! 🙂 Great post, I have been frustrated with messes lately.

    Reply
  4. You know what they say – the shoemaker’s son goes barefoot – ie the most organized people have the messiest houses! I’ve seen it happen. But, in reality, I admire how you even have the toy bins to begin with. Our stuff is just strewn every which way.

    Reply
  5. This is great, and very appreciated. I love the honesty- I’m going through the same challenge right now as you! My fiance isn’t keeping up with his stuff and you can only get so far on your own. But keep going- I think the overall improvement should be noted!

    Reply
    • Actually, my husband does a great job. I just often misplace my frustration. 🙂 I just have to accept that it never ends. There is always something more to do. Thanks for the encouraging words!

      Reply
  6. Pingback: Guest Room Round 2 « I Really Don't Need That

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