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Organization is not so important 

By MIMI BECKER

Coffee with Mimi

Being organized takes discipline and patience and the dividends of being so are apparent. Organization is beneficial for a variety of reasons.  

There is a sense of personal accomplishment when an object can be found just where it is supposed to be. There is also a significant contribution to individual mental health when a search results in a successfully found object.  Valuable time is saved when not spent rummaging through closets and boxes for a particular item needed for a project.

 If all this is true, why is it so difficult to be organized? Why is it frequently impossible to get, and stay, organized?  Oh, let me count the ways.

I can be disorganized all on my own. To start with, organizing must be thought about and allowed for  from the get go. Will anyone remind me to return the wrapping paper to the proper storage bin immediately after the gift wrapping marathon is completed? Of course not. The result of that lack of personal discipline to actually be organized after last Christmas/birthday/anniversary is that I must rush out and buy tissue paper one hour before I am due at the event requiring a wrapped gift.  

Purchasing holiday/event themed paper at the end or out of the season should be a thrifty and economical practice. Should be, but isn’t, because the sale items are stowed in the closest closet or drawer, out of the way and subsequently forgotten. This after- holiday sale, or anticipation shopping and purchasing, tactic applies to any number of opportunities. One year, in anticipation of the birth of a child due just about the time the Easter bunny would be hopping along, I purchased some very special candy from a fundraising neighborhood kid. Thinking I was so clever, prepared and organized, I stowed the boxes in the dining room china cabinet under some linens.

The child was in fact born just after Easter.  I was not of a mind to lay in a supply of fake grass and clever toys. Her grandparents stepped in and had helpfully assisted the Easter bunny. The two older children were happily gifted with colorful baskets filled to the brim with little toys and candy.

One year later, when packing to move, the china cabinet drawers were emptied. There, safely hidden away from candy-loving children, nestled in layers of tablecloths and napkins, were the unopened boxes of specialty chocolates.  We didn’t use them for Easter the second year either, necessitating another chocolate purchasing expense.

 Lest you think I take full responsibility for the task of family organization, let me assure you, I do not. Organization is a participation sport. Unfortunately, all persons living in a household are not on the same team. Individuality and creativity are very important characteristics to nurture in a child. Individuality and creativity are frequently contradictory to the efficient and organized operation of a household.

 Our family members like to cook. When we are all together, there will be multiple persons working at getting a meal on the table. I try to stay ahead of the chaos by managing the equipment. I do this not out of a sense of control, but so I can find things when the family members have gone home. I am not entirely successful.

When we were in the house shopping phase of our last move, our real estate agent was brilliant. Our first home was charming and had plenty of living space for our family. The only detail lacking was a decent sized kitchen. We operated in a space the size of a postage stamp with about three  linear feet of cabinets and countertops. Our goal in our search for a new house was a kitchen which accommodated more than one adult at a time and could seat our small children in the room, too.

The real estate agent, when showing us the property for the first time, took us into the house through the back door directly into an enormous kitchen; we were convinced. We could easily seat everyone at the table and even had room for a sitting area. I could cook and clean up efficiently while keeping an eye on the children. I barely noticed that we had not much more counter and cabinet space than our first house. Everything was within my reach and line of sight.

How times have changed. Two parents, three adult children, two in-laws and a grandchild are all crammed into that same kitchen at varying times. Wonderful meals are prepared. Pots, pans and utensils are dug out and flung everywhere. I know where every item needed is stored. I fetch it or guide the cooks to reach it. Assorted persons help clean up.

Everyone has gone home. I still cannot find our digital scale. I did locate the cutting boards across the room. I have no idea where the silver gravy ladle is hiding. The spice jars are mixed in with other ingredients. Baking sheets have disappeared from the oven drawer. I found the digital meat thermometer when I wasn’t looking for it.  

Organization is a work in progress, but not at the expense of fun.