Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mama versus entropy

Ok, I'll admit it: I am a neat freak.  I like feeling organized: everything in its place, easily found when needed.  I’ve already hinted at my shoe collection system; but also the front closet, kitchen…even our basement is organized, with shelves and bins of storage filled with household supplies, tools, memorabilia, and…costumes (who knows when you might need a cowboy hat, disco outfit or an afro wig).  We are exemplars of city living, so we’re constantly purging unneeded and outdated items—the monthly big brother big sister (BBBS) donation truck is our dear friend. 

Major waves of reorganization to date: downsizing from two apartments to one, moving from a rental apartment to our cozy condo, and of course, reorganizing around the births of the dude and little miss.  With the dude, we had to conceptualize the idea of “child-proofing,” which ultimately meant bye bye glass tables and shelves.  Making room for little miss necessitated some serious creativity to turn an office into a bedroom, but after nine months of nesting, both kids have their own bedrooms, and we created two additional “rooms” to boot.  A nook behind the front stairs became a library with a custom-made floor-to-ceiling bookcase, and a back-door stairs landing became my home office…complete with a desk with built-in file cabinet and printer, and even its own entrance, window, and bathroom (I could hold meetings in there! Well, almost…). Much of our excess furniture made it into my sister’s apartment.  A lot of other things went the way of BBBS.

Still, with two small children in a city condo, there’s always a new organizational challenge looming.  There is the day-to-day clean-up of toys and books strewn around the house, the mountain of outgrown clothes, the pile of new toys to make room for around birthdays and holidays.   I remember being overwhelmed by the generosity of friends giving me all sorts of kids stuff when the dude was born.  Now the tables are turned, and I realize those giveaways were a means of survival...lest we drown in our own baby gear. Over the last year as little miss has grown out of the baby stage, I am desperate to find homes for all that outgrown bulky stuff--bouncy seat, high chair, push toys etc--to expectant friends, and do so every chance I can get. 

Just last weekend, we entered a new frontier: we splurged on elfa shelving for the kids’ bedrooms.  We liked the idea of creating storage spaces with room to grow, and the ability to change the configuration later on.   I went a month ago to the container store, measurements in hand, and came away with dreams of closets in my head.  We waited for the 25% off Labor Day sale until we pounced. The installation guy came by last Sunday and outfitted both closets with brand new shelving systems.  For little miss, it was no biggie: she hasn’t accumulated that much stuff of childhood yet—so the shelves are still largely empty—but one big bonus was a clothing rod at her level to hang her clothes—now able to reach her outfits to dress-up, she has been tickled pink all week.

For the dude, I wanted a parking garage for his collection of construction trucks.  And we did it.

Get a load of these pictures:

Before (notice the shim-sham attempt at organization here--
btw, that bookshelf went to little miss' room for all her books, much to her sheer delight)
Did I mention that I had to clean out both closets?
I did work up a sweat....

Toy purgatory. The dude was amazed when he saw this.
After: ahhhhhh. Notice the extra storage space above.

Our latest reorganization challenge: one point to mama, zero to entropy.

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