I LOVE organization. I love folders... highlighters... color-coding... labeling... all of it. Being organized makes me feel in control of the crazy, uncontrollable life as a mom of three kids with a husband who travels for work.
I realize it is a control issue and no matter how hard I try to control the chaos, I'll never be as "together" as I once was when I only had to organize myself. These days, I have five sleep schedules, school schedules, work schedules, eating schedules, laundry schedules... etc. to coordinate. It is exhausting.
A few things I've implemented to keep me from being completely scatter-brained as a mom of three:
1. Laundry. I get overwhelmed when laundry piles up. I don't mind doing it (thank God for the invention of electric washers and dryers!), it is the folding and putting away that I put off. My girls are now 11 and 7 and one of their chores each week is to put their own laundry away. I fold it and organize, but they are in charge of putting it in their closets and drawers. This sometimes makes for messy drawers and wrinkled clothes, but I try not to fix it for them. This is an important skill for them to learn on their own. I also assign days of the week to everyone in the family. Some of my friends call me crazy, but it keeps me sane. If I only have one person's laundry to do each day, I get it in, out and put away in a day and I never feel overwhelmed with 'laundry day'. I also leave the laundry room empty all weekend for my husband to do his own laundry.
2. Schedules. Calendars are my best friends. I keep an online calendar with all of our kids' schedules and events, but I just can't give up my paper agenda. I love the feeling of crossing items off my to-do list so much that sometimes I write down things I've done just to cross them off. I know, call me crazy.
3. Family Meeting. A few months ago I had a little breakdown about how overwhelmed I felt. It was one of those times when I felt like I was dropping all the balls I was juggling. I asked everyone to take 20 minutes each Sunday to sit down in a family meeting. We discuss the week ahead, compare schedules, discuss plans and air grievances. It has helped tremendously! I help the kids put things in their own agendas so I'm not in charge of everyone's assignments, events, etc. and they are learning to become more responsible on their own.
So.... I got a new keychain as a gift for Christmas. (I realize this sounds unrelated, but bear with me....) It was a cute monogrammed keychain with a little photo of my family on it. I decided I wanted to try it out and switch my KEYPER out for it. The KEYPER is the keychain bracelet I've carried on my keys for the last ten years. I love it because it slips on and off my wrist and I can always find it in my big bag because it is bigger than a normal keychain, plus I usually clip it onto my bag handle for accessibility.
Well when I got a new keychain, I thought I needed a change. Just something to change things up in the new year. I switched my keys to it and promptly put them in my bag for a road trip. There were gas station stops, food stops, endless potty breaks and stops to walk the dog while the five of us traipsed through the mountains to visit the kids' grandma and grandpa. My husband had the keys, I had the keys, they were on the floor of the car under a seat, they were in my bag, his pocket, the kids' face for entertainment. And then... they were gone.
Our minivan is the kind where the keys just have to be nearby for the start button to turn the car on, so you never really know where the keys are... except that they are in the car and the car is running. It turns out, my husband brought his set of keys to the van as well so by the time we realized the keys were no longer in my bag when we arrived at my in-laws' house, we thought they must be in one of our bags. Five days passed and no keys were ever found. Gone was my cute keychain and more importantly, gone were my house keys, car keys, keys to my mom's house, etc.
All I could think of was how this never would have happened if I had kept my KEYPER keychain attached. We never lost the keys when they were on that simple strap. It was too large to lose and too easy to find. It was either around my wrist, on my bag handle or easy to grab anywhere else. It is impossible to fall off my wrist or out of a bag or pocket without noticing. But without it, I lost my keys for the first time in ten years within five days.
I'll let you know if they ever turn up. We drove home with my husband's keys safely in my IT BAG, where I keep all things for safe-keeping inside my big travel bag. The KEYPER strap was attached to the handle, but minus the keys.
I know it is just a keychain, but it is more than any keyring bracelet I've known... it is a sense of security. It is a small way I can feel like I #keypittogether in everyday life. When everything else seems chaotic, at least my KEYPER helps me feel a little more together.
I've learned my lesson. My next set of keys is never leaving my KEYPER ring!
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