Tuesday, October 20, 2009

keepin' it real - coat closet disaster

It's been a while since I did one of my "Keeping it Real" posts, so as I looked at the wreck that we call a coat closet today, I thought it might be time for another!

First of all, you must know the facts. Our coat closet is
  1. very small
  2. the only one we have in the house
Needless to say, coats for every season for all 6 of us quickly fills this tiny space. What makes it so much worse is the fact that from the time we moved here, all the kids (except Kate) were too small to actually reach the hangers to hang their coats. Hence, they all got 'tossed' in the bottom of the closet. Then, even though children grew, habits were formed, and boy they do die hard! Today I just couldn't take it any more, and decided this really needed to be addressed. So I pulled everything out of the closet and basically started from scratch. I went through every coat, mitten, scarf and umbrella. I threw a load of coats that still fit in the laundry, and made a pile of those that didn't. (The clean ones are now nicely hanging and smelling all fresh and ready for anothe season of wear.) I took a few coats that are very nice but no longer fit anyone here, photographed them and listed them on craigslist. I paired up all mittens and gloves, and found a little bin for them, plus hats, scarves and fleece pullovers. That went up on the shelf, next to the small pile of tablecloths that have nowhere else to live (we have one small linen closet as well, and that's full-up!!). It left a beautiful space on the bottom for all the backpacks to line up quite nicely...I had been wondering where a good 'permanent' home for them could be (they've been getting tossed in the corner by the couch...but no more!!). The kids were actually quite excited about what I did, and now each one can have one of the four hooks just inside the door of their own for whatever coat the current season calls for. Hopefully this will eliminate the frantic "where's my coat?!?!" scenario as children scramble out the door for the bus in the morning. Not that this happens around our house or anything... Oh, wait...this is a "Keeping It Real" post...so, yeah, it does. Just this morning Kate almost missed the bus looking for her coat of choice. But not so tomorrow my friends!! Each coat is neatly in its place. Here's the before and after of my "Coat Closet Reality".



Holly said...

You go girl! I would also like to ask you... when you're children are all home... is it total chaos? And if it is or was and you learned how to deal with that... I need help!!!! I only have 2 and it's sometimes more than I can stand. HELP ME COUSIN OF MINE who has many wonderful children!!

zz said...

Kudoes on the organziation. That took a lot of work, but I know how good it feels. You've inspired me. Our coat closet is exactly the size of yours and we have 6 ppl sharing it. A mess, usually.

Jessi said...

Hmmm...is my house total chaos? Good question, Hol! Honestly, sometimes yes, but not ALL the time. Now, keep in mind, my YOUNGEST is the same age as your OLDEST, and the olders are able to help with the youngers, so that helps. But yes, we do have tons of fighting (occasionally even physical!), bickering, taunting and sometimes all out yelling. It's a constant process or working on attitudes and bad behaviors, but it helps when I think of it in terms of...this is my 'job' and I need to give it the energy and attention that I did to running an office (back in the day!)! And I've also found (and this is obviously more effective the older they get) that when I can explain the WHYS of our rules and expectations, they become more impactful, and a bit easier for the kids to 'swallow'. I try to catch myself when I am saying no or freaking out about something just because I don't "feel" like dealing with it. I ask myself..."is there a reason I am saying no/expecting them to behave this way/etc., or am I just being lazy or cranky?". Quite often I find there's no real "reason" behind what I'm saying, so I try to readjust myself. I think the other key is CONSISTENCY...and probably the single biggest struggle for me. It takes so much more energy to actually go and tend to a situation or bring correction to a behavior than to just yell from wherever I am! But when I actually do it, I find it brings BIG payoff. (Todd is much better about this. He is ALWAYS saying to me "Don't fight with them! Just put out the consequence and then carry through...NO DISCUSSION!" I'm not very good at that, but I'm working on it.) I don't know if this is answering your question at all or not. If you have any specific questions or scenarios, I'd be more than happy to tell you what my experience has been. Sad to say, some of it really is just waiting for them to grow out of some things...and it stinks while you're in it, but glorious on the other side if you hang in there!! As frustrated as my kids make me sometimes, I think I'm getting to 'discipline' them a lot less and 'enjoy' them a lot more!

Now, if you're asking about actual household 'mess' type chaos...yeah, that's an ongoing battle!! Though, I think their toys are getting fewer...but larger and more expensive!...the older they get!

Sorry...wasn't exactly sure which angle to take in addressing your frustration! But I'm happy to chat any time!!

(Oh, and thanks for thinking my kids are wonderful!!) :)

HUGS, Girl!!!

Holly said...

Yes Jess - I was asking about the constant fighting and in general NOT GETTNG along. It seems like I cannot turn around for one minute without them falling apart!! It usually leads to me being totally frustrated and feeling like I am yelling at them!! By the end of most days I'm exhausted! And I hate feeling like I'm not being effective as a mom. Teaching a whole classroom full of 5 year olds was - at times - easier than an almost 5 year old and an almost 2 year old!!! I do love being at home, but feeling very uneffective lately!
It's good to know that hopefully this will get better as they age!
Thanks again so much! I'll come with a sepcific example next time! I have lots of them! :-)