When it comes to tidying, we are all self-taught.1
I'm reading a new book I picked up at a bookstore last week -- an actual hardback book from a real brick and mortar store. It's called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Apparently, it's pretty popular, but I'd never heard of it, except in side comments from Flylady outlets about some unnamed, rival fad. I picked up the book because of the intriguing title, and I enjoyed the first few pages I read in the store. I don't know if it will change my life or have any magical properties, but I do expect it to be a pleasant read.
I've only just begun the first chapter -- for the second time, actually -- so this is not a review of the author or her method. There was one sentence that struck me both times I've read it that I wanted to take a minute to write out here. "Think back to your own childhood... How many of our parents consciously taught us how to tidy?"2 I immediately realized how true this is of our home. The children's bedroom dressers, particularly, come to mind. I regularly check their drawers, but daily, the dressers are the kids' responsibilities. I fold all of the clothes, and then send the folded clothes upstairs with their rightful owner who puts them away. Often, these neat piles I give them end up squished and dropped and shoved into the drawers, essentially nullifying my work of folding and sorting. I bark and complain at them about their messy drawers, but I don't think it ever occurred to me before reading this book that I have never actually taught my children how to put their clothes away properly. I've never really demonstrated how you might go about removing, say, the third shirt from the top without ruining the entire pile of shirts. I've never really explained what they should do when their drawers are overfull.
I don't know if my parents taught us these types of things or not. I can remember my poor mother trying to teach us how to keep our rooms neat, but it didn't work well. I can't say I'm doing much better.
Now, I must say I am not about to take on more blame than I ought -- more likely, I won't take on enough. Children are selfish and lazy. They generally have no problem waiting for Mom to come around and straighten up messes they could have handled themselves. The reason my children's clothes are often messy is not entirely because they don't know how to put their clean clothes in a drawer. It's also because they rush through doing things and have no regard for the time I spent carefully folding their laundry.
I bark and complain at them about their messy drawers, but I don't think it ever occurred to me before reading this book that I have never actually taught my children how to put their clothes away properly.
Still, it's obvious to me now that they don't have all the tools they need to help me. Without emotional stability there is little I could do about that, and that's fine.
Stability changes everything.
*Featured image by geralt via pixabay