I’m sure you have heard of the best-selling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. In fact, I’ve mentioned it on this blog before. I love clean, uncluttered spaces. I enjoy organization and order. Marie Kondo suggests to sort by category (like books or clothes), that you pile them all in one place, and only keep the things that spark joy. This, Kondo asserts, will mean you only need to tidy once, ever. Sound too good to be true? I wouldn’t know. I live with 10 other people and could never actually do this.
In fact, there is a direct correlation between the book and The Magic of Having and Empty House During the Day. Marie Kondo insists you tidy in this order: Clothes, Books, Papers, and then Komono (miscellaneous). Apparently this single gal from Japan didn’t have a kitchen, because that isn’t even a category in her book. What the heck, right?
Wheel I could never follow her method exactly (though judging from my kids’ rooms, they’re trying. Last time I ventured in they had everything pile on the floor…that’s step one, right?) I’ve found a different type of life changing magic…it’s called sending your kids to school.
You all know I love homeschooling. I think homeschooling is the bomb. I was sad when our homeschooling came to an end earlier this year. The school days are long and I miss my kids. But you know what? I am actually getting stuff done. You know, Getting Stuff Done, that state that seems purely mythical once you begin to reproduce and fill your house with the pitter-patter of toys being thrown on the floor.
Here is what I have discovered during The Life Changing Magic of Sending Your Kids to School:
1. Dishes magically stay clean.
My routine is to wash the breakfast dishes and clean the kitchen as soon as the Big Yellow Bus pulls away. Turns out, my kitchen magically stays clean. All. Day. Long!
2. There really is a laundry fairy.
True, the laundry fairy is me, but at least now I am available to finish the job. My laundry baskets (for 11 people) are empty on a regular basis now. I can do my usual 4-5 loads of laundry per day, and fold them. I sort them into these baskets and the children put their laundry away when they get home from school. This is so astonishing, in fact, that the kids are commenting on it. Jubilee said at dinner recently, “I put this shirt in the laundry basket this morning, and when I got home it was clean and folded!“. There you go, friends, that’s magic right there.
3. Bills get paid and paperwork gets filed away.
While I’d love to get on board with Marie Kondo and throw all of our paperwork away, that doesn’t seem prudent. I run a business, Chuck had a business for several years and I have a medically complex child (his records alone are about 18 inches of paper). I have taken her advice and gotten rid of manuals, etc, that can be found on-line. You know what else? With a quiet house and lack of peanut butter covered hands and poop-polisions, I can actually pay those bills and file the paperwork properly. That’s a win right there!
4. My kids are getting an education, even when I’m busy.
My busy isn’t Normal People busy. I have three kids in the house right now with special needs that time up a lot of time, require a lot of doctor’s visits and cause a whole lot of drama. Before sending the kids to school, a trip to Seattle meant a missed school day. Doctor’s appointments meant missed school work, a messy house and a frazzled mom. Now, I work hard to schedule appointments and get my computer work done while my kids are in school. It is a beautiful thing, my friends.
If you don’t have the Life Changing Magic of Sending Your Kids to School, you might want to read another favorite book of mine, Sidetracked Home Executives. The authors (two moms who happen to be sisters) are hilariously funny! Not only will you laugh your head off, but you may also pick up a few helpful tips. These sisters wrote the book while their houses were messy, cluttered and full of young children. Years later, they reflected back and commented about how much easier is was to keep house once their children got older. It seems to be a fact of life, friends, it’s hard to keep a lovely, tidy home when it is full of sweet little babies.
So there you have it. Need some life-changing magic? If your house is full of young children, it may just take a while to achieve it. But at least now you have another fun book to read while you wait for the kids to grow up.