Monday, March 5, 2012

An Ode to the Importance of Routines

I am currently in Utah…in Spanish Fork to be specific. I have come here to deliver my 20 year old son to the Missionary Training Center. We’ve had this planned for a few months. What we did not have planned was that while we were here, my son-in-law is having open-heart surgery to repair a prolapsed mitral valve in his heart. It was unexpected like most of these things are. He’s a young dad with five children under seven…hard. My daughter isn’t just stressing about him and all the inherent dangers of his health, but she’s stressing about all of the little things. The house that isn’t together, the children’s school…and yes, the laundry. I can help while I’m here but she has a while before things will get back to a certain normal. This has made me remember how I felt stressed by the lack of routine that happened when my husband was fighting his leukemia. In some ways it was harder than the illness because I couldn’t figure out when it was okay to relax. The work was never under control. I spent so much time at the hospital and very little time at home. When I finally started to put my life together after his death, I didn’t know what to begin with. I decided to start with routines: Monday…pick up the house, vacuum, dust. Tuesday, laundry, Wednesday deep clean one room…you get the idea. There was comfort in the routines. I couldn’t control the world, I didn’t know what I was going to do with the rest of my life, but I could start with my routines. It gave me a sense of comfort that I needed at the time. And so it is with the rest of us. While things aren’t in crisis mode, figure out a good routine for yourself. Start with organizing the most frustrating part of your house. For some it’s the entryway, others the laundry room. For me, the kitchen has to be right to feel like the house is running properly. Then go from there. Find a system that works for you. Think hard about it, make a plan and work a little at a time until it’s done. Come up with a menu plan. Plan your work, work your plan…an old saying but definitely one that works. In spite of the best of plans there are going to be times when everything falls apart: Family emergencies, a project that gets handed to you unexpectedly, helping a friend during a tough time. Even though we all want a perfect house with everything in order that isn't going to be possible. But, if you have routines…and you have previously taken the time to determine a place for everything, it will be amazing how soon things will get back to normal and you’ll feel like a little control has returned to your corner of the world…until the next crisis happens anyway. Happy Organizing.