Sunday, January 02, 2011

Honing Those Organizational Skills

The holidays are over. It is time to get serious. It's time to get down to business. It's time to organize. My house. My life. My health. I decided to begin by tackling the clothes I am hoarding in my bedroom. I have nine large crates full of clothes for my children stashed in a closet in my bedroom. Prior to yesterday, I also had several piles stacked up in the corners of my room. Most of the clothes are hand-me-downs for Nicholas from his older brother and older cousin (some in sizes my little runt of the litter will not be wearing for many years to come), but quite a few of them are clothes I buy on clearance at the end of a season. I am a bargain fiend. I buy things a size larger than my children are wearing at unbelievably low prices and then store them until the following year. Everything in those crates has a price tag of $10 or less....most under $3 or $4. Neither my children nor I care if they are wearing last season's styles. For $3, I don't even care if they wear last decade's styles.

Buying in advance to snag a bargain is a great way to save money on clothes for your children, an expenditure that can add up quickly. However, it brings with it the cumbersome task of managing all of those clothes. Nine full crates is a lot of clothing. Historically, as I bought things, I would just stick them in whichever crate had room. Or, I would stack them in the corner of my bedroom with the intention of one day putting them in a crate. Those are the stacks that had begun to wear on my psyche...not to mention annoy Ruanita to no end. So I decided yesterday would be the day I would eliminate those stacks and get those crates of clothing in order. It was time to eradicate the clutter and free my mind from the weight of that "stuff".

I awoke with a purpose yesterday. It was a new year. A new week. A new me. I read my newspaper (well, the advertisements, anyway) and ate a healthy, energy-boosting breakfast consisting of a chocolate donut and a Diet Pepsi. I was then ready to face the beast. I was ready to take on the clutter and put it in its place. Sophie, being my eternal shadow and "helper" marched upstairs with me to attack those crates.

I began by first tackling the stacks. I neatly (somewhat) put the clothes into piles. Sophie's clothes for next summer...Lucas' clothes for next winter...clothes in sizes way too large for itsy bitsy Nicholas to wear until puberty rears its ugly head and bulks up his tiny frame. Sophie oohed and aahed over every article of clothing I pulled from the piles. I then started removing the crates from the closet, one by one. I quickly discovered, to Sophie's great delight, that she has a wardrobe for next summer to rival any European princess. She has cutesie skirts and tank tops and sandals and capris galore in every shade of pink and purple known to humankind. Looking at all of those clothes, I came to the unpleasant realization that it most certainly had to be bordering on sinful for one child to have that many clothes. In my defense, God, they were on sale....and you gave me the supernatural ability to sniff out a sale from a mile away. You must have intended me to use that gift, right?

I also quickly discovered that Nicholas has more clothing, almost all of it hand-me-downs, than any child could possibly wear in one season. My nephew Jonah, being an only child, has always had the most adorable clothing. Cute button-down shirts, colorful polos, nice clothes from expensive boutiques. And they are all in like-new condition due to my sister's stellar laundering skills (no, I did not inherit the stellar laundering gene). The problem is, however, that Nicholas will refuse to wear most of that clothing. Rather than being overjoyed by the abundance of beautiful FREE clothing Nicholas now has, I was saddened by the reality that he will likely never even try on most of those clothes. Nicholas shall I say this delicately...a bit of a freak when it comes to clothing. He will not wear shirts with collars. He will not wear shirts with buttons. He does not like shirts with tags. He will not wear pants with strings. He will not wear shoes with laces. This leaves us with undershirts and jogging pants (with the strings cut off). Yes, my youngest son is a fashion-forward little fellow. As a matter of fact, he looks eerily (and rather disturbingly) similar to Kevin Federline when left to dress himself.

Despite my melancholy over Nicholas' fashion sense and my need to seek absolution from God for my sin of excess where Sophie's clothes were concerned, I was able to organize all of the crates. Sophie helped. The boys, when they eventually pried themselves from the Wii and made their way upstairs, were of no help whatsoever. They hid in crates. They climbed on crates. They jumped from crates. They chased one another through my piles of clothes. They screamed and yelled and generally did everything imaginable to completely piss me off in the midst of my organizing. Ruanita, being the protective soul she is, tried to warn them. She tried to keep them out of my hair. I must say, they came extremely close to losing their lives...they almost became my sacrificial lambs to the organizational gods. However, with a great deal of discipline and self-control, I was able to finish my task and no one died. My crates of clothing are now organized by size and labeled accordingly. There is no longer even a single pile of "stuff" on my bedroom floor. I must say, organization feels good. When this summer rolls around, I will be able to head to the crates and easily pull out my children's new wardrobes. I am pretty sure a frenzy of ecstasy will ensue. Yep...these are the things that do it for me these days.

I do have one question, however. Why is it that I own exactly two pairs of blue jeans and my children have more clothes than the entirety of Britain's royal family?


Velya Jancz-Urban said...

Your section about Nicholas and his clothing idiosyncrasies reminded me of our, now 20 year-old son, who refused to wear shirts with collars and called them "date shirts." Where do they get this stuff?!

Shannon Ralph said...

Date shirts? That's funny. Nicholas has been picky about his clothes since he first learned to talk. He was this teeny tiny little thing who could barely walk saying "Me no like" when I would try to dress him. Kids! :)

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