kids organizing seminar went well but differently than I planned


Liz Jenkins


So I did my kids organizing seminar at the library yesterday. Really nice group of people showed up, including a bunch of my friends (nothing like pressure when your friends show up – kidding – it was great to have the moral support). It was interesting – I planned to talk about 2 aspects of organizing – the philosophical and the practical. I figured the practical would be of more interest and people would just tolerate the philosophical. It was not the other way around necessarily but most of the people that were there kind of knew the practical stuff – none of it is rocket science. Group like with like, put them in bins, label them, make them accessible to the kids, etc.

But what made a lot of people sit up and listen (and in one case, tears well up) was the part where I really shared my thoughts about how kids need to be responsible for their stuff, kids follow what their parents do and not what they say, and that they have TOO MUCH STUFF.

We ended up talking about this so much that I just about ran out of time for the practical stuff although everyone stayed (except my friends – what’s up with that?) another half hour to go over these things. Verbalizing the thoughts that many of these people had was very cathartic for them – the knowledge that it’s ok to let go of things, and that no one is perfect can be very freeing.

So for everyone: no one is perfect when it comes to organizing, not even me; kids only play with a small portion of their things and have no need to have a lot of anything because it is overwhelming, confusing and frustrating for them; you don’t have to save everything because, honestly, they will NOT want it when they grow up (the only things to save are the truly beloved); be selective and choosy when it comes to what you bring into your home and what you keep – and this goes for what you do with your time as well – nothing is more important than spending time with your family (as I sit here writing this and, well, not interacting with my family – see – not perfect); and my final point: monkey see, monkey do – this means walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk, because your kids aren’t listening – they are watching.