Can there be order amidst the chaos?

Good Monday Morning Kittens –

Here it is early January, a new year, a new week, frankly the first full week back to work for me in like three weeks. I’m dreading it. Aside from diets and exercise, the other topic most heavily covered in the news (also setting aside the primaries) is ORGANIZATION. Everyone loves to slim down, tone up and get organized in a new year. Indeed. At least on the Today Show they do. But what about real life?

Well, I don’t know about you, but of all the areas of my home that need organization and structure, I will go out on a limb and say that my daughter’s playroom tops that list.

Maybe you are different than me, maybe you have some kind of highly organized, structured, focused toddler, but in my reality, playrooms never look like this:

http://www.potterybarnkids.com/room/rom/romply/romplycbs/index.cfm

Or this:

http://www.potterybarnkids.com/room/rom/romply/romplycam/index.cfm

Or this:

http://www.landofnod.com/family.aspx?c=149&f=2649&pc=9

In fact, the playroom more closely resembles the disaster zone similar to the playroom pics on this person’s blog (scroll down a bit under the Messy Room entry to see):

http://jsvh.blogspot.com/2006/11/messy-rooms.html

So what is a gal to do?

First of all, we built a separate room with a door so that our darling cherub could have a place for her toys and her chaos and her mess…and we could just close the door at night and not have to look at it. It was well worth the money.

But even so, I still spend a lot of time in the room and there are times it drives me up a wall. I try to bring order to the chaos. I have really great baskets with pretty liners (that get pulled out and tossed around the room..along with all the contents of said basket… when my daughter decides its time to sit inside the basket and play). I try to organize the baskets. Balls, cars, other shaped items in here, dolls and little people in here, books in here.

Indeed.

That lasts about as long as she is napping.

And then I wonder to myself, what kind of “organization system” actually works the best. Baskets provide easy access for the toddler set but their contents are quickly emptied and dispersed around the room. Bookshelves can come tumbling down quite easily. Yeah yeah, I know you can anchor a bookshelf to a wall but still, the contents are going to come tumbling down quickly and it’s never going to look organized or neat.

So is it better to have the toys “organized” on a few bookshelves or “organized” in baskets dispersed around the room? Or is there another way? Anyone?

I mean, is it me, or is it just the Pottery Barn Kids or Land of Nod catalog that has beautiful organization systems with themed baskets all neatly organized and labeled? Does someone out there live like this? I mean, I get really tempted to just start dropping money and buying all these baskets and wardrobes and dressers and bookshelves in all the neatly matching colors and zen like state each time a new catalog arrives on my doorstep.

I settle down into the couch on those nights, pouring over the catalogs, analyzing the organization system, assessing the costs, laying out the new system in my mind – visually – in the playroom. Then I go to sleep and wake up to my daughter the next morning and face the reality of how that beautiful, trendy, coordinated system would actually look.

And so I ask you this – fellow moms with toddlers and playrooms – how do you do it? Do you have a room that looks like Pottery Barn?

If so, who are you?

And how do you do it?

And how long does it last for?

And don’t lie about it.

Surely Oprah’s got a guy who can solve all my lack of playroom organization and structure problems.

Afterall, I’m great in 2008…so long as you don’t come for a playdate and see how I actually live….

One Response to Can there be order amidst the chaos?
  1. Kitchen Witch
    January 7, 2008 | 5:32 pm

    Pottery Barn is sent by the devil to make us all feel bad. And I don’t even have the excuse of children. I am just a mess. Period. So for new years, my resolution is to embrace my clutter and recognize I will never own a home like the ones in the magazine. Instead of organizing, I’ll go make a bag or sew a quilt, or make a film. The house will be clean, just not organized. And I’m going to learn to be ok with that. And I’ll also stop reading pottery barn magazines. and perhaps hire a cleaning person…

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