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Like moms across the world, I make the same New Year’s Resolutions every dang year. Eat healthier. Exercise more. Work on self-care. Read more books. And every. single. year . . . DECLUTTER THE HOUSE. Yet, somehow, February arrives, and soon after that, spring, and then before you know it school is wrapping up . . . and the year goes by and there is still stuff EVERYWHERE. School papers and Shopkins and tiny Star Wars figures and their even tinier light-sabers and special “treasures” my daughter insists on keeping that are actually garbage and receipts and reminders and bills and . . . 

WHERE DO I PUT IT ALL?!

Sorry I’m yelling. It’s just been like eight years of this and I’m drowning in Pinterest ideas that never come to fruition.

I visit friends with neat, organized houses and clean countertops. Do you know what your countertops actually look like? I think I remember mine . . . they were pretty. 

And I sit in their kitchens, looking around in amazement. Where is everything? Where are the grocery lists and Post-its and permission slips and “Can you bring in 10 apples next week” requests from the teacher? Where are your folded laundry piles? Where are your dirty laundry piles? 

I DON’T UNDERSTAND. 

Sorry, yelling again.

Also, all five people in my family have birthdays between November and March, nestled around Christmas. That’s right. Starting in November, we have one continuous train of toys, gifts, cards, wrapping paper, boxes, clothes, books, board games rolling into our house. I try (I really try!) to purge every October in anticipation of the onslaught, but it’s never enough.

And if your kids are anything like mine, they are willing to part with nothing. Random stuffed bunny with one ear that we won at the carnival three years ago? SPECIAL. Cardboard house for said bunny barely holding it together with Scotch tape? SPECIAL. Nothing can be thrown out or donated without bargaining, crocodile tears, or me waiting until they are in school and doing it without them knowing, breaking their hearts at 4:15 when they get off the bus.

Seriously, my cluttered house is not a result of laziness. I have Googled. I have pinned. I have perused Amazon for organizational baskets, folders, stations, and labels. I created a homework station for each child, including three separate marker boards/calendars/baskets for papers. And I STILL had school papers and projects and long-term assignments on my counters. There’s always a pile. Always.

Moms with clean counters—WHERE ARE YOUR PILES?!

And if you have a girl, you know. You know about Shopkins and Barbie accessories and tiny Hatchimals and millions of tiny things. So very tiny. And all so very important. Where you do put them all? In a giant migraine-inducing bin of randomness?

Oh, and I have LEGOs! Of course I do. Our LEGO storage system is another grandiose attempt at organization that has been overwhelmed. It started years ago when we had like five kits. Then we had 10. And we purchased more drawers. More bins. Now, with three LEGO-loving kids, we have approximately 82,000 LEGO kits. (I don’t know the actual number, but I think that’s a fair estimate.) 

On my kitchen counters at this very moment is a package to be mailed to my niece, a book to be returned to the library, three checks to deposit, a lightbulb to be replaced, a few dirty dishes, three reminder lists, and a pair of pants (boys, size 8). Why are there pants on my counter, you ask? I DON’T FLIPPING KNOW. 

I don’t how or why these items end up here half the time. I think it’s my family’s way of saying, “Here, Mom. This is something for you to deal with in some capacity. I am not really going to tell you what, because I think you’ll figure it out. Nor am I going to take care of it myself, because that’s just silliness. Love you lots.”

And I so do love my family. But I miss cleanliness and order. My first apartment (all 700-square-feet of it) was so clean. So tidy. Everything had a place. My four bath towels and five plates. All three coffee mugs and that one throw pillow. So pretty. Those were the days.

So we still have three birthdays left in this winter season, and then I am really going to get organized. Declutter. Pinterest. Google. Amazon. 2018 will be the year of a neat, orderly house. I’m doing it!

Come visit me in March and see if there are dirty socks on the kitchen table. I dare you! (Actually, don’t. Because we both know there will be.)

Sigh.

You will also like: Why Tired Mothers Stay Up So Late

On my kitchen counters at this very moment is a package to be mailed to my niece, a book to be returned to the library, three checks to deposit, a lightbulb to be replaced, a few dirty dishes, three reminder lists, and a pair of pants (boys, size 8). Why are there pants on my counter, you ask? I DON'T FLIPPING KNOW.

Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson is a freelance writer who is known on social media as The 21st Century SAHM. She is an assistant editor at Sammiches and Psych Meds, staff writer and social media manager for Scary Mommy, and is the author of I Brushed My Hair Today, A Mom Journal for Mostly Together Moms. Follow Karen on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/21stcenturysahm/, Twitter https://twitter.com/21stcenturysahm , and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/the21stcenturysahm/

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