THIS is it. The year I will get my house in order. Declutter. Organize. Finally hang pictures on the walls in my bedroom. Make the kids help more. Have a better laundry sorting system. Have a cleaning schedule. Enforce a “we make our beds” rule. Don’t wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes. Consign all old clothes and toys.

Wow. I’m exhausted just from writing that list. Because we all know how this is going to go. Why, despite my strong resolve year after year, it never happens. Tell me if this story sounds familiar…

8:00 a.m.: I’m going to start project declutter today! Hmmm where shall I begin? Well, you know what? I might as well throw in a load of laundry first thing. Oh crap. My laundry room is overflowing with piles. And school papers. And snow boots. And lunch boxes. I will start here. After I get a load going. Let me just run upstairs and grab all the dirty clothes from the bedrooms. (Note to self: Make kids bring their dirty laundry downstairs more often. Put it on the “chore chart” I’ll create later. With bright colors and poster board! Need to run to CVS. I should fill that prescription while I’m there…)

Mommy! Get back on track! You’re getting distracted. Get your head in the game. Round up the laundry and let’s get this party started.

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Holy @#%& look at my son’s closet. Half of his clean clothes are on the floor. Let me just hang these up quickly. Wow. Most of these shirts are too small. Might as well sort through everything in here and pull out stuff for consignment / donations. And, it makes sense to just do his dresser too. Ew. What IS all over his dresser? Oh great a Twix bar wrapper and Cheeto crumbs. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I SAID NO FOOD IN YOUR ROOMS? Ugh. I’ll just run a vacuum and dust rag real fast. 

Of course the vacuum is full. Let me just empty it out and then I’ll really get going. Obviously the kitchen garbage is overflowing (because why would ANYONE OTHER THAN ME ever empty it?) Okay. Just need to empty garbage, put a new bag in, empty the vacuum canister, vacuum my son’s room, finish sorting his closet and dresser, bring down his dirty clothes, bring down all of the other dirty clothes, start a load of laundry, and THEN I’ll really start the decluttering of that disastrous laundry room.

Are you serious. We are OUT OF GARBAGE BAGS?! Okay. Write it down on the grocery list. Oh! We are also low on shampoo and hand soap for the bathrooms. Write those down too. And cheese. And bread. Speaking of groceries, what am I making for dinner? Let me look quickly and see what we have to work with.Wow. This fridge needs a good clean out. Next on the list once the laundry room is organized: CLEAN OUT FRIDGE. 

Okay we have pot roast and potatoes, at least. I can get something started in the crockpot. Ugh. The kids will hate it. (Note to self: Research kid friendly crockpot meals.) Where can I plug it in? The counters are covered with markers and drawings and bills and dishes and notebooks and tax stuff I need to deal with and that one mitten we can’t find the match to. Need to quickly clean off the counters to make room for the crockpot. But where can I put all of this crap? Certainly not the laundry room. I’ll just make one giant pile over here and work on this next. 

For now, get dinner going, then empty the vacuum in the last overflowing garbage bag, tie it up, and take it to the garage. Man is our garage a hot mess. I saw on Pinterest the other day some amazing garage shelving. And bike racks. Let me find that pin so I can text it to my husband… Oh look, I missed a text. It’s a reminder about the kids’ dentist appointments next week. Man, I need to make them floss more. Praying for no cavities. And an email from one of the kid’s teachers. 100 day celebration is coming up and he needs to glue 100 things to poster board. Better add that to the CVS list. And they need to start on their Valentines Day boxes. (Note to self: Make sure they start SOON so we aren’t doing them the night before! And FLOSS every day this week! We will it to that “get ready for school” chart we are going to make after the “chore chart.”) 

So where was I? Oh, right. Take out the garbage. When did the light burn out in the garage? I can barely see a thing in here. I think we have a back up bulb in the laundry room… 

5 years later: Back in the laundry room, staring at piles.

And that’s the story of me never actually organizing and decluttering my house.

Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson is a free-lance writer who blogs at The 21st Century SAHM http://www.the21stcenturysahm.com/ —a cathartic mix of sarcasm, angry Mama Bear rants, and confessions about how she's probably screwing up her kids. She is also assistant editor at Sammiches and Psych Meds and has had work featured on Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, What the Flicka, and Bon Bon Break, among others. Karen is also a contributing writer in Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!) and in What Does It Mean to Be White in America? and she writes monthly for KC Parent magazine. Follow Karen on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/21stcenturysahm/, Twitter https://twitter.com/21stcenturysahm , and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/the21stcenturysahm/