Dear Oliver and Leo,

 I hope you are having a wonderful day at camp.

I am writing to explain to you some changes we are going to be making around our house.

Arriving home today I found toys in the driveway, shoes, bathing suits and crackers in the front hall, art supplies, dishes, toys, shoes, clothes and sports equipment in the kitchen, snacks, toys, wii remotes, open cabinets, clothes in the family room, pjs, and toys in the living room, bedding, clothes, toys and bathing suits in our bedroom, moldy lunchboxes, shoes and backpacks on the floor of the mudroom, back packs, sports equipment and toys near the desk. On the stairs going up I found a sleeping bag toys nad dirty laundry, in the hall there were toys and clean laundry and dirty laundry, in your bedroom (which is your business) I found my iPad. I don’t know what is in the playroom because I could not open the door.

Dada and I have made it too hard for you to take good care of your things. We have given you too many toys and clothes and snacks. If you had fewer things it would be easy to put them away, and find them again when you need them.
Here is the new plan. We are hitting the re-set button. I am sorry I gave you way too many things to keep track of. It is simply too much.
You have tonight to put away everything you want to keep and feel you can take good care of.
Taking good care of things means keeping them where they belong.
  • Wii remotes belong in the closed wii cabinet
  • Books belong on the bookshelf
  • Clean laundry belongs in the dresser and closet
  • Dirty laundry belongs in the laundry basket or washing machine
  • Bedding belongs on the bed
  • Sports equipment, coats and shoes belong in the mudroom behind mudroom doors
  • School work belongs in the red basket or wicker basket
  • Art supplies belong in the closed art cabinet
  • Snack boxes belong in the pantry
  • Dishes belong in the dishwasher
  • Completed art work belongs in the playroom
  • Toys belong in the playroom or in their containers in my work room
Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, I will either throw away (the moldy lunchbox) or bag up (everything else) and store everything that is not in its home. For this week stuff that is out of its place I will throw away (if it is garbage) and or store. We are learning what things are easy for you to take care of and what things are not. Once we have that information we can begin one at a time bringing toys, shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, iPads, etc back into our lives.
Then we will get back on track with our evening contributions and our team work tidying. However for this one week it will be up to you boys alone to show us which of your things you can handle and which things are too much.
We are lucky to have so many things, but right now we are drowning in them. Lets take control together.
This is not forever, and I am not angry.
Love
Mama.
Hey dear readers…want to feel better about your house? Here is a picture of the boys “playroom” which they have never been required to clean. I wrestled open the door just for your relative contentment. Also, if you haven’t been to our house… this is the only room that looks like that. The rest is much much closer to the place a sane (ish) family might live.  Also I’ve written about the mess before…and come to a different conclusion.  Imagine that?
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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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