On Organization

It’s no secret that I love for things to be organized. Now, there are areas of our home that are not, and that’s primarily because I haven’t invested the time or money to get them that way, not because I don’t truly want them to be organized. Yes, it’s a tad OCD, but I have it under control, no worries.


For whatever reason, God has blessed with me with a son who does not share my love for things being organized. Maybe it’s to teach me a lesson, I don’t know. Or maybe he was switched at birth (unlikely, since he had a large hematoma on his head from delivery, and I checked as we left the hospital that I had the kid with the giant red bruise on his head).

But it’s kind of driving me crazy.

Take this morning, for instance.

(Names will be changed to protect the not-so-innocent. We’ll call this kid John.)

John forgot last night to do his daily reading homework. On the 6th day of school, but who’s counting…we’re definitely still in getting-back-into-the-swing-of-things mode, so it was no big deal. He asked me to wake him a little early to get it done this morning.

I woke him at 6:10 (ouch), and he suddenly couldn’t find his book. That he’d brought home from the library 2 days prior. Areyoukiddingme? We searched all of the usual spots and couldn’t find it. Exasperated, I told him that a) if the book didn’t turn up, he’d be buying a new one for the library and b) to plan on spending a good deal of time this afternoon looking for it, since I knew for certain it was in this house. I reminded him that we’d specifically created a spot for bookbags, library books and the like near the door, and that was where everything was supposed to be.

I couldn’t get that stupid missing book off my mind, so I looked and I looked. I took a break and did some food prep (I like to do that in the morning if I can), and still couldn’t stop thinking about it, and looked some more. And then for some reason, I thought to check the upstairs bathroom stepstool, still in place for Jack Henry, because it has a hiding spot in it.

And wouldn’t you know it? The book was in there. Likely being read when John headed into the bathroom the morning before to get ready for school.

I gave him the good news when I picked him up today, and he was relieved but literally had no recollection of putting it there.


So I’m definitely aware that organization isn’t one of John’s strengths, and we’ve talked about this, and how I will definitely help him continue to work on this. However, personal responsibility is a big theme this year here and at school, and I want him to improve in this area. Just to paint a complete picture since I said I’ll help him: I’m not one of those moms that feels bad if he leaves an assignment at home or something like that and brings it up to him at school unless it’s completely my fault somehow…it’s his responsibility, and it will help him learn a lesson if there are consequences.

Have any of you dear readers been through (or are currently going through) raising a kid who’s a bit scattered on things like this? I’d love your tips and insight.

Or just your commiseration if you’re like me.

16 responses to “On Organization

  1. I will be checking back for comments because I am wondering the same thing. Your day sounds identical to mine – only the book here was on a window sill.

  2. Shew, preach it girl. My eldest shirks personal responsibility like a ninja. He might as well be Adam telling God “that woman YOU gave me …” It drives me crazy. I get so frustrated. I am eager to read what your readers say!

  3. One tip I can suggest (which I usually tell parents whose child struggles with reading/lies about doing their independent reading at home) could maybe help you guys. When the boys finish reading, a.m. or p.m., they would come tell a parent something they learned about a character, how the plot developed, what they could personally connect to…you get the picture. Then, the child could get in the habit of immediately putting their book back in their bookbag (maybe even with a reminder from that parent if needed). Might help. Good luck!

  4. i think i know who john is πŸ™‚

  5. So not to completely give myself away or anything – but I was that child. I was the scatterbrained, never organized, completely side-tracked child.. and not to be a debbie downer but I didn’t learn how to deal with it until I was 22.

    It didn’t matter how many lessons I was taught or how much it affected me in my daily life (which was a lot and very negatively) – it was a personality trait and the way that my brain functioned. Those kinds of things are not just habits and are not easily changed.

    It took me years upon years to learn little tricks about myself that would help me stay focused, stay organized, and be responsible with items. I still struggle with it on a daily basis but now that I have a responsibility of another child it really has taken everything in me to figure out a way to trump it.

    He’s going to need a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a lot of reminding.

    Good luck!

  6. Oh sorry! I forgot to mention my tips. Make a chalkboard or white board that he fills out every day after school with a list of things he needs to do like: Reading assignment, Put book away, and let him mark things out or erase them. Rewards afterwards are always a plus!

    • Thank you for your honesty and tips! I truly appreciate it.

      As I mentioned in my comment to Erinn, I was thinking about a checklist of some kind. I’ll get to work in that tomorrow!

  7. At least he likes to read . . . “hardy har.” I just tonight made a daily reminder chart for each of the girls to use – it’s about 8×4, and on one side at the top it is marked “to do” – the other side more largely marked, “FINISHED!”

    Then on clothespins, I wrote out the daily tasks that each child needs to do: read 20 minutes, pick out tomorrow’s outfit, throw clothes down laundry shoot (no one seems to be able to do this impossible task!), choose lunch items, etc.

    The start of the day – the clothespins are clipped on the to-do side –
    By the end of the day – the child (fingers crossed and a prayer said) will have moved the clothespins to the “Finished” side. Now I just made this tonight, so it has no track record – my goal is to encourage personal responsibilty and to show my kids that lists of some type are helpful. We’ll see . . .

    If I remember, I’ll send you a picture tomorrow . . .of course I’ll need to go put that on my to-do list πŸ˜‰

    • He DOES like to read. I have that going for me!

      I love this idea. I was talking to Matt tonight about making some kind of daily checklist…I’m not sure yet about the format, but I like this idea a lot! Thanks!

  8. I was/am “John” . . . and sat here nodding my head through underestimatedmom’s reply. Sniff, sniff . . . it’s tough being “John” when his mom & dad are SO NOT!!!! (Good luck! πŸ˜‰ )

    • I know…it has to be hard for him when it’s not something that comes naturally. But I also know I’ll be doing him no favors by bailing him out with forgotten school work, or letting this slide because it’s hard for him. One of those fine line issues 😦

      • Totally agree with you! Just because it’s harder for him or not part of his natural “bent” doesn’t mean he can’t be trained! You’re doing it right!

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