Contained Chaos

As you can imagine, one of the more daunting tasks of caring for a growing family (emphasis on growing) is CLOTHING.  Between adding a baby a year to our clan, to children who seem to grow an inch a day (remember those nighttime growing pains?) to feet that just so happen to jump a size the day after you purchase new shoes (imagine how much easier life would be if we could just go barefoot?!), to my ever-revolving maternity/normal wardrobe (i.e. pants that don’t stretch up to my chest.)

Deep Breaths.  Deep Breaths.

It’s a continual process of changing out clothes to accommodate new sizes and new seasons; deciding what can be passed down to the next child and what is beyond salvageable (grass stains, blood stains, food stains, poop stains, etc.)  It’s also a continual process of consignment shopping.

Fortunately, I’m one of those sick and twisted individuals who gets a cheap thrill out of organizing and downsizing.  I pride myself in being a minimalist, but I admit I can get a little crazy about clearing out ‘unnecessary’ items.  Like the other day when I reorganized our filing cabinets and most-likely accidentally threw out Micah’s military medical records.  Probably because the folder looked cluttered.  Oops.  Or my near-monthly trips to donation centers because ‘the kids just don’t need all these toys!’  Or the countless times I’ve “organized into oblivion” (the Hubs’ description of what happens when he can’t find an important item that he just put down on the counter ten minutes ago.)

But I digress.  Back to clothing.  Early on, I found a system that works for me.  Storage bins.  Glorious storage bins.  Color-coded by gender.  Organized by 3 month size increments (0-3, 3-6, 6-9, etc.)  The apple of my eye.  Remember, I get a cheap thrill out of this stuff.

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Isn’t it beautiful?

So imagine my….um….surprise…when I walked down to the basement the other day and discovered this:

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Deep breaths.  Deep breaths.

Back story: we had out-of-town company visiting and all the kids were quietly playing in the basement.  That should’ve been my first clue.  Us adults were enjoying uninterrupted conversations (second clue) upstairs (third clue) about how our kids can do some of the most random, crazy, unexpected things (fourth clue) like climb a bookshelf at the library or run away from home.  Or dump out 21 bins of clothing.  Twenty-one bins of clothing spanning four years of organization that I now had the opportunity to reorganized.  To loosely quote Jim from The Office, “We say opportunity when we have to do something we don’t want to do.”

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And this wasn’t exactly the opportunity I was looking for at 35 weeks pregnant.

*Note the crazed look in my eye.

But I managed to stay relatively calm.  Partly because I’ve been working at mindfulness techniques this past year (uh.may.zing!) and partly because we had company.  And let’s face it: we try to put on a good show around company.  Which brings me back to mindfulness.  Ah, I digress again.  Stay tuned for another post on that daunting subject!

So with much help from our company and the culprits (the witnesses testified to Middle Man being the ring leader), we restored order.  Sweet, color-coded order.  And I also managed to find joy in reminiscing as I folded tiny little pants and shirts that contained so many beautiful memories.

clothes

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