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Keeping My House Organized is Impossible AF

Photograph by Twenty20

I obviously have the best eyesight in my family.

I can see the man-sized jackets and child-sized shoes on the floor. My eagle eyes allow me to pick up said objects while my husband and son constantly step over them. Clearly, if my husband could see his piles of coats on that chair, he’d collect them and put them where they live. Obviously, if my kid noticed his Legos strewn all over the floor, he’d remember the "Daniel Tiger" clean-up song and put them away—or he might not, because he’s 5. I’m constantly picking up what my family is throwing down and I wonder if they can see that.

I love organizing, until I don’t. When my son was little, I craved nothing but sleep and a shower, often not getting either. I had to let the house go au natural, just like my personal grooming habits. As my son grew, I found more moments where I could dust and organize myself into a place of comfort. Having an organized house makes me feel calm and relaxed. It also helps me feel like I’m taking the best care of my family. What husband or 5-year-old doesn’t appreciate a drawer of neatly folded and color-coordinated underwear?

The thing is, I’m so flawless at keeping my kid from losing his marbles that I might be losing mine.

The effort that goes into keeping our rooms in tip-top shape can be exhausting. Even while writing this, I’ve simultaneously folded laundry, organized the table at which I’m sitting, and put away all the dishes from the dishwasher. Handling this endless cycle all on my own makes me feel like I’m just one stray sock from losing my mind every day.

I’m fairly sure the hubby and kid don’t think magic clean-up fairies wander in at night to put all their possessions back.

With a husband, a kid, two dogs, and a cat, there’s always a dust bunny that has multiplied or some sock that has walked out of the dryer unaccompanied. I expected a certain amount of clean-up to materialize once I acquired things like dogs, a husband and a child. I also assumed there would be a certain amount of help. Turns out I was wrong.

I’m fairly sure the hubby and kid don’t think magic clean-up fairies wander in at night to put all their possessions back. Well, my 5-year-old might. Actually, so might my husband. But does that really make it OK?!

On the rare occasions when I’ve asked for help, it doesn’t last long. I give my 5-year-old kid appropriate tasks, and my husband is manly enough to vacuum. Straightening up and helping Mom is fun! Until it’s not. Then the help stops and it's back to me putting all the stuff away alone.

What am I supposed to do? Sit on my hands and wait to see if they pick up their belongings? Are they in cahoots trying to break me? Is my 5-year-old biding his time so he can spot a clean-up fairy?

I have to constantly remind myself that my family may not care about an organized house, but they do care about me. So I’m going to continue to let them know that helping me will keep my marbles (and the kid’s) safely intact. I’m hopeful that one day their eyes will open and coats will be on hooks barely before they leave bodies. A girl can always dream, right?

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