A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

One down, fifty-one to go.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a great website and blog called I’m an Organizing Junkie: Living a Life of Simplicity and Order. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Specifically, I’m obsessed with the 52 Weeks project:

…create a list of 52 organizing projects or habits that need to be done or developed around your home…dressers, drawers, closet, toys, paper, you name it. Let’s do it! Having a plan is a great first step!  Tackle one a week or more and then come on back here on Fridays and we’ll talk about it. The highs and the lows. No stringent timelines, no project too small, just good fun, sharing inspiration and motivating one another.

My family and friends know that organizing is something that I am truly passionate about… probably because I so clearly suck at it. I bet if you added up the cost of all the “How to Get Organized” books in my home, then added in all the containers and baskets and shelves I’ve bought, then factor in all the money and checks and gift cards and coupons I’ve just flat out lost due to my lack of organization, you’d have enough money to hire a professional organizer to move in with me for a month and straighten my cluttered culo out once and for all.

But since that’s not going to happen, I like the 52 Weeks idea. It’s manageable. It’s low pressure. I’m going for it! Maybe 2011 is the year I finally get organized.

Here’s my list:

And I’m so pleased to announce that I have just finished one of the items on it! Whoo-hooo! Yes friends, the Lego Project is now complete. As you may recall, this is what it looked like when I started:

It took about a week of sorting, which, as I mentioned before, was oddly therapeutic and relaxing. Once I had them all sorted by color, I went to Ikea with my friend Mama Cloud and we picked out a fabulous shelving unit called Trofast. I even assembled it myself with very few violent outbursts. (Damn Swedish pictograms!) And here it is, in all its color coded glory:

Isn’t that so much better? This unit comes in either pine or white laminated particle board. I chose the pricier pine because I like how it looks and I thought it would be more durable, but only time will tell. I accidentally over-tightened one of the bolts as I was building it and it slightly split the wood. I don’t feel like taking it back though, so I just turned the unit around and now the little crack is hidden. No big whoop.

Sadly, my little “Look how organized we are!” celebration didn’t last very long. The kids were magnetically drawn to the new storage system like moths to a flame. They couldn’t wait to start playing with their Legos and all three of them kept telling me how the new system made their play so exponentially more enjoyable. Feeling pleased and proud of my accomplishment, I went upstairs to see what Oprah was up to today and when I returned to check on them a little while later, I found this:

Shit. Shit. Shit.

That is not what I was envisioning AT ALL.

They totally pulled half of the drawers out, the Legos they used were all over the place, and they did not clean up after themselves even a little bit. Shocking really, how quickly my basement went from Swedish paradise to Lord of the Flies. In less than an hour, the Legos were forsaken and Mini-Me was drawing with chalk on one of her stuffed animals, Spider-Man was sticking magnets up his nose, and Nature Boy was was on the computer playing with Photoshop:

Nice. I am quite proud of his computer skills, actually. But I’m suddenly wishing I had spent that Ikea money at the Coach store instead. Damn ingrates.

Well then. I have 51 more organizing projects to do, and I’ll be damned if the next few aren’t going to be for me me me instead of those ferrets, I mean, children. Also, I’m starting to suspect that maybe being organized isn’t just about the purging and the sorting and the fabulous Swedish containerizing. Perhaps there are rules and expectations and routines that need to be established as well. Hmmm. It’s a mystery. Hopefully my wonderful new organizing guru at orgjunkie.com will enlighten me about all this in the weeks to come. And if not, maybe I’ll return that shelf and go purse shopping instead. I’m keeping my Ikea receipt just in case… somewhere around here.

Tack så mycket,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris


  1. laura lee

    shit. shit. shit is right. i peed in my jammies laughing. Swedish paradise to Lord in the Flies? That did me… my 6 pack of diet cokes and bottle of trader joes wine in.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Well cheers to THAT! I hope you didn’t pee the pink bunny footies you wore to Mini-Me’s slumber party!

  2. laura lee

    oh no i di’nt. wear those on weekends (seriously, not kidding). In fact.. bought Husband a pair of plaid Dennis the Mennis-ish of his own (again, not kidding). Wait…. does he read this?

  3. MonicaB

    Ahhhh… the Lego organization. This is a battle I’ve been fighting for years. I have that on my list for the year, but I’m not sure how I’m going to do it. Your storage looks great and hopefully your boys will help keep it that way. Best of Luck!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks! I’m gonna need it!

      Thanks for stopping by! And good luck with your Lego project too! 🙂

  4. Janene

    Very nice!

    I have to agree that pictograms are unbelievably frustrating when you can read…I guess it probably does save on paper since they don’t have to publish it in all the various languages but UGH!

    I have 3 boys but the oldest is 5 so we aren’t heavy into legos, yet…but I’m glimpsing into my future while reading this post and am hoping to be better prepared thanks to you!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi Janene – thanks for stopping by! And I saw the great comment you posted under mine on 52 weeks. Thanks for your support – it is nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that way!

  5. Hagatha

    OMG – make those children go immediately to the lego space and pick them up and file them appropriately in the correct bin! Maybe a new standard practice after playing with Legos?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Mom? Is that you? 😉

  6. Needtochange

    Lego is on my list too. Its terrible to sort and organise I think – do you organise by colour like you did, or by size, or by type.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi there – thanks for reading! This project was not as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, I actually enjoyed it… probably because I didn’t have to make any decisions! We sorted ours by color only, not by size. I had to combine a few colors to make all the colors fit in the 9 bins. For instance, I combined the beige, medium brown, and dark brown into one bin. I also combined the red, maroon, pink, and purple into one bin, which worked because they are all in the red family. In a perfect world, I would have just bought another Trofast shelf so we wouldn’t have to combine colors, but I didn’t want to spend any more money!

      We also have a special box on the side for the mini-figures and their teeny tiny accessories… which get played with more than anything else, so I wanted them to have a special easy-access home. I will tell you this: my kids have played with the Legos more this week than ever, now that they are all sorted. The kids LOVE how easy it is to find what they need. Good luck with your project! I hope this helps.

  7. Carol

    Looked great all sorted. My Lego days are over. I have them all in tub in my storage room. Happy 🙂 Organizing!

  8. Tamarah

    Girl you are hilarious 😀 Ingrates, ferrets, Swedish paradise to Lord of the Flies, LOL! You are too much! Absolutely loved it! I pray your shelving unit gets restored back to it’s glory 🙂 Have a great weekend!
    Peace & Blesings 🙂

    • Tamarah

      Sorry about the typo Blessings 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Tamarah! 🙂 Peace, blessings, and organized bliss to you as well!

  9. allysgrandma

    I have to admit organizing has gotten much easier now that my moochers have left home! I did the same as you, bought books, etc, I even did hire a professional. Let me tell you my BIL (who was in the middle of painting our home) loves to remind me he would be happy to take $300.00 to throw my crap away!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh no – please – I really don’t need any more reasons to look forward to them leaving our messy nest! 🙂 I already want to skip right to being a grandma!

      I actually did pay a professional organizer once… it was the second worst money I ever spent (the fat burning soap from QVC being bad purchase #1). She stood over me like a Roman soldier and forced me to clean out my kitchen junk drawer, shaking her head and judging me the whole time for my slovenly ways. Ick. I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about it. Shoot, if I want to be judged, I can invite my Mom over for free! (Kidding, Mom!)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Sarah

    Ha ha! I love how you write – so funny!

    We’re not quite at the same stage with lego since DD is just 2 and got her first duplo for her birthday. Toys and their general untidiness do bug me though…

    Sarah. x

  11. Melinda

    This was hilarious! My child quit playing with legos at least 5 years ago and I still finding legos!! They grow and have children!
    Have fun!

  12. Samantha

    Organizing my boys’ Legos by color is on my mental list as well! It seems like your children may be younger than mine, though. My 13 and 9 year old boys really do want their Lego collection to be organized better but they’ll never do it themselves. I’m sure your kids really do enjoy having their Legos so wonderfully organized. Lord of the Flies? Did one of them build a pig’s head out of Legos and put it on a stick? You really should have included a picture of that one.


  13. jilly

    I realize I find this a bit late, but still I laughed. I did the very same thing when my only son had about 5 billion legos(at 10, now 22). He kept them in a large cardboard box and would spend hours looking for certain pieces. Enter Brillant Mom to save the day. One long weekend while at his dad’s I organized his legos…and I was even crazy enough to put the reds in the red box, etc. etc.. Oh I just knew he was going to think I was the best Mom in the world.
    The day he came home he looked happy I organized his legos. Fast forward two weeks and I noticed he wasn’t playing with his legos everyday like he had before. I asked him why. He reply???? “Mom, you took the fun out of my legos”. It seems he LIKED spending hours searching for that one certain lego.

    Goes to show ya, even at 10, don’t go messin’ with a “man” and his toys;-)


  14. Melissa

    Let’s face it – the neatly sorted Legos is more for us and not for them. It looks so nice and it makes sense! But if my kids don’t think it’s important enough to put them back neatly, then I’m not wasting my time sorting them neatly in the first place! Our Lego storage system is a gray, 30-gallon Sterilite tub. All the Legos just get dumped in there, along with a couple smaller plastic Lego tubs which they can use to separate out special pieces and projects they’re working on. When they’re done playing, everything has to go back in the box – a little dust pan and sweep brush help out. 😛

    • The Bearded Iris

      Girl, you are so right. That system was definitely for ME and it totally didn’t work. The kids do not put them back the way I had hoped. But I couldn’t STAND the sound of the digging through the big plastic bin. Oh well. It was worth a shot. I figure we can use the fancy storage system for other toys when they get tired of Lego. Thanks for reading!

  15. Mom Rants and Comfy Pants

    OMG, those pictures your son did were High-larious!!!!

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