Notes from a nesting female rodent
And a few offensive opinions
While my garden slumbers under a thin coverlet of snow, I am impressed by the quietness of winter. I am, Lord willing, nearing the end of this pregnancy and trying to consider winter as a parallel to my state of waiting. We are anticipating new life. We are trying to be focused and hopeful, even as the chill wind blows and the mornings are dark and the illnesses parade forth through the household. There is hope on the horizon. Spring is coming; a baby is coming. Things won’t always be the way that they are now.
One of the ways I keep my hands (and spirit) occupied while waiting is by cleaning and organizing.
I’ve always been inclined to tidying rampages, but when you’re this pregnant, it’s called nesting. I don’t mind the euphemism; it feels accurate. In many ways, I do resemble a heavily pregnant rodent, scurrying around her winter den and trying to make it as hospitable as possible for her pups.
I’ve learned a few new things from these recent nesting frenzies.
Tidying lessons recently learned
Closets are clutter magnets and should be dealt with first. If you can’t find something in your home, it’s probably stuffed in a closet somewhere. Closets need strict organizational rules and systems to succeed. Label everything. Every object should have a designated place, else the closet will become a nightmare again in a matter of weeks. Closets must be ruled with an iron hand! I have not always followed this principle, much to the demise of my household, and I have recommitted myself.
It’s better to have hard rather than soft storage for most household objects and supplies. I made the grave organizational mistake some years back of buying these large, cheap cloth storage bags, which I now hate, because they are lumpy and always look disorganized and are impossible to stack. Switching to bins with lids (for most appropriate things that need to be stored) was a painful reinvestment but one that has felt very worthwhile.
Accordingly, a lot of my life as a mother is spent organizing and cleaning children’s clothes. Have a system or you shall go mad. I was using these aforementioned horrible cloth bags to store kid clothes, and they filled me with rage every time I used them. Maddy finally talked some sense into me and urged me to change my system. I finally did, buying about a dozen plastic bins with lids from Target, and my life is better now.
I label the bins with washi tape, indicating the size.
I donate anything we didn’t wear or won’t use again.
I mend or clean everything before storing it in a bin.
I purge anything I don’t want Felix or Baby Girl to wear (whether from destruction or from tiredness of truck/dinosaur garments) and try to keep it to the essentials.
I remind myself to continue shopping consignment for kids clothes, and when that doesn’t pan out, to carefully select more durable, well-made garments for the eldest child that will last a year of use and thus can be passed down again.
Get donations out of the house as soon as possible, else it shall feel like they are rotting. Bags of donations hold great psychic weight! I am in a phase of pawning things off on people, or putting them out on the street with a big FREE sign, or, eventually, taking things to Goodwill or other places. Truthfully, just putting them in the back of the minivan feels like a step forward. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to get things out of the house once I’ve decided to purge them, but it remains a challenge.
Assemble organizational supplies in one place, rather than scattering them throughout your home. For me, my go-to organizational supplies include:
a collection of small bins and baskets,
my favorite bin label clips,
and pretty leftover boxes that serve as drawer organizers.
Formerly, these helpful items were scattered in various places. I finally took the time this past week to gather them into one storage bin, and now my efforts at tackling said cluttered closets have become quite streamlined. Having all of these objects in one place also keeps me from the perennial temptation to buy more organizational products. Now that I can see a full inventory at a glance, I know that I have the tools at my disposal to wrest closets, drawers, and cabinets into submission.
Next up on the nesting to-do list: A whole house book purge. [Insert screaming emoji]
“The Messiah is something more than a figure and a person—it is something that flows in your blood, resides in your breath, it is the dearest and most precious human thought: that salvation exists. And that’s why you have to cultivate it like the most delicate plant, blow on it, water it with tears, put it in the sun during the day, move it into a warm room in the nighttime.”
— The Books of Jacob, Olga Tokarczuk
Latest offensive opinions
Young adult literature is for young adults.
The sexual revolution has vastly benefited men rather than women. (See: Currently Reading, below. I will probably write an incendiary post about this later!)
Reading headlines is not “staying informed.”
Taylor Swift is not a good (or even interesting) writer. She is, however, a fantastic consumer product.
God, Human, Animal, Machine, Meghan O’Gieblyn
The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, Louise Perry
Organized Living, Shira Gill
Zero at the Bone, Christian Wiman