Time management Mondays: A walk-around mess

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The fact that different people have different levels of tolerance for mess is the stuff of classic comedy.

Recently, though, I’ve been interested in what I call a walk-around mess: a collection of disorganized items that languishes seemingly unseen because it’s contained and therefore easy to ignore. There’s a section on my desk that fits this description, with papers and notebooks that I never do seem to put away, but that sit tidily and don’t attract my attention. Part of my bedroom does, too, with clothes that I’ve folded on top of the dresser but not put away in drawers; my kitchen counters have several different regions that attract little piles of “where does this go again?” items.

And then there’s that corner of my living room, filled with a disheartening jumble of my son’s toys and the books and DVDs he never tires of pulling from their shelves. Sometimes — most times, at the end of the day — that corner sprawls to fill the room, and I have to decide if it’s worth putting everything back where it belongs, or simply coralling it back to the corner. Unless there’s company coming, I usually opt for the latter… and I’m amazed by my ability to walk around, or even over, the carts, planes, puzzles, and stacking cups that lie in my path.

2 thoughts on “Time management Mondays: A walk-around mess

  1. Posting a comment we received via email from Noreen with several helpful suggestions:

    Think like a preschool! Put toys “away” only bring out a binfull at a time.

    Have an evening ( or morning if too tired) ritual of toy pick up..make it a game.
    (Age appropriate…throwers,puterawayers,refusers,etc.)

    Invest in a good sturdy set of cubbies that can be reused FOREVER…
    Spend the money! Don’t make them too high..you want to be able to put grown up stuff or puzzles and games on top out of reach.

    Should be sturdy enough to climb if you have a climber…Affix it to the wall at both ends…trust me…they climb!

    (i had way too many toys for my kids. )Also low flat under the bed bins are great for shoveling bedroom toys into..no need to sort. Don’t get too large a flat bin. Those with covers are nice but often wont fit under a bed. legos and duplos do best in smaller bins kids can drag around…make sure they have lids..I even used a rectangular plastic briefcase…open up and you can build right in it, then take them apart later…not for the under 3 group.

    Invest in large cardboard building blocks..( not for new walkers…for 2-3-4-5)you can stack them and corral the toys in the center of them…unlimited play value…

    Here is a nice cubby…you get what. you pay for. Shipping on larger furniture may be higher. Ikea makes nice products but clear bins are more useful.Check with teachers and librarians for ideas of height and weight of cases…Your child will be in elementary school before you know it. Think reuse…


    A great invention is a large cardboard box after they get over the fall down period. make sure any opening you make will not get their heads stuck. For windows, make shutters rather than one large window…easier to cut. make different size holes and slots….make a big person door and a little person door, or make dutch half doors…

    Toys can go inside the box through the windows..great fun…
    I never used duct tape and these are too flimsy for climbers. Don’t know anything about this website..just saw the pic…

    Uline is a wonderful company with lots of great stuff. Fast shippers of nice new inexpensive boxes…nice catalog…

    Enjoy the mess…think of the workout you are getting!!!
    ( I still have my kids’s legos…they are in their 20’s)

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