Little Yellow Luggy

Lately I have been giving much thought to the maligned mystery of the deficient acts of stewardship in our nest. Despite my endeavors in reminding all bears to step into their duties of a steward and curate their belongings, my words fall upon deafened ears. I crave clean, orderly spaces. I enjoy organizing; it’s meditative. It’s a tremendous relief when items are in place, but I traverse room after room, two, three, four sometimes five times a day mustering articles of clothing, lifeless batteries, soggy towels, broken crayons, and orphaned books streamed across dusty floors.It’s no way to regard your belongings; it’s no way to care about Mama Bear nor our shared space. I struggle with making sure that the labor that goes into running our nest is shared by everyone living in it. How do I get all my bears to appreciate, enjoy and properly care for things that were attained with blood, sweat and tears? Thank goodness for little bear and her little yellow Luggy by her side. She is eager to make multiple trips with her Luggy, back and forth she goes shoving neglected clothes in and then pulling them out to toss them into the appropriate baskets. Rushing her older bears, ordering them to shower, reckoning the many articles of clothing to be strewn across the bathroom floor…she gets it (some of the time.)Yes, I have claimed responsibility of the keeper of the nest, however, taking the same amount of time to hang the towel where it was grabbed from sends a happier message to me. Yes, wife or yes mom, I see you for who you are and don’t expect you to trail my trajectory of items all over the nest. Yet there is an underlying assumption that I should be the one responsible for where everything belongs. Questioning myself and the countless days of repeated ritual, picking-up, folding, tossing in the wash, rinsing, wiping…my struggle has been ugly. Putting items back the way they were (it really does save time looking for it down the road) or an effortless toss into the hamper instead of on the floor is not too much to ask for, however, the assumption that I should be the only one responsible for all the belongings of everyone inhabiting the nest has me boiling over. I’ve created a space where there is little to do to maintain a tidy nest. Your plate and utensils that once cradled your warm meal that is now in your tummy, rinse and place into the beloved mechanism that cleans it for you. Your soiled garments you peeled off your body, toss them into a hamper and I will happily take it from there. A not-so-thirsty-towel, you don’t even have to fold simply hang back on the rack, only then will it dry and be there for you when you need it again.I know I am not off the track on this one, Marie Kondo does side with me here. She would concur that it’s not fair nor sensical for simple household matters to fall only onto one person (unless of course there is one person living in the nest.) However, when a space is shared by me, Papa Bear, Big, Middle and Baby Bear then shouldn’t the knowledge of where everything is kept and how it’s stored become the responsibility of us all? Not one keeper, not one fusser, but an ongoing esprit de corps in a space of shared accountability; a dreamy life-changing magical shift of effort performed together, day in and day out. I do have my space, my way to take the otherness, the uncertainty, the alien and threatening chaos that is so far out there in the world, that my arms will never be long enough to gather and compartmentalize and keep safe. Here, in my nest, however I can do just that. I can haul everything that could be overwhelming and thoughtfully put it in a place where it feels good, out of sight, yet within reach for when it is needed. A tidy nest…there is nothing like it…a peaceful retreat when you arrive as the day is yawning. And as the crimson sinks below the rooftop, and in the kitchen when the utensils stop clinking without the unimaginable that is out there, that fractious and argumentative world filled with fear and misunderstanding that drapes heavily over our shoulders, I race to complete my tasks before the last drips of light. Waiting for darkness to tumble and twirl around the rooms, under beds, and sofas and chairs and engulf everything in it’s path, so all that remains are stars that sparkle and fizz into the deep inky night sky. Yet communication has broken down. Words no longer hold merit. They no longer provide a breathing space—a much needed reprieve—instead cries escalate into thundering, bellowing yelps that smother all rational thoughts. This weightiness needs to be deflated. How do you get your family to embark on joint efforts to tidy up? I’m all ears, please tell me.

30 thoughts on “Little Yellow Luggy

  1. I would suggest three steps:

    1. Go on a mom strike for one week and do not pick up after anyone or put anything away. Let it remain strewed and allow it to pile up.
    2. After nobody can find anything, like a towel to dry with after showering, they will understand what you have been doing.
    3. Now sit down with each bear and work out a storage and tidying system, let them design their own, but with the condition that they will stick to it – since they have chosen their own system (and not mom’s orders).

    p.s. It is too late for Daddy Bear…

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    • Ha, ha…I was thinking more like I go away for at least a week then things would pile up alright, but I can’t bear the site of untidiness so I wouldn’t survive a day with their way. Great suggestion, theoretically it should work…here’s to trying.

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  2. I may have a better chance training the cats, or better yet send me your “towel fairy” Ideally one clean up fairy for each member of the family, I wouldn’t want to overwhelm them.

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  3. Hmm. We have reading time before bed. I’m reading Harry Potter to them currently, but we’re read all sorts. They enjoy book time but know they don’t get it unless they’ve cleaned everything up first. It works. They hate to miss story time.

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      • Getting them to that point sooner may take patience and persistence. I’m thinking something along the lines of, every time the offender comes to a meal at the table saying, “Did you pick your towel up?” If he slumps his shoulders, point down the hallway and say, “Go get it. Hurry unless you want us to start without you.” He still balks? You say, “Go, go, go. It will take you less than a minute. Get moving.” The next step is you just having to ask, “Towel?” Then he’ll sigh, slump his shoulders and go get it. And finally he’ll come to the table saying, “Yes, I got the towel,” in a snarky tone. It will take you having to ask multiple times and consistently making him get it before he can eat–it only takes a few seconds to hang it back up, right? You can remind him of that. I know this is just one item, but that’s where it begins. Consistently and persistently requiring one thing to be done before X can happen. Then you start on the next biggest offense. Eventually they’ll learn to take care of these things w/o being told, though it might take weeks to accomplish.

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      • Awesome! I’m glad you find that plan doable. For me, for a long time, it was yelling across the house: “Whoever didn’t flush, needs to come back and do so.” Sure, it would’ve been far easier for me to just take the 2 seconds to flush for them, but then how would they learn? Eventually I no longer needed to remind them. You can totally do this! 🙂

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  4. I completely understand how you’re feeling, Cristina. You make such a beautiful home and I, too, believe that it’s best when everyone helps keep it that way! I’m glad you referred to Marie Kondo. She is an inspiration to so many people, and I think the success of her industry is that people recognize that when there is order they can maintain their lives with more clarity and enjoyment, but when I watch her show on Netflix and see how people have lost their way prior to having her come to help, it’s clear that not everyone seems to understand intuitively how to put things in their place! I wasn’t always that orderly, but through the years I’ve discovered how peaceful my environment is when I’m not cluttered! I like that, and that became enough incentive to stay on top of things. I think your little bears will grow into their own appreciation, too, simply because they’ve always known order! Meanwhile,a little work strike might be an okay thing after all, just to grab their attention! 🙂

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    • Thank you Debra for your words of wisdom, yes a little more patience from all and hopefully we’ll get there. Cheers to a tidy nest with clarity, peace and much enjoyment to us all.

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    • Thank you for stopping by my space. It’s a bit of a relief to know that I am not alone in thinking that I alone should be responsible for it all. I look forward to starting my quest in getting everyone on board with this in my nest…wishing you courage with your quest as well!

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  5. OMG I feel your pain. When I lived alone, my apartment almost looked like a showroom floor it was so organized with everything always in its place. Fast forward to boat life and it is often like living in a workshop. The Captain always fixing something (thank goodness he keeps the boat afloat) but always keeping his tools strewn about for ‘the next job (the downside). Perhaps I need to get him a little yellow luggy :-). In all seriousness, while the mess can sometimes make me pull my hair out, he has so many other endearing qualities that I think I will let him continue to live here for awhile.

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    • To live well together doesn’t always mean to agree and for everything to be perfect, but a tidy place does invite harmony and a safe space where connection can be made. For now the yellow luggy brings some solace and hope for its more fun to pick up misplaced items. I do hope you find a fun way for the Captain to recognize your needs and for the nuisance not to distract you too much from the simmering beauty that surrounds you.

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  6. What you are trying to teach your family is that sense of community which is so essential for operating successfully in the world. Perhaps it would help if everyone thought of these tasks as projects: set up routine times for everyone to get portions accomplished, appropriate to their schedule. Have family meetings every week (or every two weeks) in which everyone reviews their responsibility and the success with which it was accomplished. Have concrete rewards and disciplines in place for when they fail, just as this happens for them in school and work projects. Best wishes on achieving success on this front, Cristina!

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    • Thank you, I never thought of it that way. I’m so happy you stopped by to enlightened me with this idea…now I am even more motivated into shaping my little bears into Ambassadors for their community one chore at a time. Happy nesting and travels to you!

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