“A place for everything and everything in its place.” No doubt you’ve heard this massively guilt-producing phrase before. Well, if you’ve done any actual living, any good, hard living (such as living with small children), you’ll know by now that this concept is simply ridiculous. There is no place for EVERYTHING, even if you live in a 3 million square foot house. Because space isn’t the only issue with organizing. Sure, it can be AN issue, but it’s not THE issue.
The issue, in a home with small children, is that there will always be something weird that the small children will develop an attachment to and want to keep forever. Maybe it’s something that they’ve “made” at craft camp and brought home, or some bizarre trinket that a well-meaning relative found in Chinatown and bought for them, or something they received in a Happy Meal (or the box that the Happy Meal came in). These are things that belong in NO PLACE. For each item I am forced to ask myself, where could it possibly go? In the doll bin? No. With the toy food? No. Does it qualify as a lego? No. Could it be classified as a “guy”? No. A Stuffie? A Car? Costume? Ball? Musical instrument? No … No … No … No … Heck no. And seeing as I am now out of bins, boxes, drawers, baskets and shelves, and none of them are labelled “Chinese finger traps” or “glitter-covered balls of clay with popsicle sticks sticking out of them,” THERE IS, CLEARLY, NO PLACE FOR EVERYTHING.
Jac (whose Everything Bin is known as “The Clutter Bucket”) and I have located some items from our respective Everything Bins to show you exactly what kind of crap we are talking about, here:
And thus I am left with just two options. Either secretly discard the item, hoping against hope that my children’s obsession with it is temporary and easily forgettable, or find SOME place for it to live. And this, my friends, is where the “Everything Bin” comes in. In the Everything Bin can go everything and anything—random game pieces, puzzle pieces, dice (fuzzy or otherwise), doll body parts that I will “one day” affix back on to their bodies, bits of yarn, assorted buttons, toys that I don’t feel like walking back to their appropriate places, etc. The best part about the Everything Bin is that when it is all, inevitably, dumped out (when, for example, someone is looking for dice, fuzzy or otherwise), it can be oh-so easily cleaned up again! Grandma’s coming over? No problem! “Just gather it up and chuck it in, chuck it all in to the ‘Everything Bin!’” (That’s my jingle, for if I ever decide to market this brilliant concept). Even if the stuff gets broken while being roughly chucked back into the Everything Bin, who cares!? Now you are allowed to throw it out, because it’s broken! You won’t of course. You’ll just throw the broken pieces back into the Everything Bin. Because, seriously, who has time to walk all the way to the garbage can? Grandma’s coming over, remember? That precious time obviously needs to be spent cleaning the pee off the bathroom floor.
Of course I know you all already have an Everything Bin, because necessity is the mother of invention, and as mothers (and fathers), we are necessity-inventing all the time. Heck, you may even have a few Everything Bins, they may just be known by different names. Full disclosure: not only do I have an Everything BIN, I also have an Everything DRAWER (also known as a junk drawer), an Everything CABINET (also known as our old TV cabinet, from when TVs were huge and deep and required huge, deep cabinets to house them) and even an Everything ROOM (also known as “The Den”). You may even have an Everything Room as well! You know, it’s where you keep that dusty elliptical trainer that you plan on using regularly one day, that futon your friend was getting rid of so you took it, and all of your sewing and knitting stuff, from that one year that you decided you would like to learn to sew and/or knit.
If you don’t have an “Everything something,” than you either have a million bins with one thing each in them, or else you are way better at throwing things out than I am. Either way, you are making me uncomfortable.