I’m a hider. A HUGE hider. I just hate looking at a pile of stuff in my home.  I get it from my mother who gets it from her mother. I come from a long line of hidey-hoarders. Everything nice and neat on the outside but cupboards, closets and drawers are filled to the brim with junk.  I must say though, over the years I have witnessed a general relaxing in my mothers clean-freakiness. Don’t get me wrong, she still has a tidy home, but the extreme craziness of it seems to have passed. This gives me hope for myself one day.

When I was a kid my mother had this thing she did when people would stop by unannounced. We lived waaaaay out in the country and we could see the occasional car coming down the road from the kitchen table. When a car began to slow in front of our house, I could see the tension mount in my mothers face. If the car happened to turn into our driveway, it was game over.  “Hit the deck” my mother would scream and she and I would get on our hands and knees and crawl into the livingroom down the hall.  She did this of course to avoid anyone seeing the occasional dirty dish or papers that may have been out of place. Even though her car was in the driveway and it was obvious we must be home, my mother and I would continue hiding until the company had left….which was sometimes a very long time to wait.

I have definately picked up some less then normal traits from my mother. While I don’t make my kids drop and crawl whenever the doorbell rings, I do feel my stomach drop and get an overwhelming sense of panic no matter how clean or dirty the house is. I also clean like a freak before a scheduled visit.  Lately, I have noticed my husband giving me less and less notice before someone is stopping by to see him. He says “I can either deal with you angry at me for not telling you, or deal with you running around cleaning like a mad women for hours on end”… Usually he is somewhere in the middle, telling me 10-15 minutes before someone is stopping by allowing me only a few minutes of pure insanity.  A few days before my 30th birthday last year my husband and I were out for a drive when he stopped at the liquor store. Inside he began filling up a cart, and we never drink. I joking said “what, are we having a party?” to which he replied “yeah, people will be over in an hour…happy birthday”. Now, while many people would be delighted at the thought that their husband had planned a surprise birthday party for them, I thought for sure I was going to throw up and die right then and there. My only terrifying thought in my head was “ohmigod, I didn’t clean the house”.

Anyway, the point of this little story is to illustrate the advanced nature of my insanity. I have been trying very hard over the past year or so to get more organized in order to ease the panic and the need to run around like a maniac hiding junk everywhere before people come over. The reason I have junk everywhere is the weirdest part of the whole thing! Even though I have this extreme urge to have everything hidden, I am also the biggest slob in the world and leave everything out when I’m done with it, therefore creating this cycle. I have discovered it is much easier to train myslf to put things back in their place than it is to stop myself from being a freak.

Today I tried to get some craft supplies out of my armoire for the kids. The thing was so jammed full of crap I literally had to brace myself and pull with all my might to get a box. I decided it was time to stop hidey-hoarding all this stuff and come up with a better solution. I looked online for a storage ottoman to replace my coffee table. I had this brilliant idea to put all my kids “school” stuff in their and keep the armoire just for craft supplies, freeing up half the space. After quickly realizing that storage ottomans are not free and I didn’t want to spend any money, I opted for a basket on the floor instead. This is MONUMENTAL for me. I have a basket of kids school stuff out in the open for the whole world to see! Yes, it bugs me. Yes, I would much rather hide it somewhere. Yes, I am a freak of nature.  But, that being said I also love it. All morning the kids and I have been playing school. I love the idea that they can access these educational games and flash cards whenever they like.  I still lock up the craft supplies because my daycare kids are demons and would colour on my walls, but the “playing school” stuff is fair game.

So, here is the tip of the day. Make a school box in your home! Fill it with flash cards, memorization games, blocks and other supplies you use when you “play school”.  Grab a few stuffed animals (for fellow students) and teach away!  Paint the outside of your box in chalkboard paint or buy the peel and stick chalkboard squares from Wallies.com and turn the actual box into a learning tool too. 

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