Order Part 2: Honoring Boundaries
We’ve already established that order can mean doing things in sequential or chronological order, but another way to define it is what most people think of when they think of organization - - arranging items within boundaries.
This type of order is often applied to physical stuff which can be corralled by bins, containers, and dividers – oh my! In my house, the perfect example of how arranging items within boundaries creates order is with my husband’s T-shirts. There are so many of them - “good” T-shirts, work shirts, white undershirts, and even long-sleeved T-shirts.
Imagine a guy’s frustration when he can’t find his favorite “good” T-shirt. To make it easy to find the shirt he wants, we first have to separate the “good” T-shirts from the work T-shirts, which for whatever reason (likely my below average housekeeping skills which I’ll write about later) seem never to smell quite as fresh as I’d like no matter how much hot water, tough detergent, or fabric softener sheets with pictures of sweet smelling things on the box that I use. Then, we hang up the "good" ones – yep, T-shirts on hangers – that’s how fancy we are.
Those perpetually smelly work shirts all go together in one drawer so they are contained. When the drawer begins to overflow, he purges them. When he does get rid of some shirts, he can actually find the T-shirt he wants to wear without having to pull all of the shirts out. A jam-packed drawer also results in wrinkles – and really, who likes a wrinkly work shirt?
White undershirts are a staple for my husband so they tend to get dingy fairly often. Since their home is in only half of the middle dresser drawer, before buying new, we have to throw out the old. Lastly, he has long sleeved T-shirts, which are kept up high in a bin on the top shelf in the closet of our bathroom because they are rarely used. Only a few fit in the bin, and his favorites are on top, that way if we get a new one, the obvious choice is to get rid of the one on the bottom.
We can arrange all sorts of things in our homes the same way we organize these T-shirts – define a place and amount of space for items, group like items together in locations that are near where you most frequently use them, and when the pre-determined amount of space fills up – purge so you can keep your stuff contained and can easily find what you’re looking for. I’ll have many ideas for this kind of thing in future posts, but what I want you to think about now is how applying these principles to your mental health and relationships is so very similar and meaningful.
“Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, it’s just how you use them.”
My Grandpa Pete, the wisest man I’ve ever known, often said, “Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, it’s just how you use them.” Time is a natural boundary, but we often try to force too much in that finite space. We should purge our metaphorical T-shirts to keep from wrinkling the ones we actually want to wear and make it easy to access the really important ones.
Setting up boundaries to protect our relationships is perhaps one of the most difficult things I’ve encountered in recent years. In their book, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No - To Take Control of Your Life, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend wisely said, “In addition to showing us what we are responsible for, boundaries help us to define what is not on our property and what we are not responsible for. We are not, for example, responsible for other people.”
I felt that by placing a boundary, I was making one area or person suffer by giving another priority. This may be a little bit true, but the trick is being ok with that and realizing that there are relationships that take precedence over other areas of our lives and that I’m not responsible for others’ reactions to the boundaries I set. You only have so much storage space, so you must purge your life of what’s stained and smelly to allow room for the things you love the most.
Cloud, Henry and John Townsend. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No - To Take Control of Your Life. Michigan: Zondervan, 1992. Print.
9/24/2017 07:50:46 pm
I have a near same plan for my hubby's t-shirts. They tend to get out of control very quickly. And I love Grandpa Pete's quote! He is right it all comes down to how you use those 24 hours! He would be very proud of how you use your 24 hours . Blessings to you and don't let the t-shirts get you down.😇
10/4/2017 09:50:26 pm
Thanks so much! I appreciate you reading :)
9/24/2017 09:43:21 pm
I've heard to quote about 24 hours in a day. We all have the same parameters. Some days I am on fire. Other days I get little done. I try to forgive myself on the latter. Put it into perspective.
10/4/2017 09:51:44 pm
Self forgiveness is probably the best thing we can do for ourselves!
9/28/2017 01:01:01 pm
I love your Grandpa Pete's quote. I put a lot of pressure on myself (and my poor husband) about "getting things done" around the house, and I do so with eyes of grandure! The problem with that is I set my expectations to high, and I'm disappointed when a task takes longer than I think it should, which then leads to stalling out and not completing it. I think I need to also try to compartmentalize my goals and expectations so they have a better chance of being embraced and accomplished. Intentions are great, but being more realistic about my time will surely make me feel even better when I "get it done"!
10/4/2017 09:54:13 pm
Realistic expectations make such a big difference! I always used to underestimate how long it took to do things, too. Timers work wonders!
10/3/2017 11:25:13 am
I wish setting boundaries in relationships was as easy as it is to organizing t-shirts but I couldn't agree more with you on how necessary it is in our lives! I think we all tend to cram as much as we can into our drawers before we finally purge and let a few things go. The best part is that even though that 'shirt' is gone, the pictures of us in it and the memories we carry don't take up much space and can always allow us to go back and remember all those feels. And most of the time we probably would laugh at our selves and wonder... why I earth did I hold on to that for so long!!
10/4/2017 09:55:35 pm
I love what you said about the pictures and memories not taking up much space. It made me think about the things that we keep around that we wouldn't even want a picture of. That may be a great way to decide on what to purge!
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