Organizing Shared Spaces and Managing Possessions
One challenge of family life is to shape our spaces so that we each feel a sense of home, even when we have different tastes, styles, and different levels of tolerance for mess. This challenge includes wisely managing our desires for the many luscious-looking toys (for all ages) and the fantastic variety of products that the American marketplace is so adept at producing. Then, when we have the many things that we have purchased, deciding together how can we store them and use them so that they are valued. And, finally, families must face how to agree to give things away when they are outgrown or no longer fill the purpose they once did.
Sometimes, organizing is catching. Suzanne, who is a massage therapist, sees clients in her home. She decided to prune her books in the family room, without making a big deal about it. Then her husband noticed and joined in. Then her daughter got involved and organized all of her makeup in the bathroom. "I now spend a little more time straightening up and a lot less time being mad about how the place looks," Suzanne said. "Then, an interesting thing happened, I cleaned up the whole family room and it looked beautiful. My daughter came back from a school trip and she said, 'Mom, the family room looks great, but I notice that you didn't touch my room; does that mean it's my responsibility?'"