Math. And organization.

Amy has been enjoying doing math with Daddy. (He’s been reviewing one of his math books and she wanted to do math, too.) He’ll write down a problem like 5 + 3, and she will draw five circles, then three circles, then count them. He introduced subtraction, too — for 5 – 3 she will draw five circles and color in three, then count the ones not colored in. Today she figured out with enthusiasm that 1-1 and 2-2 both equal zero.

I have been thinking about beautiful possibilities for greater organization.

Things like, what could I design and build, inexpensively, to make better use of the garage space?

Right now, the charcoal, chimney, and box of newspaper sit on the floor next to the grill. The kitty litter and potting soil are on the floor next to the fire extinguishers. The knit mesh beach bag sits on the floor, too. The tool box has one shallow tray and all the screwdrivers are mixed up in the bottom along with the pipe wrench and other things. Mark’s hunting clothes are stuffed into a small box in the basement. I’m not sure where he keeps the bow and arrows. And so on.

True, it all fits, and if you’re willing to move things around and hunt for what you want, you can find and use stuff. And maybe you wouldn’t mind that very much.

But I love to see well-organized, efficient, easy to use storage. Love it. I think it’s one of my favorite things about the Montessori school — to walk in the classroom and see all the low open shelves, each work on its own tray, self-contained, kids don’t have to move anything to get to it, they don’t need help, they can easily see what they want, all the pieces are already together… it’s really beautiful.

I don’t think it’s just about selfishly or lazily liking convenience too much. I think beautiful and user-friendly organization brings a kind of peace with it and adds no extraneous annoyance to a project.

For the same reason Amy’s things are organized on open shelves in small containers, one container for each type of thing — a box for Barbies, one for stringing beads, one for musical instruments, and so on.

For the same reason, I want to make a divided bin for the car for Amy’s books, coloring stuff, and toys for our long preschool commutes.

For the same reason I am envisioning homemade or thrifted dividers to use in my sewing desk to corral and sort thread, bobbins, needles, pins, and the like. I am blissfully imagining using a dowel rod or three to keep ribbon spools tidy and easy to use.

Mmmm… organization.

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