Don't you hate it when you put your keys down and can't remember where you put them? Can't find the cheese grater? Then waste countless minutes/hours searching for stuff you put away? Drives me to madness at times, but I've learned to stash things in particular places so I don't have to go through it every day; shoes go on the shoe shelf; keys on the key loop.
How long does it take for kids to learn this lesson? And how often and how long do I need to help them search for that same lost pair of shoes? That same toy? The same random lost item? And when we're on the road, living out of a 13-foot trailer and equally compact van, does it have to be this difficult to find stuff?
Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful day with friends in Salt Lake City. At the end of the evening, I watched V pick up her shoes and socks and head for the car. I did NOT see where in the car she may have put them. Fast forward to this morning. We are supposed to be heading for the Dinosaur Park in Ogden. For that, of course, one needs shoes. V cannot find hers.
So, it's time to shovel out the van and reload. While the girls started on their section, I put away our hiking stuff (we're finished hiking on this leg of the journey), and restashed the jackets we're unlikely to need again until at least Nebraska.
When we start each trip, the van is organized: coats, hats and other daily hiking needs in the box in the far back; kids stuff in boxes (one for school, one for toys), backpacks (one packed by and for each kid) and seatback pockets within their reach; snack bag between the front seats where all can access it; and driver's needs (maps, sunglasses, GPSr) on the passenger's seat. But within hours, the kids' area looks like someone pulled the pin on the toy-and-book grenade. Dolls and books and yarn and knitting needles, plastic horses, cars, magazines, pens, crayons and paper are everywhere. It's no wonder the girls can't find anything.
I've limited their box/bag loads (each girl loads one backpack with the things they'll need for back seat entertainment), reorganized and cut down. Still, it's a disaster back there. I've had them sort it themselves, resort it, clean it out and start again. Still, it apparently isn't important enough for them to keep it at least tidy enough that they can find a bright-pink pair of shoes.
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