Organization is an absolute necessity in my life. It always has been. I think I inherited this characteristic from both my Mom & Dad. My Mom followed my Navy Dad with our family from coast-to-coast for most of my childhood… and she refused to lose things. Each of us 3 kids had our own drawers, closet space, towel rack in the bathroom, toy space, etc. and nothing could be where it shouldn’t be. If it rained, we knew where our raincoats were. If it snowed (oh, how I loved the snow of New Hampshire when we moved there from San Diego), our snowsuits and boots and hats and gloves were in a bin in our basement. My Mom even opened the bulkhead of that basement and that’s how we got out and back in… always hanging our wet stuff on a makeshift clothesline down there and lining our boots on layers of newspapers. When dry, everything went right back into our bins. If we were headed to the pool or the beach, all our stuff had a special spot in our linen closet and the beach toys were in buckets in the garage. Our school books always had a special place, too. As soon as we came into our kitchen, our books went on the kitchen counter… not on the dining room table!… and that way we’d know where everything was. I don’t ever remember losing or misplacing my books or my homework.
My Dad… well, he was in the Navy. He was organized. He may not have stored his stuff at neatly as my Mom, but he always knew where everything was. The linen closet was his masterpiece, though. He loved towels folded in a certain way… with the fold part facing out… and I learned to love those folds. My Dad taught me to fold this way… and I remember the folding memories with great joy. I still fold my towels fold-out and think of my Dad whenever I fold and whenever I open my linen closet.
Life was simple this way. My Mom & Dad had 3 kids very close in age, a busy life and my Mom was alone for months at a time while my Dad was out-to-sea. She always said that she didn’t have TIME for disorganization. I got it. I still have it.
And that brings me to this morning. We are in the middle of a hefty snowstorm here in Rhode Island. Barry was up and out early with his snow blower… the best invention of mankind, by the way. When I poked my head outside, he asked me to find him another pair of gloves… warm ones and dry ones. He had his ski gloves in mind. OK. We haven’t been skiing since Barry had his hip replaced. And oh yeah… when I slid off the side of a Cranmore trail and shattered my wrist. Years ago. SKI GLOVES? Where the heck are Barry’s ski gloves? But he looked so cold and busy and innocent and all that good stuff, so I headed to our 3rd floor attic. Maybe the ski gloves were up there? I poked around for a couple of minutes and then spotted THE BAG. THE RED MESH BAG. THE SKI BAG.
Of course! THE SKI BAG. Barry and I began skiing when we were in our 30’s… but our kids were very young. All 4 of them. Do you know how much stuff you need when taking 4 kids skiing? Well, let me tell you, from the bottom up. Boots, sock liners, socks, thermal underwear, ski pants, turtlenecks, sweaters, glove liners, gloves, jackets, neck warmers, hats, ski goggles, hats. Times 2 because kids get wet and cold and need to replace things during the day or for the next day. Times 4 kids. That’s alotta stuff. That stuff costs too much to replace.
And that stuff takes alotta organization to wash and pack back up and store and keep organized for a super-quick get in the car ‘cuz we’re goin’ skiing!
Light bulb idea. Way back then, there was no such thing as the internet or browsing the internet for ideas/shopping…. so I turned to the master of Maine and the OH! of organization… L.L.Bean. The catalog. In that catalog, I found the large RED MESH BAGS. I loved the size. I loved the mesh, so I could see what was in the bag. I loved the light weight of the bag. I loved how squish-able into tight areas they seemed to be. Voila. Organization, I thought. I ordered 3 bags… 1 for Barry and me, 1 for Audrey & Jane and 1 for Keith & Adam. I’m telling you as I sit here today, those bags saved my sanity. After every ski day or ski weekend, I washed our stuff, took instant inventory, packed the bags, stored the bags and picked up the bags when it was time to head out. We never lost anything. We were never looking for anything. The girls’ stuff in one bag. The boys’ stuff in another bag. Our stuff in the 3rd bag.
THE RED MESH L.L.BEAN BAG in the attic. This morning. I unzipped the bag and instantly put my hands on Barry’s ski gloves. Unzipping that bag brought back so many happy memories. I stood there for a moment thinking about those joyous years of taking the kids skiing and the outdoors and all the fun we had. I thought about little motels with 2 beds for 6 people. I thought about pizza and moonlight walks and so much love. I brought Barry’s gloves to him… then I headed back up to the attic to find the other bags. Inside a bin, I found the other RED MESH BAGS all folded and neat… no more kids stuff in them… but filled with years and years of memories.
Those red mesh bags must be at least 25 years old. Maybe older. Those red mesh bags tell tales of many journeys. Many mountains. I knew I’ve gotta take those bags out and use them again. Winter stuff for the 9 grandkids? Sledding and playing and building snowmen and igloos? Do you know how much stuff 9 grandkids need for an impromptu day of fun in the snow? I’m gonna revive those bags TODAY! Yep. This girl knows organization… !