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Once upon a time, I had a large number of young children and a small organizational skill set. Routinely, we had few routines. We needed more, and we eventually acquired them. We also needed more order. We got this too. But not at first. There was a time when searching for missing items felt like our mommy-toddler part-time job.

One time, and I am not kidding, I was headed out the door to church (my husband had left earlier to attend meetings) and I was so desperate to find the car keys that I switched my line of thinking to “What if I could use something else as a key?” I actually removed a large barrette from my daughter’s hair, opened it up, placed it in the ignition and turned it on. It worked. It really worked! I feel like this little miracle was a tender, limited edition mercy from a merciful God who had not forgotten his slightly frenzied-but-trying daughter.

Not long after, I started praying about this and again began thinking outside the box. Specifically, I was thinking inside the closet.  I dubbed a closet “The Sunday Closet”. In it, I kept all of my little ones Sunday outfits, including socks, shoes, hair items, etc. and back up extras of these items. In this closet I also kept our “Sunday Bag.” This bag was filled with the usual suspects: diapers, wipes, snacks, and Sunday “quiet toys” for Sacrament meeting. But remember, we had a lot of children and I was nursing a tendency to overpack. This combo produced a Very Large Sunday bag. One Sunday a friend asked me if I was actually raising another child in this bag.  Ha ha!!

But I loved that bag, those children, and that Sunday closet. It saved me, time and time again. Where there had once been departures for church filled with sounds of children calling into the air “Where are my shoes?” now there were actual, immediate shoes. There they were! Staring back at me from the closet! Next to all the other easy access Sunday things! Please insert a nostalgic sigh of joy here.

Here were the two keys to all of this (not my actual keys, though I do know where those are right now, thank-you):

1. I reserved Thursdays (this could of course be another non-Sunday day of the week) for updating the Sunday closet. I would take a chunk of time out of this day to wash, iron and re-stock.

2. I required all our little people to change into other clothing the minute we got home and to Hand Over All the Sunday Things. Then I would return them to the Sunday closet.

This eliminated the chance that we would spend time under a toddler’s bed, reaching back into the dark recesses, to retrieve a barrette, that we might need to drive the car…. 🙂