The Existence of Life in a School Locker

The other day I was leafing through the ad inserts in our local paper and I was struck by how many organizing tools were offered for sale. Obviously, this is a great time of year for retailers to take advantage of all our New Year’s resolutions to get organized.

It seems I fall into their target group because each and every year I resolve to get things more organized in my world. It doesn’t always happen like I envision, but it seems that somehow I’m still staying afloat, so maybe my resolutions are doing some good after all.

So when I sat down today and started thinking about what my blog post would be, I decided that the topic of organization at school would be very timely. And that’s when my thoughts strayed to a particular little girl at school quite a few years back.

Now, we all know that kids’ school lockers are tiny, cramped areas where a whole lot of stuff needs to be stored. I know that a lot of elementary schools have open cubbies for their students, but for many years, Hawthorne School only had metal lockers with doors that latched shut.

And in the case of this particular child, thank goodness for a latch! Or on second thought, maybe it would have been better without a latch. Because if items had tumbled out into the hallway sooner in the year, the last day of school wouldn’t have been such a surprise.

Traditionally, two of the tasks on the last day before summer vacation involve having the kids clean out their desks and lockers. So, as the hands of the clock crept toward dismissal time the on last day of school that year, things were looking good in this little girl’s classroom.

The teacher was pleased with the fact that all 25 desks were empty of belongings and were sparkling clean after a good scrub out by their owners. Next stop, the lockers.

Each child headed to the hallway with a large black plastic bag in tow. There were garbage bins placed strategically in front of the row of lockers, along with basins of warm sudsy water and rags. Now, time to get to it!

For the most part, the kids really like this ritual of clearing out and taking home. Usually, someone finds a lost treasure in the bottom of a locker or even a wayward homework assignment from several months back.

But, the winner for odd objects found in a locker during my years at school, was this sweet little girl. She bravely stepped up to her locker that day and opened it. One look inside told a story. And the story was a very complicated one.

Items were stuffed so tightly into the locker that it looked like they could stand in a rectangular shape on their own without the walls of the locker to hold them up. As our little girl started pulling at edges of sleeves and pieces of paper, the rectangular shape morphed from one solid object into individual items that had been crammed together.

It was amazing. Sweaters, jackets, stuffed animals, hats, mittens, one boot, old papers, a couple of books, a sock, and the list went on. But the most interesting thing of all was a long, gnarly, whitish, cord-like thing that wound it’s way through the items and did a rather nice job of holding things together.

Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be sprouting from the eye of an old, dried up potato!  “Oh, yah”, says the girl. “When I brought a potato for stone soup last fall, I guess I forgot to give it to my teacher.”

Well, there you have it. A great science experiment that shows that life can exist in a school locker!

And, that brings me to the point of my blog post today. Please help your child learn how to be organized. We know that being organized has a lot of benefits.

Think of the time you save when you don’t have to rummage through a ton of stuff looking for a certain item. Or, think how much easier it is to think clearly if there’s some sort of order to your life and you aren’t just living it helter-skelter.

I know that some children seem to be born organized and that’s amazing. But there are huge numbers of kids out there who have no idea how to even begin.

We teach kids so many things in life– manners, how to tie shoes, how to share, how to look people in the eye while talking to them, etc.  Why not give them a few basics on how to organize their belongings and their lives?

Here are a couple of links to great articles on helping kids get organized. Please take the time to click and read. Your kiddos will benefit hugely, not only now, but as they grow into adulthood.

Twelve Ways to Develop your Child’s Organizational Skills

Teach Your Kids a Valuable Life Lesson: Organization

Hope you enjoy the articles- I found them to be great. And now I’ve got to run get some bins for my closet while they’re still on sale! Thanks for stopping by today and please come back soon.

Cathie

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