Herbietown - Stations


I am a big believer in having well-stocked stations located throughout the house. Each station serves a distinct purpose and anyone approaching the station is perfectly equipped to perform whatever task that station was designed for.

Let me give you some examples.

A bathroom.

A person approaching a bathroom wants to go #1 or #2. The items he or she needs are a functioning toilet, toilet paper, a sink, soap, and a towel. That’s it. We have 3 bathrooms in our house.

The problem is when there is no toilet paper in the bathroom. Suddenly that station becomes useless. It’s worse than useless, it’s a hazard, because you might start down your stated activity and then find yourself suddenly stranded in mid-activity, hoping someone somewhere can spare a square.

We have Costco sized supplies of toilet paper in our linen closet – we must have have hundreds of rolls, but when they aren’t at “the station,” they are useless. No one wants to wipe their butt in our linen closet.

We would never buy this brand, but you get the idea.

There are other stations in our house. A baby changing station, for example. The necessary items are diapers, wipes, butt cream, and a garbage can. Not hard. When one of the items runs low, you need to replenish it. Then the next person that comes along can be a useful member of the household and utilize the station for its designed purpose. If it isn’t well-stocked, you end up bumbling around the house in the dark at 4am, teaching your baby every 4 letter word you’ve ever heard, banging your knees on every doorjamb and stepping on every dinosaur in the house.

As you might have guessed, one of the adults in my household is good at replenishing stations to create a useful household, and one of them is not.

Let me give you a few more examples:

Chairs. Every chair in the house should have a pacifier within reach, in case you’re holding the baby and he needs one. Tissues would be nice, too, in case there is a spit up. Certain specific chairs should always have the TV remote control near them, or at least an iPad, a laptop, or a magazine.

Dishwashing. Sponge, soap, and a system for dirty dishes (on the left) and clean dishes (on the right).

Coffee. Filters, beans, water, sugar, milk.

The entire house should be composed of a series of organized Martha Stewart style stations. Laundry, gift-wrapping, bill-paying, cooking, mail-sorting….life itself would be vastly easier if we just agreed on the specific items that belong at each station and made a commitment to keep them well stocked.

I imagine this is my version of a vibrator to a woman, in that it gives me way more pleasure than I would ever admit to.

My older boys are close enough in age that it is sometimes hard to tell whose clothes belong to whom. They share a dresser. So I took out my trusty Brother labeler and made clear sections for each boy’s clothes. I labeled them. “Jack’s Pajama’s” “Charlie’s Underwear.” A monkey could figure it out. When you’re doing the laundry, you sort the clothes by child, and then place them in the designated section.

And yet. There are times when even that most simple of tasks – dressing my children – leaves me 1 step away from a visit from Child Services. I say something like “Sweetie, do you know where Jack’s underwear is?” in the most passive aggressive voice I can muster. She knows full well that I know full well that it’s somewhere in the dresser, just not anywhere near my neat little label.

I told a colleague about my station theory recently and he diagnosed me with OCD.

He can kiss my ass. Twice. (Or four times…or whatever…as long as it’s an even number.)

It’s just that I am balancing an extremely busy life with a desire to relax and be creative. And if nothing is where it’s supposed to be, there is no time left to be creative. You spend all your time resenting.

Resenting whom? Nice try. I won’t name names, because that could get me in trouble in my house. And I might end up having to create a new “sleep on the couch” station.