What’s Your “One Thing”?

posted by Andrea | 05/23/2014

one thing

Even if this is the very first time you’ve ever visited my blog, you’ve probably already guessed that I’m big on organization. Yup, it’s my “one thing”.

I thoroughly enjoy keeping our home organized and I’m always looking for new projects to tackle. Although the end results of a clean, organized, and simplified home are what keep me going, I really do like the PROCESS of getting organized as well.

In fact, if I ever have an unexpected pocket of free time, I will almost always spend that time cleaning and organizing something in my home. Not because I’m obsessed with having a clean home… and certainly not because I have nothing better to do. It’s simply because that’s actually what I enjoy doing.

For real!

A couple days before Simon was born, my sister surprised me by taking Nora for the afternoon and bringing her back after dinner while Dave was gone at a basketball game. I was 9-months pregnant, huge, and pretty uncomfortable; however, I was practically cleaning and organizing before Nora was out the door. In just a few hours I managed to clean out and re-organized the fridge, fully dust and vacuum the entire house, change and wash the bedding on 3 beds, do a couple loads of “clothes” laundry, tidy up my closet and dresser drawers, and even mop the kitchen/dining room floors for the first time in ages.

I realize part of that was probably “nesting” (Simon was born 5 days later) but part of that was simply because my “one thing” is organization. Yes, I realize how weird and nerdy that might sound to many of you, but it’s true.

When given the choice between most leisure activities and staying home to clean and organize, my preference is almost alway the cleaning and organizing. Obviously I don’t always make that choice… but if I’m honest, that would be my choice almost every time :) I don’t think that’s a bad thing, however I also don’t expect everyone to agree with my choices or to chose those same choices for themselves.

Organization is just my “one thing” — the thing I will almost always make time for no mater how stressed or busy I am.

In fact, the act of cleaning and organizing is actually quite relaxing for me. It totally de-stresses me after a long day or during very busy periods of life (yes, this often works to my advantage).

Over the years, I’ve often felt embarrassed when someone makes a comment about how neat or organized my home is — like I need to defend myself and explain that organizing is just one of my favorite things to do.

It’s actually worse now that I have kids because now I get comments like “wow, your house is so organized… I’d like to be that organized but I’m too busy with my kids,”  subtly implying (or maybe I’m just inferring) that I’m taking too much time away from my family to keep my home organized.

I cringe when I hear those comments (I wrote a whole post about that here), and I usually question my judgement for about 5 seconds before realizing that THEIR “one thing” must not be organization.

Maybe THEIR “one thing” is making all their food from scratch, exercising, a specific hobby, reading, participating in volunteer opportunities, going for coffee with friends, coming up with super creative and fun activities for their kids/grandkids, couponing and finding ALL the best deals, making food for those in need, participating in community groups and activities, getting involved in a local school, working outside the home, etc.


The fact of the matter is we all have 24 hours a day and we are all busy. However, we (thankfully) all have different priorities and different “one things”.

Just because I really enjoy organizing my home doesn’t mean I’m any better or worse than anyone else, it doesn’t mean I’m neglecting my children and it doesn’t mean I should feel bad. It just means that I enjoy cleaning and organizing so I make the time to do it as much as possible.

I don’t know about you… but it’s really easy for me to judge others who are not as clean and organized as I am, especially when I see them “wasting” so much time working on another hobby, “wasting” an hour at the gym every day, “wasting” so much time in the kitchen, etc. etc.

Surely, if they have time to make every single meal from scratch or work on crafts all afternoon or get to the gym every morning, they should also have the time to keep their home neat and organized.

However, they probably think the same thing about me…

Why does she “waste” so much time cleaning and organizing but never take the time to exercise, enjoy a fun craft night with friends, or spend all day in the kitchen?

The point is we all have different gifts, passions, and priorities; and just because we choose to spend our time differently doesn’t give others the right to judge us. I think for me, just realizing what my “one thing” was helped me to also realize when I was judging others.

Based on the number of emails I get from exhausted moms wondering how I have the energy to keep things neat and organized with 2 kids, house projects, and an at-home business, I think it’s important for me to explain how much I really do enjoy organizing. As I mentioned above, it actually de-stresses and relaxes me. I use it as a reward to do not-so-fun tasks throughout the day (yes, really!)

So before you go feeling bad about how much you might procrastinate in the cleaning and organizing areas of your life, just remember, that’s MY “one thing”.

What about you… what’s YOUR “one thing”?

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  1. susie


    I think I could ditto the comment above me! My one for sure is to be outside and to see new things. The winters are hard on me for those reasons. I like to be organized but I am the only who cares in my family. You are lucky Dave helps so much too. All my husband can think about is hunting and fishing!


  2. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup


    Thank you for writing this post! It encouraged me so much. Why are we so quick not only to judge others, but to compare ourselves to them? That only leaves us feeling inadequate and frustrated. Like you said, we can’t all have the same “one thing”. I think this is very important for all of us to remember. Most of us work hard and do the best we can. That in itself should be enough.


  3. Deni


    Gardening is my therapy!!! I love to water, weed and nurture my flower gardens. Getting outside, having some fresh air and taking in all the beauty is what feeds my soul. I live in a mostly retired community, and usually my neighbors are outside as well doing the same thing. Spending time with them is a joy! I’m blessed to be a SAHM and everything pertaining to Home is what I love to do :)


  4. Kim


    I feel the same way you do. I love to clean and organize. It’s my therapy for my soul. I actually have a teenager who comes over every week and takes my kids and plays with them for three hours while I work on a project I can’t do while I’m all alone with them. It’s the only time I get to myself ever. Time where I can clean my home for my family and make sure I’m feeling comfortable in my own surroundings. It house is messy I feel life is out of control so yeah it’s my one thing.


  5. Hope


    My One thing is obviously reading. But many other things come before organizing – the gym, doing more of my work at home (research), learning how to be a mom (as in reading blogs like yours…), etc…


  6. Susanne


    I love indoor and outdoor household “projects”. I am always MAKING something…..unfortunately, that usually means a mess! I would love to be a neat and tidy person ( and my house IS usually presentable!), but I am just not wired that way! To each his own, I say!


  7. Laura



    My thing is yoga. I try to go about 3 times a week. It’s good for my mind! I’ve had a few of my mom friends mention that “it must be nice to go to yoga 3x a week…..”, but I’m sure they have their “things” too. My husband’s thing is golf, so we both try to make sure there is time in the schedule for both of our things. Our house is a bit messy, our yard goes too long without a mow sometimes, but that’s ok.


  8. Deb


    You are my kindred spirit! My family thinks I am nuts, but I really cannot sleep or leave the house when it is in disarray. We have company all the time, just had a house guest leave on Thursday who has been here all month, had a young couple over yesterday and 20 people today. I love company and hospitality but I cannot function in clutter and disorganization. My friend asked me if I took stuff to Goodwill every day because mine was the most clutter free house she has ever been in. I cannot do anything else when my house is a mess, I sit down and see a cobweb and I am up getting it down. I think there might be name for my disorder in a Psychology book somewhere! I also love to watch Hoarders (or visit my parents who could be on that show!)…. tee hee hee, it definitely is NOT genetic.


  9. Missy


    I can’t tell you how often I hear “wow, I wish I had time to read.” I have two busy kids and a full time job, plus numerous volunteer activities, I’m as busy as anyone else I know, but reading is that “one thing” I make time for. If I don’t, I will go insane. Nobody wants that. Why don’t people realize how insulting that statement is?


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, exactly. I don’t enjoy reading so I don’t make time for it — but I do make time for lots of other things (and then get the same comments like you get) “Wow, I sure wish I had time to keep my house clean.” I want to say “you DO have time to keep your house clean, you just don’t use the time you have to clean!”


  10. Jennifer


    My “one thing” is cooking. I spend a lot of time planning and prepping for extravagant dinners, but I love to be in the kitchen and I love dicing, mixing, and the challenge of perfecting a meal. My husband and toddler hang out and both join in doing something. We have a beer (not the toddler), laugh and talk about our days and everything under the sun. We prefer to stay home but love gourmet restaurant meals, so we try to copy our favorites. It’s a fun evening in the kitchen. BUT I do get sorrowful at times and want our house to be neater and cleaner. So, I pledge to make only 30 min meals all week and do more housekeeping, but I can’t seem to get out of the kitchen, even if the meal took 30 minutes. Maybe if my husband and son would join in the cleaning like they do with the cooking…….but it seems to be how we’ve developed our family time, around meals and hanging out in the kitchen. Wish I could wiggle my nose and have a clean house. You certainly inspire me!


  11. Christine


    I have 2 things. Walking and reading. Reading is something I do every single night before bed. Even if it is just a page, I read. It has been my constant from early teenage years to now when I’m 48. My other ‘thing’ is walking. Preferably with one or both of my dogs. I walk year around down our country road, no matter the weather. Well, honestly I won’t go in absolute pouring rain, or extreme heat, but otherwise I go. I always feel better after a walk. Always. Mentally and physically. It’s my thing.


  12. Susan F


    Hi! My one thing is….washing dishes! I also love organizing my home. I also love weeding out clutter. I love doing laundry too. Same here, i would rather stay home and clean instead of going out. But i do go out to unwind every so often…perhaps to recharge so that i can get cleaning and organizing and doing household chores and washing dishes again. Thank you for your blog…and sp now i know i am normal. Haha. Thank you!


  13. Sarah


    This post really encouraged me to rearrange my thoughts about my one thing. I love to purge, reorganize, and make new plans for our home as seasons of life change. I’ve felt that I was just being (insert most any negative adjective here). After reading this and marinating on it awhile, know that I do all of it because it’s something I enjoy and I’m driven to make our home the best it can be for our family. Thanks for writing this. I read it when first published, but didn’t take time to comment; however, the message has stuck with me (obviously, since it’s been over 2 months).
    Blessings from Virginia


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Sarah! So glad this post has encouraged you (and stuck with you for so long!)


  14. Links I Love from Andrea


    […] you ever asked yourself what’s your one thing? I did after reading Andrea’s post. I’m still mulling over the answer but it made me […]

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