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The Duggar Family Interview, Part 4: Stay (Mostly) Organized

We're continuing our weeklong interview series with the Duggar family. In Part 3, they discussed chores. In Part 4, we'll see how they stay organized and how they let stuff slide.

4) Everything Has Its Place (But Be Flexible)


"I had to teach my children, "You move on. Mommy is dealing with a crisis and it's important.'"--Michelle


Michelle Duggar: I didn't used to be an organizer, but in desperation is when it came! My mom was [organized]. She always had 'a place for everything, and everything in its place,' and I think I took that for granted growing up. When I got married and was in my own home, I realized I had to do something. Because my mom had a place for everything, I thought, "Okay. We have to have a place for the scissors. And the hairbrushes! And they need to be there!" The greatest challenge is getting them back where they belong, literally. Having that place for everything helps, so we label. So if I'm not the one in charge of the kitchen at the time, there's no question, because it's labeled and they know where the knives are supposed to be and the scissors are supposed to be, or the hair brushes in the bathroom… It makes life a lot more organized.

But we realized that with little children, you have got to be flexible. If you were so organized, you'd go nuts -- you really would -- with little ones. Everything is urgent when they are little. And so you have to stop and take time to kiss the owie, and love on the one that got bonked on the head because somebody took their toy. You've got to work that out, so that bumps your schedule a little more. I had to teach my children, "You move on. Mommy is dealing with a crisis and it's important." For a little one, it doesn't matter. Everything is a crisis for them. I've had to have the older ones go on and work through their schedules as I am dealing with all these little guys, which is the most important thing.

How do you organize their activities?

Jim Bob Duggar: We try to simplify the extra activities, like all our children take piano lessons and violin lessons. They are involved in a Christmas ensemble.

MD: Music is a big thing in our home. Our teachers come to our house. Our piano teaching is done on Wednesdays, so everybody gets their lessons then. On Fridays, we have two people that come in and teach violin lessons. It takes us all day to get through everybody's lessons.

JD: On Friday nights, or Saturday nights, we go to the Community Center. We have an ice hockey rink and we play broom ball on the ice hockey rink, and sometimes we go ice skating, too. Broom ball is like hockey. Sometimes we use two balls and we'll have at least a dozen people playing. Saturdays, though, are usually days we just take off and don't have anything on the schedule.

MD: It's just a day of family day.

JD: We may go to the park.

MD: No jurisdictions, we just let it go. Saturday night, we jump back in and kind of straighten everything up and pull everything together before we go to church on Sunday morning. But all day Saturday, we sleep in. We might have a picnic, or a bike ride, or go hiking.

JD: Or visit another family.

Part 1: Finding Me Time
Part 2: Managing Expectations
Part 3: Chore Charts!
Part 5: Money Saving Tips