Inventory is something businesses and non-profits must do from time to time. I remember doing this once a school year as a teacher. It meant recording all the items in my classroom: every last little wooden chair, cubby shelf, and pack of chalk.

Little man #1 has this inventory thing all figured out. Every few weeks or so, he empties out one of his book bins or drawers and looks through each and every one. And I mean every last book.

The first couple of times this happened, I walked in and found a scattering of books all over the floor. Since Daddy and I have worked with him on not spreading out toys all over the place, I admonished him for pulling out everything and making a mess. The second time it happened, I did the same thing. By the third time, I held back-out of sight-and watched.

He wasn’t trying to make a mess. He was simply delving down to the depths to get to books at the bottom and conducting his own scholarly review of literature on the way. No book escaped thorough examination.

This he did quietly and methodically for over half an hour. When finished, he put every book back. And every time since, he’s always cleaned it up before moving on.

He was taking stock. Doing inventory.

Last weekend, the scenario was played out with his “book drawer” downstairs. This time, I knew what to expect. He got to the bottom, found a book he hadn’t seen in awhile and asked me to read it to him. I did. He and I also used the opportunity to clean out the drawer and sort out books; a job he seemed to really enjoy.

Two things to take from this experience:

1. It’s a good idea to sit back occasionally and carefully observe children. Much can be learned.

2. If I held myself to the same organizational expectations with which I hold him, my house wouldn’t look as though it needed a visit from an HGTV team.


If only I could be so lucky.