Cups of Order

You can’t pour from an empty cup. So they say.

water glass

I agree to an extent, but which cup are we pouring from? Which cup are we pouring into?

During this time of year, everyone is putting resolutions to the test and at the top of most people’s list is getting organized.

I’m far from organized but, today, I had an epiphany.

I’m putting it to the test and maybe you will find it helpful in your own crazy life.

As I was doing the dishes, for the umpteenth time, I started thinking about how disorganized I am, how much I procrastinate, and how disappointed it all makes me feel.

Maybe your life doesn’t look like mine but you can fill in the titles with your own “cups.”

Okay, it sounds a little crazy, but I’m taking that phrase and using it as a tool.

Yes, I have a cup. I have many!

My husband needs a cup.

I’m a mom, so I have a cup for my kids and their general care and needs.

I have a house that needs tending so there needs to be a cup for that too.

I am an entrepreneur; I’ll need a business cup.

We homeschool, so a cup for that as well!

Then, my own personal cups for health, wellbeing, and fun! (separate cups and you’ll see why later)


Getting organized isn’t as simple as making a list, getting it done, and feeling great about yourself., not for everyone. It’s complicated, when life gets in the way, you find yourself lost, angry, depressed, and alone. I do, anyway.

If you’ve got your life in order and you’re happy with it as is, then this post is not for you; however, you may find some new tools to implement and improve on things, just don’t judge me and how pathetic my approach might seem. M’kay?

For me, it’s a mental struggle. I’ve talked about perfectionism getting the better of me in the past and while, I’ve overcome it a little, it still stifles my full potential.

This year’s one little word is “progress.”

So, to help get organized, I’m making lists. AAAH the dreaded lists. They go on and on and they’re everywhere, but I hardly ever check anything off them. It’s sad. Poor little lists being neglected, just like all the areas in my life I’ve left untended. Anyway, here’s the plan:

Decide on the cups. (mine are above) List them at the top of a page making columns.

Think and reflect about what that cup looks like when it’s full. Your ideal version of that part of your life. If you need to try a visualization exercise, try to quiet your mind, close your eyes and see yourself or the people or the space and how you imagine you would LOVE it to be.

From your perspective and seeing your ideal version of that aspect of life, choose some key words that reflect what that looks like and list them in the column for that cup. Do this for each.

Then decide what tasks will help achieve those words or your vision and list them too.

This brainstorming exercise can help us understand what we want for our self and our life. By writing it down, we’ll have something to reference back to and keep building on. As time goes on, our ideal life might change, as life often does.


With all these cups and all the hats many of us wear, from careers to caregivers, pet owners and parents, How, you ask can we pull this off?

Letting go of perfection and accepting that you may not be able to FILL all the cups everyday will be hard, but necessary for piece of mind and easing the stress of it all.

So, my plan is to not be too concerned with filling any cups to the brim, but at least pouring a little into each as needed, whether it be every day or once a week.


So, let’s get to it.

You’re chart of cups will be different from mine, but I’ll use today as an example:

Husband – Kids- Home- Work-Homeschool- Self care- Health- Fun

CUP: Husband- He works in the afternoons, so our time is limited. In the morning, filling his cup is quite simple, a hug and a smile and he’s good. Later, I’ll send him a thoughtful text “I miss you” and when he comes home, I’ll greet him with another hug and a kiss.

Cup: Kids- There’s six of them, so that means six individual cups of love and affection, wiping faces and hands, feeding, reading, playing. My plan of attack happens sporadically throughout the day and combines with my homeschooling cup. Kids, are resilient. They need a few basic things and their cup is FULL. The most important thing for a parent to do is listen. Filling their cups requires undivided attention, so put your phone away, turn the TV or Roku off and just meet eyes with them. Ask them a compelling question and respond accordingly. Of course, food, water, a roof and clothing are all part of being a parent and supplying those things day in and day out might seem like filling a kids cup but not in this sense. Your warmth, compassion, understanding and attention are the four most important things to fill their cups with.

Cup: Home- This cup is my hardest to fill. I take the position that the dust isn’t going anywhere, I’ll just get back in the bed later, and we can use clean dishes out of the dishwasher. I talk myself out of filling this cup until company is coming, then it’s a Chinese fire drill to make it look like we don’t live here. Sheesh! So for the Home cup, I’m committing myself to let the kids help, which fills their cups a little too, spending time with me, learning, and feeling important. (simply thanking them for balling folding up the washcloths makes them feel good) I’m also going to follow the philosophy of “do it now” I read in an inspirational blog about organizing. Don’t forget, I’m a huge procrastinator! Huge! So, in my earlier post about keeping house, I’m going to take my own advice and make the bed first thing in the morning. And when the washer or dryer dings, I’ll drop what I’m doing to tend to that monstrous mound of moldy laundry (it’s not really moldy, I just liked the alliteration) Progress is getting one load of laundry a day washed dried, folded, and put away. Progress is keeping the sink empty. Progress is having someone drop by ANY time and not feeling ashamed or embarrassed because we LIVE here.

Cup: Work- I feel like I’m constantly pouring into this cup and all the others dry up because of it. I’ve taken a long break from my Etsy shop and turned down a couple of jobs to sit back and get some perspective. Getting organized doesn’t just mean filing a few papers and sorting through nick-knacks, it’s a mental practice as well. Figuring out where all the best things in life fit into your days, weeks, months and years. So I’ve stopped pouring SO much into this cup and started prioritizing what I do pour by necessity and timeframe.

Cup: Homeschool- For me, this cup will only get bigger as time moves on. Currently, I have two school age students I report to the state for and two school age that are still under the radar. The little two are at a learn-through-play stage and we’re pretty set on a schedule for everyone learning and growing at home. This cup could be a little fuller by way of field trips and excursions, but right now it’s winter, and I’m not lugging everyone down our icy hill for an hour-long activity, 3 hours away. That said, we’ll be cooking together, and reading together, integrating real life skills in our learning.

Cup: Self- care- As a mom, this cup is a little more difficult to pour into. I’m working hard to take time for my self, fixing my hair or painting my nails, even rubbing lotion on these tired hands is a daunting task because I think of all the things that I could be doing instead. Making time to exercise or take a nap needs to be a priority. The plan, at least once a week (to start), I’ll devote one hour for self care, whether it be a bath, a massage, a manicure etc. and as time allows, it may become more frequent but scheduling a block of time out just for me will be my way of filling this cup, if only just a little.

Cup: Health- I’ve battled several symptoms and struggles over the years from depression, to thyroid disease. I’ve taken action to change my eating habits and environmental toxins to alleviate some of it, but I have a long way to go. Making sure I drink at least 2 glasses of water everyday is literally going to fill up this cup for me. I struggle to ingest anything besides caffeine until 2 pm so focusing on cleansing and keeping hydrated will help fill this cup.

Cup: Fun- If we can’t let our hair down and have a little fun once in a while, what is all the rest of it for? This cup is a little easier to fill with friends like mine. We get together often and a night out with the girls never disappoints! Filling this cup is not exclusivly having time away from everyday life, though. Adding a few elements of fun to some of the mundane tasks, fills multiple cups at a time. An example is playing a little music and opening a window. Papa bear is doing dishes in the kitchen, I’m vacuuming, the kids are picking up and folding some laundry… and there’s music. The melody and upbeat tune kicks things up to an all out dance party while doing our tasks. Guess how many cups this fills? ALL OF THEM! The look between me and my husband during the festivities fills his cup. We’re all dancing and singing together fills up the kids’ cups, the house work is getting done, the little ones are learning life skills,  the sawdust is getting vacuumed up, I’m getting a little exercise, the air is getting cleaner and we’re all having fun!!!


I hope this post helps to inspire you to fill your own cups and please leave a comment with your own tips for resolute organizing and life skills.


Have a great day!



Published by MaMaDuCk

Mom, wife, artist, spreader of joy!

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