I bet every house has one. One in the kitchen for sure, the office probably. About twice a year it becomes such a tangled mess that I can put it off no longer. It takes me an hour or two to sort the screws, hooks, nails, paperclips, twist ties, pebbles, mouse-eaten sticks of gum and the rest of life’s detritus. I summon my organizational skills putting ‘like with like’ and ‘reducing redundancy’ as best I can, using these clever little phrases which I coined in my brief stint as a personal organizer years ago – way before it was hip. I once offered organizational help under the moniker of ‘Assess a Mess’. However enthusiastic I may be about assessing the messes of others, I would like to make it clear that it is much easier to do so for others than for oneself. But to clean up one’s own mess is far more fulfilling.
In the past, my not-yet-ex had said that I used housework as a means to put off ‘real’ work. I would agree. Sometimes I did. But I am one of those for whom ‘real work’ cannot successfully commence until my home is in relative order. My not-yet-ex thought it was a serious handicap, and as a result I used to feel quite guilty about it; I began to suspect it was my problem alone. Thankfully, what with all the connectedness we enjoy today, plus the glut of blogs about just plain living, I have come to learn I am definitely not alone. And so today I set about putting my house in order, backed by a clean and healthy conscience.
Establishing order today meant taking down the Halloween decorations and readying them for the trip downstairs. It meant cleaning the crud at the base of the toilet, darning my socks, vacuuming and dusting the house, bagging up several weeks of recycling, getting every last goddam sock paired and put away, washing the sheets on my kid’s bed and finally… sorting through the kitchen junk drawer.
Three hours later I am satisfied and cleansed. In some way I have declared, through my actions and their tangible results, that I can create a positive affect in my world. By taming those random, insidious objects that find their way into my ordered world I take back some control over my small universe. So there!
Now it’s off to my desk, to my ‘real work’. If only those results were as tangible as the satisfyingly clean lines of my junk drawer…