Category Archives: Home Organization

My Junk: Not in the Trunk

When I got up one Saturday morning, the kids were not yet at full steam, and The Daddy was perusing the sale flyer from Lowe’s.

“Look at this!” he said, holding the flyer out so I could see. “A closet organization system for only $39!”

The picture looked something like this – some wire shelves and rods, etc.:

What does this really DO?

I looked blankly at him and the flyer. I clutched my coffee mug and tried in vain to activate my thinking apparatus. He continued to enthusiastically hold up the picture of the closet. “Wouldn’t that be great? We could get one for Benjamin’s closet and a couple for ours.”

I kept looking at it, but couldn’t manage to apply the idea or his enthusiasm to our own closets. “And how exactly would it help us?”

He looked at me quizzically, probably trying to figure out how a person who seems to have at least a moderate intellectual capacity could be so totally dense.

“Nevermind,” he sighed. “We can talk about it after you’ve had some more coffee.”

Which is never a bad plan of action, where I am concerned.

I’ve written about my inability to organize things here before. And I admit, it’s really a problem. For awhile, after we moved into the new house, we had so much more storage that my ineptitude wasn’t as obvious. In fact, there are so many drawers in the kitchen that I couldn’t even fill them all up. But empty drawers didn’t seem right at all. My solution? Multiple junk drawers. A kids’ junk drawer; a Me junk drawer; a junk drawer for rarely used items; a takeout-menu-and-school-stuff junk drawer; a junk drawer for coupons and stamps.

The Daddy finally caught on. “You know,” he said, “we really don’t need FIVE junk drawers.”

“But what else am I going to do with all that space?”

“There could be organized drawers, with specific purposes.”

“They are, kind of!” I proceeded to show him the loosely defined purpose of each drawer.

“But why are there rolls of Scotch tape in every drawer?”

“Because I always need tape at the last minute when I’m trying to wrap a gift before we rush out the door on our way to some party or another. If there’s tape all over the place, then I don’t have to open all the drawers looking for tape. Whatever drawer I open, BAM!  Tape is there!”

He looked at me with what could be best described as loving pity. “But couldn’t you put all of them in one drawer and then remember which drawer is the drawer that contains five rolls of tape?”

“Well, you nailed the problem right there…I would have to remember which drawer they’re in. You can see my dilemma.”

Indeed, he did not see my dilemma. I am lucky he loves me so much.

I predict that if I have to add remembering where the tape lives to all of the other important things I have to remember, something else is bound to suffer. Perhaps I’ll forget to close the garage door, or Benjamin will go to school without pants on, or I’ll wear mismatched shoes to work, and it will all be because that part of my brain was replaced by remembering where the tape resides.

I’m sure you’re thinking I’m just being dramatic here, but consider this: Last week, we decided to start allowing the dog free roaming privileges while we’re gone from the house (we previously crated her so she didn’t eat the drywall or the carpet or whatever she might do while she was still in the puppy phase). My morning routine when leaving the house was 1) get the kids’ shoes/coats/hats on, 2) get my stuff on, 3) gather lunches/backpacks/my purse, 4) throw a protein bar and my cell phone into my purse, 5) put the dog in her kennel, 6) turn off the kitchen light and shove gently guide the kids out the door with all of our various bags.

For some reason, not doing 5) put the dog in her kennel short-circuited my brain such that I was no longer able to remember my cell phone and protein bar.  I forgot those things for 2 or 3 days until my brain was able to build a bridge and get over it.

I’d like to think it will someday get better, but in reality it will likely get worse as I get older. I can just see myself, a little old toothless lady in a muumuu, wandering around our organized closet yelling, “WHERE’S THE TAPE AT, DADDY?!” and The Daddy shouting in my “good” ear, “IT’S IN THE KITCHEN! IN ONE OF YOUR DRAWERS. REMEMBER?” I’ll insist that I AM in the kitchen, and then he’ll have to convince me that I’m not and remind me where the kitchen is located. Exhausted by the mental strain, I’ll probably just lie down and watch Wheel of Fortune instead.

That man is a living saint, I tell you. A living saint.

It Even Looks Like a Roll of Tape

The Box Rebellion

Sunday

“Mama, we go HOME.”

“We are home, Ellie, this is our home now.”

“No, Mama, dis is new house, not home. I wanna go HOME now!”

“Our stuff isn’t there anymore, sweetpea, it’s here in this house. Your bed is here, your toys are here, Mama and Daddy and Benjamin are here. See?”

“I wanna go home.”

“This is where we live now, bunny.”

“No, thank you. It NOT.”

Monday

“Mama, we going home now?”

“Yes, we’re going to the new house. That’s our home.”

“No!” *pouting, tears*

We take her to the old house to show her that nothing is there anymore. Then we go home.

Tuesday

I turn left at the light onto our new street. Ellie is in the back seat clutching her doll.

“Mama, we go to the new house now?”

“Yep, we’re going to the new house now.”

“YAY!”

It was unprecedented. The 2-year-old was suddenly, inexplicably able to triumph over her typical rigid and maladaptive nature, adjusting to the new house in only three days. Benjamin did an equally good job. I’d love to take credit and write something profound about how I leveraged the concepts of consistent, compassionate parenting in order to effectively manage change in my children’s lives – but really, they did a good job all on their own with little input from me. The Lesson: Sometimes if you get out of your kids’ way and stop talking so much, things just fall into place.

(Now that I’ve said that, it’s certain that the first thing Benjamin will bring up to his future therapist is the time he was ripped away from the only home he ever knew, and everyone acted like it was no big freakin’ deal. Unfeeling monsters! Passive aggressive manipulators! Emotionally numbed-out zombies who eat children’s tender beating hearts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!)

Speaking of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I unpacked the kitchen first. Because BY GOD, WE HAVE TO EAT. Clothes? Medicine? Toiletry items? Books? Ppppffffftttt. I still haven’t unpacked all of that stuff. But all the food is right where I can find it.

Also unpacked and/or installed: televisions, blinds, wireless Internet, pet supplies, and sod. I’d love it if we were the kind of people who rushed to unpack their art studio first thing, or their cherished world-travel memorabilia, or even their home gym equipment…but alas, we are not those people. We are people who unpack the food and televisions first, and race to ensure that we have blinds up so the children sleep as long as possible in the morning.

I’ve given myself until the end of next weekend to get all of the rest of the boxes unpacked. The main motivation is that I’m tiring of conversations following this general template:

“Have you seen my _________?” (Fill in anything, here. Shampoo. Book. Health-sustaining medication. Cat.)

“No. Did you look in the box in the dining room?”

“Which one?”

“The one on the top? Or maybe it’s in the box in the coat closet.”

“No, I looked there. That box is full of cleaning supplies and toddler clothes.”

“Oh. Well, there’s a box of Christmas decorations in the half bath. It could’ve gotten thrown in there.”

“Christmas decorations in the half bath?”

“Yeah. I was carrying the box, and that’s where I got tired.”

“I’ll just go look in the garage. There are tons of boxes in there, still.”

“Good idea. Maybe someday we’ll actually be able to park a car in there!”

Or a bike, at least.

As usual, I’m being slightly hyperbolous. It’s not really that bad. There are not any boxes in the half bath (anymore). We are not missing the cat. Even now, there is room to park a bike in the garage. But anyone who has moved recently knows what I’m talking about. It’s like living in a convoluted cardboard maze. And no matter how carefully you label the boxes (oh, if only I’d labeled carefully), there is just no way to know where everything is until you’ve unpacked every last one of them.

Given my history, that will probably occur sometime around 2015.

MY SANITY IS IN ONE OF THESE

32 Points of Procrastination

It always starts the same way.  I throw open my closet doors with unbridled enthusiasm and every intention of ending up with a neat, organized space.

But then here’s how it goes, every time:

1. What the @&#*! is this?
2. Ohhhhh…right. This is part of that whatchahoozit baby carrier thing we got that one summer.
3. I wonder if we still have that?
4. Probably not.
5. *throws out the piece*
6. Hmmm…brown pants. I wonder if these still fit.
7. *tries on pants*
8. God, I wish I could still wear these pants. I wore these pants with that really soft sweater.
9. But I haven’t seen that sweater in awhile…I wonder if I left it at the cleaners?
10.*halfheartedly looks through sweaters*
11. Oh, but look! Here’s the purse that goes with it. Purses ALWAYS fit!
12. *sits down, rifles through purse*
13. Hey! My lost library card! *opens zippered pocket*
14. Lip gloss…old gum…antacids…appointment reminder. Must’ve carried this purse while pregnant. (Tipoff: Antacids)
15. Oooooh, I should sell all my maternity clothes in the garage sale! Where did I put those?
16. Although we could still have another baby…
17. Don’t be insane!
18. *shudders*
19. Well, hellllooooo, spring jacket! Too bad I didn’t find you this spring when I needed you.
20. And right there next to you, there’s the dress I thought I donated.
21. This must be the Bermuda Triangle section of the closet? Maybe I’ll find Hoffa, wearing the shoes I lost.
22. Not unless they’re cement shoes! HAHA
23. Somebody was just raving to me about their Bermuda vacation. Who was that? I wonder how long the flight is.
24. *picks up iPhone, Googles flight length to Bermuda* Only 2 1/2 hours!
25. *checks Facebook, Words with Friends, completes quick level of Angry Birds*
26. Okay, time to get serious. *stretches*
27. My pretty pink shoes…keep? Sell? Donate? They’re a bit specific. And slightly absurd.
28. I think the last time I wore them was to that fantastic restaurant with The Daddy.
29. Where we ate those delicious crab cakes.
30. And the chocolate mousse with the brandy in it.
31. I’m hungry.
32. *leaves closet in shambles to forage for food*

So there it is, that’s the pattern. I start cleaning out or organizing something and instantly develop a raging case of attention deficit disorder. My mother could go into a professional organizer’s house and show them what they did wrong, but I just spin my wheels and get confused and frustrated, and sometimes hungry.

The good news is that we’re moving in only 3 1/2 weeks, so I’m sure to find everything then. And this weekend is…drum roll…the garage sale! I’m really doing it this time. I even placed an ad and everything, so it’s really official and I can’t back out.

I can’t wait to see how much money I make selling maternity tops and old lamps!

MY ATTENTION SPAN: LOST OVER THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE