Thursday, September 8, 2011

Home organization and mental disorder... same or different?

My pulse quickens at the mere sight - is that wrong?
September is here, it’s back-to-school season; time to get organized! No more lazy days hanging around in your pajamas til noon. No more kids without schedules waiting to be taken by surprise with your creative and spontaneous ideas for summer fun. No more neglecting those bills until the insurance company calls to tell you that your coverage will end tomorrow if you do not pay your monthly premium. It’s time to tackle the mess, the clutter, the piles of paper you have been ignoring all summer. I need renewal, a clean slate. I need to see the surface of my desk. I need a trip to The Container Store.

Yes, that’s right, if I’m going to sort, categorize, file and recycle I am definitely going to need some colorful plastic bins, some designer file folders and maybe some of those dividers for my sock drawer so I can fold my socks into nubby little sock-packages and wedge them into tidy columns according to color. Oh how I’ve missed my argyle socks while I thwocked around in my flip-flops all summer. And now I’ll finally be able to find them!

True confession, people, I have a bit of a container fetish. And by fetish, I do not mean that I have any unnatural, uh… “romantic” fantasies about the containers. I do mean that I have an odd, but certainly not unnatural reverence for and devotion to containers, preferably small ones, but really any ones will do. I like boxes with hinged lids as well those with removable lids. I like the feel of the box as I open and close it, peering into its emptiness and imagining all of the wondrous items that could be categorized and compartmentalized into the tiny space. But I also like bags; bags with zippers or bags with no method of closure so that your fascinating items can peek out the top and entice passers-by with visions of your sophisticated lifestyle. I like jars, particularly those with lids that screw and unscrew smoothly. If it’s one of those sticky lids then you can just forget it. I like folders and envelopes. I like bins, but if there is no lid and, therefore, no way to stack them, they can make me a little testy. My favorite boxes are the colorful ones, stacked in a rainbow of translucent towers built from brilliant, box-like jewels. Jewels that can hold other jewels. Or bank statements. Or all those delicious, wholesome recipes you are always cutting out with the intention of cooking nourishing meals for your family. Well, actually, you might want to invest in a laminating machine so that those recipes can be properly preserved and then organized in a sturdy binder according to food groups. After you have prepared each recipe, you should probably create some kind of rating system that indicates ease of preparation, degree of deliciousness and total carb, fat and protein content. Then when you need to whip up something quickly and will settle for a merely ho-hum meal with major carbs, you will be able to easily locate just the right recipe by consulting the index of the nifty rating system.

But I digress. Before I get busy consuming environmentally questionable and potentially petroleum-based plastic boxes or just driving to The Container Store to wander the aisles and stand there idiotically opening and closing boxes and bags and jars and bins and stuffing my hand into the empty receptacles, I just want to leave you all with one of my favorite home organizing tips. You will want to file this one away for sure. You know how you run across certain items, like an article on teaching your kids the value of money or a friend’s brochure for her new business that you know with certainty you will never patronize but you cannot bear to throw it away because it came from your dear friend? And you know how such pesky items refuse to be neatly categorized for filing away under any of the other super good labels you’ve created? Well, I like to keep a box, a nice flat one, just the right size for storing your average 8.5” x 11”-sized piece of paper and, in my case, a colorful one (mine is yellow) where I collect all my difficult-to-categorize pieces of paper. There usually aren’t that many of them, as well there should not be if you are really thinking through your categories. Store the box in a cupboard or under a desk and forget what is inside. Look through it once per year, at most. When you next open the box and sift through the contents, you will be pleased to find that most of the stuff is totally outdated and completely meaningless and you are now free to recycle it. Now doesn’t that feel better? I simply adore the feeling of getting organized. Happy September.

1 comment:

  1. I am definitely passing this post onto a friend with a similar fall fetish. You crack me up.