Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Would You Like To Rent Space in My Mind?

I bought another book on clutter today. Aside from being disorganized, it's one of my worst failings. Buying books on clutter and then neglecting to read them. I practically have a whole Clutter Section in our relatively organized library! Hubby is the one who organized our books. I think they should be shelved randomly so you can always get a little thrill out of what you might come across next, like the Encyclopedia of Baseball vs the Encyclopedia of Italian Cooking. Or the Consumer Bible vs How To Avoid Hell. Obviously I would like to be more organized. I don't mean to add even more clutter to our lives by saving all these books, articles and newspapers on the subject, and then not finding time to read them. I HAVE read parts of some of them. One was even psychoanalytical-based, and suggested that no matter how I feel on the surface, that DEEP DOWN my clutter habits are some kind of hostility that I am subjecting the world to. Now I didn't buy that argument at all. First I said, "Oh, great, a feeling SO deep-seated in my psyche that I can't even FIND it, like everything else in my life!" But this would also mean I had deep-seated hostility toward: my family, my husband, my previous bosses, and each and every roommate I've ever had. Basically anger toward everyone and everything, including, I guess, my mechanic, if my glove box and car trunk are any indication. And if this hostility is so deep-seated that I can't even find popcorn kernels in my mental cushions, well, it's one Horror Movie I'm not going to stay in the theater for. So that book was good for a laugh. I have my own theory. My tendency toward disorganization is more a function of how my mind works. It zips all over the place, picking things up, throwing them down, combining concepts in weird combinations. I do the same thing with the objects in my life. If my IDEAS are in a pile just simmering below the surface of rational thought, why should the laundry or the mail be any different? Now I realize this sounds like an excuse, bordering on a rationalization. But really, I am not trying to justify my Cluttered Self. I'm trying to explain it. So that way I will come to realize that I will never be able to think differently and thus become naturally organized. It's just impossible. I keep buying clutter books so I won't have to go through the Miscellaneous Pile, or the Junk Drawer or the Scary Box in the Garage. What I really need to do is to make myself a list. I am good at accomplishing things on my list. So if all my organized friends and relatives could just help me come up with a good enough list, I think I could become organized based on this list as long as my brain didn't have to become actively engaged in the process. Take for example our friends Katrena and Dave. They are total opposites of us. They utilize spreadsheets. For budgeting, for planning, for figuring out what they need to do between now and when they retire. (Note: they are nowhere near retirement age. They have a 4- and 5-year-old) Katrena has given me a reminder card utilizing words and illustrations of what I need to do in order to get our 5-year-old off to school fully equipped each morning. I think she senses that he will miss out on a few years of education, or may go to school sans shoes, if she does not intervene. Then there was the time that we had to sign the 5-year-old up for tee ball, and waited until the last half hour of the last weekend for signups. On the way back from doing this I saw Dave tending to his lawn, so rolled down my window and said maybe THEIR five-year-old would like to play tee ball. They managed to get him signed up with only FIFTEEN minutes to spare. And I'm sure they can't understand why we are not literally homeless with our Disorganization Problem. If the situations were reversed they would have let us know, like, a YEAR in advance and would've had the sign up forms ready. They may even have given us reminder phone calls. (The only thing I will say on our behalf is that we were out of town for the first weekend of signups. Still. It was a Typical Performance) Hubby is not quite as disorganized as I am. He is very good about subjects of importance. Anything related to work, bills, licensing, even mortgage papers, he is good about knowing where all that is, and is completely on top of it. The only time the mortgage papers ever get lost is when I borrow them for some ridiculous reason. But he does lose his shoes with frightening regularity. I love BEING organized. I just can't seem to achieve this state with any consistency. Life is best when my mother or mother-in-law come around and help me straighten up. Then we have a semblance of order, and even know who is in the house without doing a head count. So I have to take it hour by hour. Minute by minute. List by list. Clutter book after clutter book. Three of my brothers are married, and they are all married to extremely organized women. Perhaps because they have seen what disorganization looks like. Also Hubby's sister is very organized. I am the only one sending my kid off to school in a uniform shirt FROM THE WRONG SCHOOL. (This has only happened once so far.) What I'm saying is, this is a cry for help. Somebody help me make a list! Thank you very much.

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