Recently I was at a meeting and the facilitator asked a question, the gist of which was:
What one thing can you do to create more joy and happiness in your life?
Total no-brainer for me: I need to get better organized. It’s been a life-long problem, for sure. As a kid my room was always a disaster, and I left a trail throughout the house. The rest of my family are neat-freaks, and so consequently I mostly remember my childhood as a constant battle over cleaning my room. That battle continued through college and into my work life, where I have had offices that looked like a paper factory exploded and my car at times has looked like a homeless person lived in it. One might possibly think that right now, in fact.
Over the years I’ve gotten much better at work, but it could still use some attention. When I lived alone it didn’t really matter; the cat certainly didn’t mind clothes and fabric everywhere as they were just more places for her to sleep. Erik’s not a neat-freak, thank all that is high and holy, but he’s definitely had his moments when my clutter has gotten the better of him. If I could contain it to one room he’d be happy, but I still have that tendency to leave a trail as I move from room to room in the house. It’s really the only thing we squabble about, and so I’ve been trying to be better about it. The problem is, the more I try to organize the worse things seem to get.
I’m not a hoarder; I don’t really have trouble getting rid of things from an emotional perspective. And I’m not an inherently lazy person either, though I can procrastinate with the best of them (exhibit A: this blog post). I don’t have ADD or ADHD either (I actually asked my doctor about it last year and she laughed out loud, because of course I don’t). I think that part of it is just obliviousness; I simply don’t see things, or if I do see them they don’t bother me the way they bother other people. One of my nieces is like this too; she lives in her own little world just like I do. Apparently a side effect of this type of residency is a messy room.
Hearing me talk about my disorganization problem, someone recommended the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“. I had vague awareness of the author; I knew she was a Japanese woman who’s mantra is “don’t keep anything that doesn’t bring you joy“. I didn’t know there was a book, though, so after my hair appointment yesterday I trotted over to the bookstore and found a copy. It’s not a long book and I read fast, so before and after a short road trip to check out wedding venues (another post entirely), I finished reading it by bedtime. This morning I woke up and decided to tackle step one, which is going through all your clothes. The first thing you are supposed to do is put all of your clothes in one room.
I have clothes in the bedroom and the laundry room. Nothing wrong with that, really; most people would have clothes in those rooms too. However, I also have clothes in the bathroom. And then, because our bathroom is small and the hamper sits just outside the bathroom door in what is effectively Erik’s office, I have clothes in Erik’s office too. I also have clean clothes on the couch in the living room, waiting to be folded. I also have a laundry basket in the kitchen. I have a box full of clothes to donate in another room. And there are also clothes in the car, things like sweaters that I wear to work but forget to bring inside – but also clothes in the trunk that I have been meaning to donate for over a year but keep forgetting to drop off.
It may take me a week just to get everything in one room.
to be continued…