Originally published in the Miami News-Record on April 3, 2016.
I came to a realization this week: I will never be organized.
It’s not for lack of trying, mind you. I just feel like I’m fighting a battle that literally cannot be won. Ever. By anyone. Even the most organized person on earth has that one secret area of their life that is never quite where or how they want it to be or look. And don’t tell me about the award-winning book by Suzy Homemaker or the foolproof method taught by Linda Betterthanyou. Total Organization is the impossible dream. I love FLYlady (check her out at www.flylady.net) and think her program is amazing. And I get super duper amazingly organized when I’m following her steps. But then suddenly I find myself just…..not. Not doing it, not following it, not trying, not FLYing, just….not. Because my life tends to be a little more out-of-control than her “Control Journal” allows for. Oh, I do have a Control Journal – I dusted it just the other day. After I found it peeking out from the bottom of a stack of papers and bill stubs that needed to be filed. In 2014.
Just this past week our youngest daughter had her wisdom teeth removed. I cleared my calendar for the week knowing that she’d be convalescing and that was the perfect excuse to not commit to leaving the house for at least the work week. My goal was to get the file cabinet cleaned out to where only the current year’s stuff is in there, get April and May’s school assignments in my planner and begin the countdown to The Last Day Of School (yes, it must be written in capital letters and it must be said with extreme reverence), get the craft cabinet and my sewing stuff cleaned out and organized, and get the kitchen island and the dining room table cleared of anything that doesn’t belong there.
As I write this, it’s nearly 11pm on Thursday night. The file cabinet is cleaned out and my sewing stuff is organized. That’s as far as I got. The school assignments are still in their purgatory of being on paper, but not officially in the book. The craft stuff was partially cleaned out and organized, but then I found some pretty scrapbook paper and a Pinterest tutorial on how to make origami bookmarks and well, let’s just say I need to read more books to utilize all the bookmarks I made. Like, about 126 more books than I’m reading now. And my goal to rid the island and table of things that don’t belong there? Well, it seems that both surfaces have been occupied by all that stuff for so long everyone just assumes that’s where those things belong. I can assure you, though, that the three cans of spray paint, a coupon from the vet for heart worm medicine, four mini candy bars from someone’s Christmas stocking that no one claims yet everyone hollers when I head for the trash with them because they “might want to eat that after dinner”, four broken pencils, roughly four dozen paper clips, a container of bb’s, four opened packages of Juicy Fruit (and oh yeah, my Control Journal) don’t actually belong there. I think.
Funny thing is, though, in the midst of the clutter and apparent disorganization, there is a system, a method to my madness, if you will. If Paul decides he needs the instruction manual on a battery charger he bought in 1998 or a check stub from last year, I can go right to the file (or pile) and pull it out. If Sam needs a copy of his high school transcript, I can tell you immediately that I did not file it the last time he needed a copy of it, but instead laid it on my desk to file it later and can go to the correct pile and produce it for you in less than a minute.
So I suppose that while I’ll never win an award for my mad organizational skillz, nor will I ever be featured in House Beautiful, I do have a very alphabetized DVD collection. And if you need an origami bookmark (or twelve), I’m your girl.