I’m of the “life-changing magic of tidying up” religion and fully believe “clutter in your house is clutter in your life.” I like minimalism; I want to know where everything is at a glance. Mess and disorganization disturb me and disrupt my brain.
Before my apartment got flooded last week and before I had any plans of engaging in a surprise kitchen renovation, my end-of-summer accomplishment was organizing my desk drawers. Not my bathroom drawers, or my kitchen drawers (thank goodness because that would have been an utter waste) but just the 10 drawers which flank my desk, with pens, papers, old cards, rubber stamps, markers, and dozens of other arts and crafts and miscellaneous junk which easily stores in the top drawers on either side of my desk.
I dreaded organizing these overstuffed drawers despite the joy I knew would meet me at the end of the project. I knew it would take hours and I didn’t have storage solutions planned, but after another must-be-kept thank you card jammed the drawer, I knew it was time.
I took everything out of all 10 drawers and made hundreds of piles all over the living room floor (before they were flooded) and did as professional organizers advice, “put like with like.” I purged two garbage bags worth and moved around items I didn’t use as often to the back. I used little cardboard boxes as makeshift desk organizers. I fit everything back in, even leaving two drawers totally empty for me to fill up with future junk.
I sat back and felt … “eh.” I thought I’d feel euphoric, proud of my accomplishment, as I stared at my neatly arranged, labeled compartmentalized drawers. I waited to feel the rush of pleasure and comfort which comes with organization. I open and close the drawers, waiting for the “exhale of accomplishment,” taking in the boxes within boxes with the bold black font on crisp white labels. Instead, I think, “there are so many drawers that require this treatment.”
Once again, I seem plagued by my inability to “celebrate my little victories” or embrace minor successes. Rather than being proud of what I accomplished, I’m distracted by the secret disorganized clutter which lurks behind the other closet doors and the condition of the overstuffed hallway closet and pantry closet and linen closet and those four bathroom drawers which have developed a new texture from the combination of dust and spilled lotions.
I’m one of those people. Nothing is ever good enough for me, never clean enough, never organized enough. I want to close it up, box it up, have it labeled. I call this control; others may call it compulsive. Life keeps teaching me to loosen up a bit with its ironic sense of humor. Like a flood forcing a renovation on the one thing we already renovated (rather than the bathroom which still sits unfinished) or how the serious, uptight, professional girl married the laid back, artist clown.