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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Befores and Afters

I would never even pretend to call myself an “organized” person. Ever. My Sweet Hubby (MSH) is, however, extremely neat and organized. Believes that whole “everything should have a place” concept. He's recently decided it’s cute to call me a “hoarder.” He has no idea what a true hoarder is because he’s never seen one of those “hoarder” shows. (I’m pretty sure we’d have to take him to our local Emergency Room if he did. I’m convinced his heart couldn’t take it.) I am not a hoarder, MSH. Or TLC. (She thinks I may be in the "beginning stages.") Nope. I absolutely am NOT.

When I clean, I don’t sort of clean. I really clean. The TRUTH, and NOTHING but the TRUTH? I’m not moved to be a Merry Maid more than once every 3 to 4 weeks. Please don’t get me wrong: I tend to our laundry in a timely manner, keep our bathrooms clean and make our bed—unfailingly—every day. Well, I’ve/we’ve done that all but about 143 days in the last 34 years. Yes, I literally sat here, at my desk, and figured that number out—forcing myself to remember the times I didn’t or couldn’t make our bed because of, primarily, illness and/or surgeries—that I was experiencing or MSH was experiencing. So one—or both—of us was in said bed and it, therefore, couldn’t be made. Yes, Hubby has helped me make our bed—a lot. And he’s made it on his own—without me anywhere around. Here, now, is a picture of the last time he made it. Under it is the example of how I’d prefer it to be made. He now has the second one on his phone. For future reference. He is counting, I can assure you, on the fact that I do my utmost best to make it myself. My way. He's very okay with this.

MSH's Way
Not wrong--just not completely correct

The ELC Way

When I dust, I move everything. I pick up each knick-knack/tchotchke. Not because I like to do this kind of "detail." I unequivocally despise this job. Up on our hill, with the hurricane winds that came to our part of Texas last year and never left, it feels positively useless. When I knuckle down and get it done, I typically do our entire house in two-ish days. Three days later—SERIOUSLY—many things look like I haven’t dusted them in weeks. It’s simply beyond frustrating.

I bought the above book several years ago. It's a great reference—I highly recommend it. I spent a day reading every word soon after I found it and have turned to it many times in the past seven years it's been in my bookshelf. I can go right to it when I can't remember if you're supposed to vacuum or dust first. (Guess I could be actually cleaning—instead of reading. Hmmm.) I can’t quite remember, but I think she might be one of those experts who tell us We-Wish-We-Weren’t-Called-Hoarders we should never handle our mail more than twice. You know that advice, right? You look at it and then either File 13/Trash it, or put it in a box that requires immediate action, or put it in a box that requires eventual attention—just not immediately. And the key? You keep workin’ those two boxes—constantly and faithfully.

My True Confession:

Probably the area I’m the WORST “Housekeeper/Un-Organizer” is my home office. I let things pile up for weeks. Stuff papers and mail in drawers and my closet. I hold on to the “Life” sections of the Fort Worth Star Telegram for…well…sometimes several months. Never finding those two or three hours I thought I'd find to read them. Then, one day, sometimes without a lot of warning, it happens. I’ll desperately need something I know is stashed in one of my “nooks." When I can’t find it, I throw my own little hissy fit. During this event, I say—to myself—and/or to Teddy Buddy Boo Bear, if he’s awake:

“EEEKKKKKK. That’s it. I’ve GOT to clean this office. Tomorrow. No later than next week. For sure. Period.”

I wanted to make y’all feel really good about your own housekeeping/organizational habits by showing you some pictures I took of my office about two months ago. I took a “before” of my office floor and an “after.” Same with my desk. But, the more I looked at the “befores,” the more embarrassed I became. Let me, instead, try to describe what I had done and how my office looked:

The Insanity that was my Organizing Process started with me literally and deliberately throwing everything I'd hidden, in all the places I hide cards, papers, mail, newspapers, magazines, etc., etc., etc., on my office floor. Kind of in the middle-ish. It was quite disturbing. When MSH saw it that night, I prayed I wouldn't have to give him CPR. I promised him it would look beautiful by the next day. Five days later, I actually got down to work. It took me eight hours. I threw about half of the stuff away and filed a quarter of it in my file cabinets or credenza. Stored the last quarter on a shelf in my closet in a plastic tub. It looked significantly better. MSH was somewhat impressed. I swore to him my desk—the last scary area—would be finished by the next day. At Seven days after that (I'm on the Road to He** with my Good Intentions. I realize this.), I finished it! Took me six solid hours (minus a lunch break). Praise the Lord, MSH said! Honestly, I'm sure he was convinced it'd be months before I got this task completed. I was way ahead of “his” schedule. He was/still is proud of me.

With my own pride, I show you, now, what my desk has looked like for several weeks. It is the BEST feeling, isn’t it, when you accomplish a big task? It’s fabulous for one’s self-esteem.

Go, moi!
Love my TLC Screensaver!!!

Have I inspired you? To go straighten a drawer—or a cupboard/cabinet? If you’d rather, you can sit on your couch and watch something on your telly (something educational, entertaining, silly, mindless, classic, sad—whatever floats your boat) or read a book. You can clean and/or organize something next week. Or year. It’s fine. Promise. I won't be judging you, that is for shizzle.



Autumn said...

I'm sitting in my jammies, watching the Post Oscar Party on GMA. I'll think about cleaning something. Later. Haha.

The Leightons said...

I'll betcha, Autumn, I was right there with ya, yesterday. Jammies and all. Love my Robin Roberts!!!

Since we worked hard to clean for our son/grandson/TLC's visit, I feel like I'm so ahead of The I'm-Not-A-Hoarder Game. (When, in reality, I could be going through a minimum of four closets and eight cabinets. Sigh. Instead, I've been watching GMA and Robin and the New Cast for Dancing With The Stars. Yippee! Wish that started tonight!!!)

Hope you have a Terrific Tuesday, Sweet Autumn Friend. Clean, don't clean. BE HAPPY.