On Time and Stuff (and hey, want some shoes?)
I consider myself an organized person.
My former office mate, whose desk was almost spotless (even his stapler and paper clips were kept neatly in a drawer organizer), might beg to differ, having witnessed my piles and post-its and more piles. But I stacked neatly. I knew where things were.
And then we had triplets.
And then we decided to remodel our basement.
Our basement is under renovation so we don’t have to Shop-Vac up water that seeped through the carpet and pad from a hard rain (though Dylan did warn us that it was a-gonna fall…).
Which means that everything that used to be stored out of sight is now either in storage at our gracious friends’ house (in their basement), or in our bedroom and office/guest bedroom/crap storage room.
Our house wasn’t so horribly disorganized. I mean, I have been to homes that are clutter-sasters, the owners unwilling to part with items due to sentimentality or frugality or some other reason unfathomable to me. I am a ruthless purger.
But you know those houses where no matter what time or day you walk in, things are organized? Because the people living there have, like, systems, and they actually maintain the systems all the time? My sister-in-law AJ is like that. It’s amazing, and slightly intimidating.
I aspire to this. It makes me feel better to live in a clutter-free space. But we have so little time. When exactly do we claw our way out from under the piles–after the dishes are done, the e-mails responded to, the how-was-your-day-honey conversations had?
Since starting my part-time job this September, I had to figure out some things. First was how to feed myself and my family. Once we got that down after a few weeks, it was will I exercise or blog ever again? I strategized and got a schedule that worked.
And a few weeks ago, I realized that I was keeping up with the basic necessities as well as I could, but all the other things–the organizing, the paperwork, the volunteer commitments, the stuff that was backlogged in August–kept piling up. And piling up. And ohmygodI’mdrowning.
I couldn’t find socks because I hadn’t put away three loads of laundry. My sunglasses got buried in what is ironically termed our “organization station” on our kitchen counter. I wasted time I don’t have hunting things down. Everywhere I turned, I was tripping over STUFF: things we didn’t have a place for, or didn’t know what to do with, or were holding until we could donate it or give it back. SO. MUCH. STUFF.
And then our former nanny, the inimitable Abbie, volunteered with her boyfriend to take our kids out for most of a day so we could work on our house kid-free.
On this Saturday, after the kids left with Abbie and Gavin for the Children’s Museum, we spent an hour going over paperwork from six months ago. We spent an hour and a half cleaning out our bedroom, including the closet, which housed:
- approximately 82 dry cleaner hangers I’ve been meaning to bring back to the dry cleaners’
- enough cat hair to construct another cat
- a pair of shoes, not mine, that I borrowed probably four years ago and whose owner I have yet to find (are they yours? I can ship them back to you)
- Jimmy Hoffa
And then, Alan and I–gasp!–went out to lunch. In our neighborhood. By ourselves.
The office / guest bedroom is the next big project, as we only scratched the surface (but the surface revealed that we do actually still have a floor underneath all the cycled-out toys, bike tools, old birthday cards, and miscellany).
So thank you, Abbie and Gavin. Thank you for liking our children enough to take charge of them for five hours. Thank you for giving us the gift of time.