The Fall

fall leaves

I came across this piece I wrote last year. I’ve updated it a bit but the message will always be the same to me.

There’s something about the Fall that makes most of us want to, well, turn over a new leaf so to speak. For me, there’s nothing like the change of season to bring on the challenge of reorganizing a closet or room. Spring cleaning is all well and good but September seems to be my time to get rid of the old and bring in the new. Although my husband and son do not get the same gleam in their eye when I say that we need to clean out the closets, I’m happy to say that my daughter has inherited my organizing gene. She will spend hours up in her room “organizing” her stuff and loves nothing more than making a trip to Micheals to buy trays, holders and sorting containers. I’m so proud.

When it comes to cleaning up a messy desk or closet or room, for that matter, three basics apply. Throw it away, give it away or put it away. And this goes for almost every room of the house. The best way is to just dive in. Make three piles and most importantly be honest with yourself about which pile you put stuff in. Haven’t worn that shirt in two years? Get rid of it. Have a dozen magazines all about decorating the babies room and your baby” is now 7. Recycle it. Can’t decide? Put it aside until the end and deal with it then. But do deal with it.

messy closet

Now before you all get you knickers in a knot; throw away doesn’t necessarily mean increase the size of the GVRD landfill. Old school assignments/art, as much as you may want to reminisce, can be put in the recycle box. Magazines that you had every intention of re-reading (three years ago) can be recycled. I used to keep magazines in the hopes that one day I would have an occasion to serve 18 different varieties of cookies.  I have since realized that all magazines have excellent websites complete with archives. Ikea comes out with a new catalogue every year…just sayin’. Having said that; if you can’t remember where you got something or what it means to you and there is no recycling option…..chuck it!

Giving stuff away is one of my passions. I have a friend with a daughter a year younger than mine and for the past three or four years I have passed on my daughters gently (sometimes) worn clothes to her. It’s a great feeling to know that you are making space in your house and helping somebody out at the same time. I am also a regular customer on the Big Brother and Canadian Diabetes pick up list. They come and TAKE STUFF AWAY! For free! But best of all is a fairly regular clothing swap party that I attend with a group of other moms. We are all of various ages and sizes but somehow everybody leaves these parties with some new item to add to their wardrobe. Best of all, what’s left over goes to charity. As I write this I am wearing a shirt that I got at one of the parties. I love it and it was free.

tidy closet

I have to admit that putting away is not my favorite part of this exercise, but it is necessary. I have learnt (thanks to my husband) that keeping stuff can be good and occasionally throwing stuff away can be bad. So get a really big chest and start keeping those baby shoes, first soccer team t-shirts and countless works of art. Who knows, they may be worth something one day. When my son was about five I started keeping his shirts from sports teams, trips and special events. Last year I gave them all to my mom, the quilter, and she made them into a quilt for him. She did the same thing for my daughter with all of her receiving blankets. It’s a beautiful way to keep memories around but make them useful.

The Best Thing in Life is being organized. Okay, so maybe that’s just me and my daughter. Anybody got a closet they need organizing? One of the other perks of cleaning up and getting rid of stuff is that it gives you a clear inventory of what you really do have. And what you don’t have. And that, my friends, is a clear invitation to go shopping.

Addicted to Organization

Or~gan~ized                                                                                                                                           efficient: working in a systematic and efficient way                                                                      large-scale: existing on a large scale and involving the systematic coordination of many different considerations

Hello my name is Susan and I’m addicted to being organized. I love to be organized. I love things in neat piles, or even better, put away in their proper place. Oh, and even better, in a box with a label on it. I love planning and making sure that all the bases are covered. Let’s face it, schedules and lists turn me on. I think I get it for my dad. My mom wouldn’t have called it it organized though. She would have called it fastidious. If there was a nail out of place on his workbench somebody was going to hear about it. Sounds vaguely familiar to me and my family would second that.

boxes

There are thousands of websites and blogs devoted to organization. People make a fortune from helping other people get organized. When I was first thinking about quiting my job and wondered what I would do, a dear friend of mine suggested that I help other people get organized. She was so impressed with how organized I was with passing on my daughters clothes to her, that she thought maybe that was my calling. I did give it some serious consideration. My only problem was that I couldn’t see other people paying me for doing it my way; and make no mistake, it would be done MY way or it would be wrong. Organization can be deeply personal.

What does this say about me? Some may say that a disorganized home indicates that the person has better things to do with their time than tidy up. That may be true for some. I know that when my life (and in turn my family’s) is organized that I feel calmer. When things are all over and untidy and well, unorganized, I feel a bit panicky. It’s probably not a very healthy or sane thing that I can’t focus on a task well until the house is in order and relatively clean. I’m sure some psychiatrist somewhere would make a case out of that and that’s okay. Everybody has their thing. I’m not like OCD organized (well maybe just a little) but I have to admit I get a teeny bit antsy when things are really out of hand in the house.

In many cases my need to organize stems from my other pastime. Procrastination. There is no better way to avoid a difficult task than to immerse yourself in cleaning out a closet. It occupies your mind so you don’t feel guilty about the fact that you should be doing something else. Plus, if you take long enough to do it then you just won’t have time to do that other horrible thing. Whatever it may be. In my mind, if the house is organized then it’s easier to find things. My husband would argue with this. “Yes, you can find it. But can anybody else?” True, I do tend to put things away and then forget where I’ve put them and forget to tell anybody else resulting in momentary panic when we need my daughters field hockey stick for the first night of practice.

Organization isn’t just about being neat and tidy though. It’s about thinking ahead and knowing where and when things need to get done. If I want my daughter to get into the swimming class that fits into our schedule then I need to know what day registration starts and it needs to be on the list so that I remember. Hear that? It’s called rationalization. And yes, lists are a big part of being organized. I wonder how many times I used the word organized in this post? Did I mention that I like lists?

Some say that an organized life means an organized mind. I don’t agreed. For all my love of organization my mind is often very messy. Thoughts running in and out, switching gears every two minutes, jumping from shopping list to vacation planning to blog writing without missing a beat. I’ve discovered that each week when I go through the process of writing a post for this blog, my mind is very scattered. Thoughts come out all over the place. Each posts starts as half a dozen random thoughts. Eventually those thoughts turn into paragraphs and in turn those paragraphs find their way into a coherent piece. It a process I’m not very comfortable with because….well, it’s not organized.

So how does this fit into my goals of finding my thing?  To be honest I didn’t know when I started writing this post, but now I think I see it. There have been times when I have thought that being organized was a bit of a detriment. (Perhaps re-read the above if you don’t see that.) I have thought that maybe I should just let things go a bit and relax. But now I realize that my little quirk has actually helped me along the way by giving me a focus. This week, the Best Thing in Life is realizing you have a problem and embracing it.