Posts Tagged With: Organization

Tick Tock Tick Tock

My latest attempts at achieving organizational nirvana involve the computer, colors and willpower. After two days using this self-created self-help tool I’ve recognized a few fatal flaws.

  • I shouldn’t rely on a computer for something so critical
  • The color coding doesn’t make much sense except in an advertising kind of mentality (oo, oo, pick me, pick me)
  • My willpower varies widely with the time of day, how much sleep I got, if I remembered to take my medications and how much caffeine is in my system.

I might have to resort to stronger measures. Like a sheet of paper and a pencil.

Someone one December suggested abandoning the lists altogether.

It was a man.

You know, those creatures with the one track mind. Aim them toward something and nothing will distract them. No multitasking there. Do Item A. Ignore everything else until Item A ends successfully. In fact, no other items even exist until Item A reaches completion.

Oh, to be a man.

Abandon all lists.

As if.


Here’s a sample list of things to do between now, Friday afternoon, and Monday, three days away.

photo-18 copy 27

I hope your list doesn’t look this long or this silly.

If I cloned myself and hired someone to help it might begin to make a dent. And this doesn’t include the seven or eight things at the top of the list. Nor does it involve the unwritten mental list I carry around all the time. And it certainly doesn’t have anything written down that might suddenly come up and take total precedence over the entire list. Even the red, or blue or highlighted or underlined or bolded items. Nope. There’s always that kind of stuff hovering nearby.

If you’re like MSH, or almost any other man, you’d suggest the ABC123 approach of prioritizing.

That’s all well and good.

But, honestly, I’m just venting. Your job is to read and commiserate or shake your head and think I’m a nut case. Whatever.

If you also have a list that looks like this, or worse (bless you) then you understand. My list is just here to make you feel better about your list.

Nothing more.

What gets done will get done. What doesn’t, doesn’t.

Oh well.

Life goes on.

Except when it doesn’t.

Categories: Family, Holiday, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s in Your Junk Drawer?


My actual junk drawer!

We’re talking a drawer with the following dimensions: 10 x 20 x 3.5 inches

That’s 700 square inches, isn’t it? Good grief, that explains the magical qualities this drawer possesses!

Look at what this deceivingly cavernous small drawer holds!

The top visible layer:

  • scotch tape
  • sewing scissors
  • two pair regular scissors
  • craft paint
  • packing tape
  • glue sticks
  • 12 inch ruler (used to measure the drawer)
  • two screwdrivers
  • kid friendly magic markers
  • super glue
  • pencils
  • pens
  • roll of 5 mm leather cording
  • shoelace
  • ribbon
  • clothes pin
  • deck of playing cards
  • three-inch wide paint brush
  • batteries, mostly AAA
  • elastic bands

Digging in just a little:

  • candles, tapers and tea lights
  • yellow highlighter
  • roll of jute cord
  • packet of nails
  • permanent markers
  • matches
  • large tube of kitchen caulk
  • shelf brackets
  • key rings
  • a carabiner
  • extension cord
  • blue balloons
  • spool of white thread

Oxygen mask depth toward the back of the drawer:

  • multiple packets of fresh flower food
  • sample size bottle of liquid stevia
  • childproofing outlet cover
  • a lone cotton ball
  • screws, various sizes
  • paper clips
  • safety pins
  • magnets
  • zip ties
  • wildflower seeds (loose, dang it)
  • super glue
  • eraser refill
  • pink plastic diamond ring
  • thumbtacks
  • box cutter with rusty razor
  • bag of glass beads
  • o-rings, metal and rubber
  • chalk, a whole box
  • bungee cord mini sized
  • various crayons
  • green craft paint
  • spackling tool, with rust
  • metal bird Easter ornament
  • plastic over the door hook
  • pliers
  • a single red Lego
  • allen wrench
  • diaper pin (seriously?)
  • short length of chain
Non-Pinterest worthy mini organizer drawers. Notice that the ball needle has it's very own drawer!

Non-Pinterest worthy mini organizer drawers. (Notice that the ball needle has it’s very own drawer, 2nd row from top on the far left.)

Is that silly, or what?

No wonder I can’t find anything in this place. It’s all stuffed in the junk drawer. And I have a place designated for most of it. I own a  pencil holder, and a tool box, and a paint box, and toy boxes, and a sewing box, and a labeled organizer for tiny miscellaneous things. (None of these are Pinterest worthy, thank goodness.)

On a bright note, it took three years for this drawer to consume such a vast array of epic fabulousness and become a source of dissonance in my life. I know this because we moved into this house three years ago, give or take a month or two.

On another bright note, the drawer didn’t have any papers, old bills, photographs or receipts in it. Discussing the paper monsters requires several days worth of blog posts and I’m not so sure I have the emotional stamina right now to deal with that issue.)

On an odd note, there was no loose change of any kind in the drawer. Not even a gum covered penny or a sticky dime. What’s up with that?


Dumping the entire contents out on a big towel on the floor clearly is the only way to deal with this much nonsense. Start fresh. Put on some tunes, freshen up my diet Coke, schedule an hour minimum and have my workout shoes on. Then every single tiny item gets put in its designated place. There shoudn’t be too much left over in the miscellaneous category. At least, that would be my dream.

I’ll clear some time on my itinerary for this project. Maybe this Saturday. And I’ll reward myself afterwards with something delicious, like a nap.

Take a deep cleansing breath at this point.

There! Now that you’ve peered into my junk drawer don’t you feel better about yours?

Categories: Family, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Garage Nirvana

I did it.

Yup, finally and unequivocally I succeeded. It’s been a dream of mine for years now. And it happened.

I know to many of you it will seem silly and inconsequential. To me it is the first major accomplishment in a long list of successes to follow. At least I hope so.

What, pray tell, is this amazing feat I’ve managed?


Look, it fits!! Hurrah!

My truck now fits inside the garage.

Ta da!!

I’m sorry if you feel let down. Maybe I can explain why this is so amazing to me and why I’m so happy about it. Then, you too, can celebrate and feel the wonder and peace that I now feel.

I have always been a person who thrives on order and predictability. As a kid I couldn’t fall asleep at night if my room were messy. Some nights I’d turn on the light and sort, organize, dust, sweep and mop for several hours before I could finally and blissfully fall into a well-ordered sleep.

To a child the world screams chaos and lack of control. Everyone else holds the puppet strings of your life, everything else dictates your every waking moment. Planning ahead yields little results when you’re young. Keeping my bedroom orderly and neat gave me one aspect of life that I could control.

I suppose I could have inflicted my own chaos into my bedroom, like so many children do, as a way of saying “this is my space, my life, don’t mess with this.” I see messy children’s bedrooms as just such a ploy to have some control in their lives. Chaotic control. Odd, but effective. Most parents are powerless to keep their children’s rooms clean.

I was the opposite. I cleaned, shined, tucked, folded and sorted. I loved the sense of calm a well-organized room brought with it. Honestly, with all the siblings I had, it was the one area in my life that was peaceful.

I always dreamed I’d have a clean and orderly home. A predictable world, a calm life.

Then I got married to a man who owned STUFF. He already had a 5 x 7 storage unit full of boxes of stuff. Me? I owned two boxes, one of which was books. And then we had children who need all kinds of stuff, beyond belief amounts of stuff.

And, it turns out, real life as an adult runs differently than the one a person fantasizes about as a youth.



Secret handbook I missed out on getting??  (Photo credit: alborzshawn)

We seemed to spontaneously produce STUFF like rabbits reproduce. I’m still not sure how that happens, the stuff, not the rabbits. I feel like I missed an important lecture day at school once in fifth or sixth grade. Maybe they taught “How STUFF replicates and how to prevent it.” Wish I’d been there that day.

Anyway, fast forward to life beyond apartments to life with a garage to store all the stuff. Not many people realize it, but garages were originally invented to house vehicles, not boxes of miscellaneous crap and treasures.

So while our not so pricey and not so shiny vehicles have spent summers and winters, rain and dust storms outside in the elements, our cardboard treasure trove has baked and frozen season after season in the garage.

About once a year we attempt to deal with it all. We vow to downsize, we garage sale, we donate, we sort, we give away, we send kids home with boxes, we fill up the trash bin, we recycle, we even bring things into the house. But the stuff seems to continue to take up just enough space in the garage that a car, even a small one, just can’t squeeze in. (I chronicle this event in an earlier post here.)

I admit to coveting those garages with cabinets with doors and a pristine finish on the cement floor. Oh, and no oil leak puddles.

But no more.

A few months ago, after sending children and their own boxes out into the world on their own adventures, I squished and scrunched, sorted and tossed and made room for my truck to fit inside the garage. The door even closes! It sounds easier than it was, but I’ll spare you the details.

Why is this such a big deal?

Because it gives me hope that the inside of my house, especially the closets and cabinets, can also reach garage nirvana. One day I’ll be able to open a cabinet door and, voilà, what I need will be exactly where I knew it would be.

“A place for everything and everything in its place.” Peace will finally be mine.

Someday, soon.

Of course, there’s an awful loud quietness about the house now that the kids have moved on. Apparently that’s the price of order.

Perhaps I’ll leave a bit of chaos about the house after all.

Maybe I’ll just stand in the garage doorway and admire my handiwork. The rest of the house can wait for a bit.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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