I love an opening scene from the sitcom The King of Queens where wife Carrie is berating husband Doug for not having any idea whatsoever where things are in their own home. Boy, can I relate!
By default, I have become the calendar keeper, the stuff finder, the task reminder, and the overall dumpsite of trivial knowledge required to make our family function. It certainly wasn’t going to be my husband, whom I affectionately call The Absent-Minded Professor. If he had his own personal Lost & Found, it would be piled as high as my ceiling, or make that St. Peter’s Cathedral ceiling. That pile would hold leather jackets, umbrellas, books, two wedding rings, and much more.
And my kids are . . . well, kids. “Where’s my ?” is a common question in our house, as I’m sure it is in many households. The response of “It’s where you left it!” doesn’t seem to absolve me of the duty to crawl around on the floor looking under furniture, books, and loose laundry for whatever my children desperately need in the next five minutes. In fact, my son commented the other day, “I think you’re the only one who knows where everything goes.”
But I’m a clutter hound myself. I spend way too much time searching for the right pair of glasses (distance, reading, sunglasses – take your pick), my Walkman MP3 player or headphones, and various forms that I was supposed to complete for my kids’ school as if I’m the one who has homework instead of them! I try to sort and organize, but there is simply too much stuff!
My brain is a clutter collector as well. It’s full of ideas constantly! A sliver of an idea for a next novel, a blog topic that I would like to cover, plans to research something that has flummoxed me in my current Work in Progress, and a list of household, parenting, and writing to-do’s as long as a stretch of West Texas highway.
How do I keep track, find what I need to find, and make sense of the clutter in my life and my head? I’m learning as I go.
Where I have routines in my life (clean clothes immediately go on dressers, scissors in junk drawer every time), I can find stuff. Where I use consistent organizers, like file folders and calendars, I can find stuff. Where I rely on my brain to juggle items and activities like a circus entertainer, I will inevitably throw three apples in the air and then catch the machete with its sharp end. Ouch!
How do you sort and organize your life? What tools or routines have you found helpful? Can you consistently find things, get places on time, finish works in progress? Tell me how you do it!