Monday Musings: Where Is My Stuff?

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.

by Mike R. Baker

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!

12 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Where Is My Stuff?

  1. Clutter tends to pile up around me. Because my husband has hoarder tendencies, I really have to stay on top of things. The only solution I've found is to throw a lot of stuff away or give it away. I see no other solution. I put things up as soon as I'm finished with them. You know, I don't watch the show on the video, but I totally got what she was talking about. I recently told my husband, "You have to figure out how to help yourself. What if I die?"

  2. Really cute blog, Julie. It may be inappropriate here but that old expression about the one with the uterus is the one who can find anything is SOOO true in my household. My two kids and my husband can not find anything EVER. I walk in the room (or just yell from the couch) and I can find whatever it is in a nanosecond. Why can't they? Is there something about being a female? I don't get it, but it's sure true in my household. It's not like i make a point of being organized because my house is more than a bit chaotic. And I don't have a fantabulous memory either. So, by process of deduction, it's the fact I'm a female…with a uterus. What would happen if I had a hysterectomy?

  3. This is true for us at our house also, and for my brain! But I say it as often as my kids: Where is…? Difference is, I look for it MYSELF! The boys… they ask, expecting me to find their key/usb/permission form/check/snorkeling vest -> their phones are attached to their palms, so they never lose that.Which, funnily enough, is the thing I lose ALL the time. It's my husband who puts things away when he's finished withe them, knows exactly where something is, can locate an item on his desk for a co worker in a bind who's calling on his phone while we're on the beach. Whenever I muse out loud, where is…, and then find it myself,my Hero asks, "Where was it?" Answer: "Right where I left it." He knows better than to push it after that! Thanks for this post! And why is it wonderful thoughts on wip always pop in my brain at church… at concerts… at picnics… wherever I don't have a place to write it down???

  4. Clutter is all around me. Sigh. I never really learned not to have clutter around me as my parents also have lots of clutter. Lately, it's been really bugging me and I feel like I need routines. I'm starting slowly and for the past week I've made myself a to do list every night before I go to bed and cross things off as I go during the day. I put small things on the list like make bed, fold laundry, sort clutter pile on desk, shred papers, write on wip, etc. I don't get to everything everyday, but I get more done than I used to and less clutter.

  5. The women in my family are definitely the ones who know where everything is in the house. Even if there's clutter every now and then, we still know what's in that pile of papers 🙂

  6. Lists the only way I can keep up with everything is by making lists- it helps get the to-do list out of my head so it's less cluttered and helps keep me focus on what I want to get done. Alica

  7. Ugh! I think it's in men's DNA to ask before looking for anything. My favorite questions, "honey, do you know where I put….?" Without fail, I always reply back with, "Ugh, tell me. How do I know where you put something?" It's exhausting. Sometimes I swear that he asks before he's even looked! I'm the organized queen – courtesy of my decade career as an Executive Assistant. I'm also a tad "Monk'ish" (as in Adrian Monk) and everything has its place in my house. I'm a creature of habit….

  8. Since my military husband has us PCSing (that's Permanant Change of Station moving–the navy sure loves its acronyms!) every 18 months, I get to reorganize every drawer, every closet, every garage/basement/toy chest very often. It also forces me to get rid of stuff we don't "need" because the military only letus us move so many pounds of "stuff". 🙂 There has be be an easier way to keep organized though.

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