Sunday, April 19, 2015


It's the end of the Junior League year, which means that many of us are scrambling around to get our obligations completed. Last week, I attended a training in order to get a meeting credit. The training was titled "The Secrets of Getting Organized."

I like secrets. And I really like Real Simple (my favorite magazine, because it offers me hope of becoming an organized person without judgment).

I am a clean person. I have never been a neat person. I find the organized people of the world to be the most smug. Bridget Jones talked about the smug marrieds; I'm here to tell you about the smug organizeds. I'll call them SO.

The SO are nearly always women. They seem to have it all together, or they seem to think they have have it all together, because their home looks straight out of a magazine or a movie set. They use labels and filing systems and hanging shoe racks as pantry organizers. They'd have coupon boxes arranged by expiration dates if that didn't mean paper clutter. They all have linen closets (must be nice), and they don't need giant bleach tablets that last for 1,000 flushes because they clean their toilet each time it is used. I wonder sometimes if SO have pets or children or significant others or if their homes only contain things that can go in lidded boxes.

Mostly, I think that the worst part of SO is that they feel so superior to those of us who hire a housekeeper.

I wonder if I (or my partner) didn't work, or didn't have to find work, if our reality would ever be an empty sink/drying rack/dishwasher, clean laundry that immediately goes from the dryer to drawers or hangers, dirty laundry that only exists in hampers (AGAIN WITH THE LIDS), books only on shelves, shoes only in closets, shiny floors and tubs, made beds, effectively utilized and perfectly organized storage space.

Unlikely. I just don't care enough. The pots drying on the stove aren't going to grow any new ecosystems, nor will the stack(s) of mail. All grains that enter this home spend at least one night in the freezer to kill any moth eggs that may be lurking about, and I still end up with moths and the occasional roach because I live in the tropics.

I'm clean. I'm not neat.

But I needed a meeting credit, and if I could learn any new techniques that Real Simple hadn't already tried to teach me, I figured it was a win. And maybe I'd make a new friend or see an old one (correct). And I was pretty sure there would be refreshments (correct).

The woman giving the talk owns a local business that helps people move, pack, organize, declutter, etc. She said that every morning before she leaves the house, she straightens every room.

Blink. Blink.

Dismissing her as having some kind of mental disorder, I tried to think of something I do every day. Besides basic human functions (sleep, breath, pee), I could not think of a single thing. I can't remember to brush my teeth every day. I don't put on underwear every day. I don't need to shower or shave every day. I try to drink coffee most mornings and to drink four liters of water a day and to not drink alcohol every night. But let's not make a list of the things I try to do.

We took a "quiz" to help us understand how "bad" we all are on the spectrum from SO to hoarder, and all of us fell somewhere in the middle. We were told to ask questions, and everyone who asked a question would receive a gift for being brave. Since speaking and receiving gifts are two of my most favorite things, it wasn't hard for me to jump in.

Me: Hypothetically, this boy I like moved in in January. And, hypothetically, it's April, and we still have stuff everywhere, including furniture that, at this point, just needs to be moved to the attic.
SO: Is there a hypothetical ring involved in this equation?

Thank you, SO. Thank you for your judgment.

And thank you for the gift. I know it will come in handy sometime soon, as I navigate a new job, my beau's daughter's 5th birthday party, my brother's wedding, summer camps.

I'll be hiring some of your moving men soon to get the extraneous stuff into the attic. And then I'll be hiring a housekeeper on a regular schedule.

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