When I was a kid, there were times you could barely walk into my bedroom. Strewn across the floor were dirty clothes, baskets full of clean clothes I hadn’t put away, Barbies and their accessories, a variety of chapter books and glossy paged encyclopedias (mythology, mammals, and dinosaurs come to mind), and a variety of other toys that hadn’t made their way back into my closet. It drove my hyper-organized mom crazy. But unlike the moms of other kids I knew, my mom straight up refused to clean my room for me, at least not without a price: “If I have to pick it up, it’s getting thrown away.”
I can’t recall the number of times I retorted, “Why does it matter? It’s MY room!” Whether my mom had a response to this escapes me, but her persistent nagging about my bedroom has stuck with me despite my resistance. This is not to say that I magically became a clean freak when I grew up. I still often toss my clothes from the day onto the dresser (better than the floor, right mom?) in case I decide they’re clean enough to be worn again before washing, I wait too long between vacuuming, and I’m downright terrible about hanging up my clean laundry. I seriously could live out of a laundry basket for weeks. Sometimes I even have to rewash my clean clothes since the cat seems to think the laundry basket is his bed and personal grooming station.
Of course when my mom comes to visit, I spend the better part of a day DEEP CLEANING like a crazy lady. Ultimately, she finds the one spot I missed and starts cleaning within a few hours of her stay (“Do you have something to clean the microwave?” her lips pursed in disgust. “You don’t need to clean the microwave, Mom. I’ll do it later.” “No, I WANT to clean it.”). Or worse, she’ll start cleaning something I just cleaned (apparently my vacuuming was not thorough enough). But I digress.
Whether I picked it up from my mom’s persistence or simply carry her clean gene (believe me, it did not come from my father), I have become more and more organized the older I get. Frankly, I probably shouldn’t give all the credit to my mom. It’s incredible what living with roommates dirtier (sticky, dried spilled soda on my coffee table) and more careless (metal utensils with teflon pans, liquid dish soap in the dishwasher) than you are can do to your psyche.
I have become an avid list maker and I find it enjoyable, yes enjoyable, to catalog and sort things. My movies are in alphabetic order, the books on my shelves are organized by genre, the shirts in my closet (once I actually do hang them up) are sorted by sleeve length and dressiness and then by color, and my jeans are folded into separate piles that go from work jeans to dress up skinnies. And I won’t even get into the many hours of my neurotic playlist sorting on Spotify. My brain only finds peace when everything is neatly filed and prioritized.
Occasionally though, it feels like a four-year old has taken my neatly organized file cabinet that is my mind and dumped it all over the ground. That’s a little what this last week has been like. I have a dozen things to do without any sense of what to do first and as I procrastinate on sorting it all out, the hours and days slip away until I have no time to do any of it.
I have no great conclusion to all of this, and writing all of this down has not made me reach some kind of deep moral resolution. The obvious solution is to stop blogging, drink some more coffee, and then start doing something productive. I’m headed to Iowa tomorrow to visit my best friend, so I kind of need to get stuff done and get my brain in order now. Like right now…