Organization? Does that come with feta?


An organized life is as foreign to me as…well, a foreign country. In fact, I’m going to use a foreign country to help illustrate what I’m talking about. Let’s use Greece. Ahhh…Greece, a beautiful city full of crisp white buildings stacked against towering cliffs that overlook azure seas. All of the photos make it look so clean and pure, a place of perfection that I want to dive into.

That’s what the thought of an organized life does to me. I look at Martha Stewart magazines or wander the isles of The Container Store and I long to experience the feelings of everything being exactly where it’s supposed to be. I imagine that feeling would be close to the peaceful exhilaration I’d experience walking down the winding streets of Crete or Santorini.

Not Greece but just as foreign to me.

But I just can’t do it. My brain isn’t wired that way, and despite my best efforts, my attempts to organize fall from the sky like a led duck. I have what people label as ADD. My thoughts fire so rapidly that if I don’t grab onto them, they’re gone. So that means I flit from activity to activity without really finishing them. I may clean off my bed but then I have to get dressed for something and I try on 30 outfits. By the time I settle on something, I don’t have time to clean up and then I’m on to something else, and then another “something else”. I’m constantly running in circles.

When I do manage to hog-tie my thoughts long enough to concentrate on a task, my perfectionism attacks. I know!! I’m as shocked as you that someone as messy as me is a perfectionist, but according to a therapist, I am. If I can’t do something “perfect” I won’t do it at all. When I decide to clean off my dresser that looks like a ransacked isle at the local Goodwill, I don’t start by just clearing all the crap away. Oh, no. I start with a single drawer and it will go something like this…

Ok, I have 22 pairs of socks. I really need one of those little sock cubicle things. (Gets in car, drives 20 miles to The Container Store, wanders around for 2 hours, buys the sock cubicle, goes home, and back to drawer.) Oh, I really should put in some scented drawer liner. I think I have some from like 3 years ago! (Goes upstairs, digs through both craft cabinets and each kid’s closet until I find the roll hidden behind the boxes of baby memorabilia. Then line the drawer. Then roll each sock and puts in its new little cubby in groups of similar colors.) Wow, I still have half a drawer left to fill. Do I put my hose and Spanx in here, or my workout clothes? (Looks at clock.) Oh, crap-cicles!! I’m late picking up the kids!!

Aside from the use of “crap-cicles” instead of a creative string of sailor-worthy profanity, that is a true story. I made one drawer near perfect but I ran out of time, and pretty much willpower, to do the rest. And the worst part is that you couldn’t even tell that I spent 4-5 hours on that damn drawer. I could have just folded my clothes and closed the drawers and it would have looked a million times better. But now you understand my problem.

And now back to Greece (see the ADD at work here?). So as much as I long to experience Greece, if you took me and just dropped me off there, it would be an excursion of terror. I would be instantly lost, wandering in circles, and unable to communicate with people. I’d try very hard to act all casual about it, but inside I’d be a confused mess. “Spanakopita!! What the hell is Spanakopita??…Spanx!! What drawer should a put my Spanx in? Is there a special cubicle for Spanx?!?” See the relationship here?

And even if I get lost, I want to go to Greece and I want to have a simpler more organized life too. Oh, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to “cure” my ADD. It’s been a gift to me, but I want to figure out how to work with it and make my home less cluttered for me and my family. That’s what this is about, letting go of my perfectionism and just finding a way to organize my life. I’m going to have to take baby steps along the way, but I’m going to chronicle those steps here. Maybe you have some of the same problems I do. Maybe this will help you too, or maybe you have tips to help me. I want us to share. I want us to release our shame about not being “perfect” and concentrate on the important things. My sock drawer might not make it onto pinterest, but I can at least make it work for me.

“I pity the fool who try to put me in a sock drawer with sum Spanx”

It’s a stretch but I couldn’t resist a Mr. T sock monkey. Who freakin’ could? I found it here

2 responses

    • Thanks for reading, Sheila. What I like about my ADD is that I give it credit for making me really creative. I can pull crap out of left field like nobody’s business. It pays off in the arts but not so much in being a homemaker. I’ve tired meds before and they stifle my creative side. I’d rather be scattered and come up with great book ideas. Maybe one day I’ll make enough to hire people to help with my sock drawers.

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