I am probably the last person that anyone in my family would ever expect to write about getting more organized. I was organized up until I was seventeen, but it all went downhill from there. When I moved into my first apartment, the situation became dire. By the time I bought my first house, I had made multiple moves over the years and the pain of moving all of the “very important” papers with me became unbearable. I threw out tons of paper both before and after my move. (I ran out of time. By the end, I was dumping paper in a huge pile on the floor in my new so-called library just to have more boxes to pack up the rest of the paperwork with.)
No matter what I did it seemed like I could never get my act totally together. Other people I knew were organized. Why not me? Was there something wrong with me? I am highly educated. I know I am smart. I wondered about this quite a bit, but I could only stem the tide of clutter that seemed to overwhelm me.
When I got married, things started to get really bad. I had been a packrat before, but now I was also married to a packrat. His packrat tendencies are slightly different than mine in that he collects broken computers and computer parts plus he has an assortment of sentimental items that include a small Jesus statue with his hand broken off, lanyards from past conferences that he has been to, and a plain-looking ordinary rock. (Okay, this where I admit I do not know everything about my husband’s collections yet. When I read my article to him, my husband told me the rock was off the grave of friend whose funeral he had missed. No, he did not take a chunk of the headstone. He just picked up an ordinary rock from off the grave itself as a memento.) I have a slight tendency to collect sentimental objects too including a sit-upon that I made in Girl Scouts, pictures that hung in my room as an infant that will probably never hang in the nursery when we have kids, and the tops of old blankets that I had when I was a kid.
I kid myself into thinking at least my treasures have practical uses. After all, I never know when I might need to sit on wet grass. A sit-upon would be a handy item to have then. Not that I would ever use it because I made it by hand in elementary school.
We are both insane collectors of books although I have self-righteously been able to keep that tendency in check since my marriage over a year ago. Not having enough bookshelves might have something to do with it. Moving around a lot this year is definitely another big reason. I moved in with my husband after we married. We have lived in three different places in the last year. We are staying put for awhile, but moving has certainly put a damper on my enthusiasm for acquiring additional items. I thought we would never finish moving the last time. Each time, I rid myself of more and more junk. While neither of us is in the military, I have gained some appreciation of why moving around from station to station tends to cause military families to prune the excess from their possessions.
You are probably wondering how I could ever teach you anything about becoming organized. I actually have more to teach you than you could imagine. Experience has been my teacher. In this series of articles, I hope to pass on some of that hard-won knowledge. Each article will concentrate on a particular area of the house or on a particular type of clutter. I am not going to recommend running out to get a brand-new organizing system unless you feel you must. I did not have the money to do that, and I do not think it is necessary in most cases. I just want to you to be able to achieve some sanity around your organizational issues. I wish you luck as you start getting organized without spending lots of money to do so.