Thursday, June 26, 2014

Aspirations for Organization; Or: The Art of Putting Shit Away

I just got back from a weekend with my brother and sister-in-law.  I always leave their house inspired to eat fewer carbs and be tidier. My brother and his wife kill me because they and their house always look equally magazine ready.  Jennifer, my sister-in-law, is going through chemo and still walks around looking like she's part of an ensemble comedy about hip young parents on NBC or something.  It would piss me off if I didn't love her so much.

If you were visiting them and had need of tweezers (I almost always need tweezers), you might say, "Jennifer, do you have some tweezers I can use?"  And she'd tell you where to find the tweezers.  She wouldn't even have to think about it.  She'd just know where the tweezers are.  If you were visiting me and asked to borrow some tweezers, I'd spend about 15 minutes running around the house trying to remember where the last place I had tweezers was, despite likely having just plucked an errant hair 20 minutes ago, and then I'd get super embarrassed and run out to CVS and buy you some tweezers.

I am a thoughtful host, largely because I am easily shamed.

I came home from this trip inspired to organization.  I would throw away the dross and put the things we need into a system.  And this would happen in the basement, because the basement is where we put shit we don't know what to do with - and probably tweezers because I buy tweezers weekly and can almost never find them!  I think there's a tweezer vortex in my basement.  Behind that old shirt that fell behind the dryer that I don't want to move because it smells kind of funky and I think there might be a dead mouse underneath it.

In our basement, you can find a 15 year old 12 inch television with a built-in VCR player. VCR.  Vee-cee-arrrrr.  I don't remember the last time we plugged it in.  There may also be a dead mouse in the VCR.

I spent the past two days sorting and tossing.  I have so much recycling and so much garbage that I've filled up both ours and our immediate neighbors trash bins.  I haven't hit up any of the other neighbors for trash bin space, though.  Once, about a year ago, one of our neighbors left us a nasty note about using his recycling bin.  He threatened to get the law involved. He wrote that in a note and then slipped it under the door even though Don was home.  It was a masterpiece of high passive aggressive paranoid dudgeon. But I'm still scared of him because if you're crazy enough to get that cheesed off over a recycling bin I can't help but think it's likely you have some semi-automatic weapons in your own overcrowded basement (America!).  So I'm keeping my trash and recyclables in my own damn bins and the bins of neighbors from whom we have express, written permission.  It's not enough room. There are still bags and piles of disposables in our basement.  I think we're going to have to get Lamont Sanford and his red pick up over here.  Do you get that reference?  Congratulations!  You are old!

I feel pretty good about it.  I have unearthed several dozen pairs of tweezers.  The basement almost looks like adult people who are not in immediate need of psychiatric care live in this house.  But I know that this spring clean exists not in a vacuum.  We're gonna have to start putting shit away if it's going to stick.

Do you guys have any confidence in our ability to start putting shit away? To merrily chirp "a place for everything and everything in its place" when Laney drops her backpack on the floor as soon as she walks in?  Do you think we can do this?  Do you have some tweezers I can borrow?