The other day, my daughter was wearing a puzzled expression as she looked at my spices, which are in little racks screwed to the inside of a cabinet. Finally she asked, “Mom, are your spices really in alphabetical order?”
Yes. Yes, my spices are in alphabetical order. I explained to her how important having your spices in order is, how easy it is to find what you want in a cooking frenzy, or when making out your grocery list.
She listened and finally gave me that polite, tentative little smile people reserve for crazy people. Then she went off to her room to throw crap around for no apparent reason.
My house is by far not the neatest house you will find. But it’s not my fault. If I had my way, everything would be in its place, because trust me, there is a place for everything. I’ve tried having labels on the linen closet shelves for double, twin, queen, blankets, pillows. I finally took them off. If the kids actually put a blanket back on a shelf in the linen closet, far be it from me to mention it’s on the wrong shelf. It’s not on the floor, so I can live with it.
I don’t like when other people load my dishwasher. For one thing, I don’t like actual dirty dishes to go in the dishwasher. I rinse and scrub them first. And then I have specific places for everything. The sharp knives have their own spot, up-side-down, and the serving utensils, and the measuring spoons. I tried putting knives, forks, and spoons in their own slots, but my family started whispering in the corners, looking at me with apprehensive eyes, so I dropped that.
My family seems flumoxed by the kitchen drawers as well. If they empty the dishwasher, I can’t find anything. Sharps have a drawer. Serving and stirring. Measuring. Wraps. Isn’t that easy? Why would a spatula go in the knife drawer? Why would a measuring spoon go in the serving/stirring drawer?
I was once insulted by the guy bagging my groceries. He was a manager type, not a teenaged bag-boy, so there wouldn’t be much point in complaining to management. Plus, they would probably have all laughed at me together. See, I like to put my groceries on the conveyer belt in an organized fashion: frozen together, fridge items together, canned goods, etc. He surveyed the conveyer belt and started laughing. “Look at how she unloads her cart!” he told the cashier as I stacked all of the boxed items neatly in rows. I blushed. “Yeah, I like to keep things together in groups,” I said. “Anal much?” he asked. (I wasn’t really mad. It was funny. And the next week I mixed the groups up a little just to prove I could, so it was good for me.)
When the kids were little, I couldn’t understand why their rooms were so messy. I built shelves — lots of shelves — into their closets, and I had a great system of plastic storage bins for their toys. I even put pictures from catalogs on the boxes so they would know what went inside even before they could read. And labeled the shelves so they knew what box went where on the shelves. I don’t think it’s too complicated to put Barbie dresses, shoes, accessories, food, dishes, and miscellaneous in different boxes. And to have separate boxes for Midge and Kelly and Ken. Why is that confusing?
I think that’s why I love computers. All those folders!
The problem with organization is, it’s not enough to have a spot for everything; you have to actually put things where they go. My only really messy place is my desk. I have a place there for everything, but other than the bills/important papers, I usually just heave everything in a pile. Months later, I shove the pile in a bag labeled (see, labeled) “Go through.” Months after that, I move it to the basement storage area. After a few years, I just throw it away. If I haven’t needed it before now, I probably won’t need it ever.
The other day my husband did the nicest thing for me. Better than flowers. Better than chocolates. He hung shelves in my laundry room. I wish I could say how much I love them. I mean him.