Friday, December 26, 2008

Organization Is My Middle Name (and the stick up my bum)

My husband calls our house an RV because I utilize every square inch of storage space our little house offers. Organized to the nines, I store stuff up, under, behind and overhead.

When my house is organized, I am organized. My life can be in total chaos, but when I can find a hammer or batteries or the remote to the CD player without any thought simply because it’s where it should be, I can handle anything.

Being organized helped me lose weight. Being organized keeps me between 128-130 pounds. Organization is my emotional compass. If my house is a wreck, my desk strewn with papers, I guarantee you won’t want to engage me in conversation.

The antithesis of organization is clutter. I hate clutter**** (please read the **** footnote clarification at the end of this blog). I hate clutter more than trans fats, fake maple syrup, and Culture Club. Clutter makes my right eye twitch. And man, was it twitching this morning when I came downstairs and saw my new food processor, hand mixer and box of eco-friendly food storage containers waiting for me on the dining room table. I was fully aware they were there when I went to bed last night, but my mind was still processing the day of family, presents, too many carbs (damn you puppy chow!) and the Mel Brooks movie “To Be Or Not To Be.”

But in the light of dawn, nothing wakes me up quite like clutter.

By 7:30 a.m., I’d mapped out a strategy. The new food processor would go where the old one was and the hand mixer would fit nicely in the third drawer next to the stove. The new storage containers posed a bit of a problem since I have no extra space in my kitchen. Something had to go, either moved to the basement, the garage or Goodwill. I wasn’t sure what.

So, I started at the most logical place. The dogs’ water dish.

Our dogs’ water dish sits between the microwave cart and the long counter that accommodates our sink. It’s always in the way and is 7 feet away from their food bowls in the dining room. I can’t remember why we put it there, but it obviously made sense at the time. In order to find space for the new storage containers, the dish would have to move. I know, it makes no sense whatsoever in anyone else’s mind, but in mine, it’s pure genius.

So, after completely changing our dogs’ eating and watering ensemble (they are now using different bowls in a different location – don’t ask), my next step(s) in finding room for the eco-friendly food storage containers was to:

· Take everything out from lower cupboards and microwave cart
· Vacuum cupboards and microwave cart
· Reorganize every fry pan, baking dish, roaster, casserole and cookie sheet by order of frequency of use
· Put everything back in different places
· Bring unused pots to basement
· Notice cobwebs in stairwell
· Move mixer to where the old food processor used to be
· Move new food processor where the mixer used to be
· Move old food processor to basement
· Notice more cobwebs
· Vacuum basement stairs and rearrange items on stairway shelves
· Vacuum rest of kitchen
· Notice grime on the bottom vent of the refrigerator
· Clean out entire refrigerator
· Notice mold growing on block of cheddar cheese in crisper
· Cut off mold; shred cheese with new food processor
· Wash food processor

Finally, at 11:00 a.m., I opened the box of new containers and put them in their new home on the microwave cart. (Peter Walsh, if you’re reading this, you are my hero and I’m pretty sure we could be BFF.)

I now have cheese slices organized in a small plastic container in the crisper (no more slippy sliding all over the cheddar and Laughing Cow), all the Jello-O puddings neatly arranged in a long plastic container (no more toppling over and making Lynn curse), and I can retrieve a cookie sheet without breaking a wrist bone.

Now it’s time to listen to the Cowboy Junkies. I’m feeling organized and can now listen to the music without thinking I have to rearrange a pot or appliance. In addition to the aforementioned items, I also got fun stuff for Christmas, Trinity Revisited among them. It’s a seriously good CD/DVD combo. Trust me.

I hope you are enjoying some R&R, that you’re eating well and working out, and finding peace in the ways that are unique to you. Here are a few photos from my holiday. Talk to you all again real soon.


I'm so proud :)


Claire helps Grammy Lynn cook brunch (as long as I've got bony hips and a free hand, I can whip up anything)


Claire and Grammy eat an English muffin (she pretty much ate my entire egg-white omelet, too, but she did NOT get my mimosa)



Without daughter Cassie and SIL Matt, Claire and new baby in May wouldn't be here. Thanks guys!

**** I am clutter blind outside my own house and vehicle. I only hate my own clutter. I seriously, honest-to-god don’t notice or care about anyone else’s clutter.

15 comments:

  1. I'm glad you wrote that disclaimer, Lynn, because I was gonna have to buy a ten-pack of giant tarps to coat my home interior if you ever happened to come to Washington!!!

    My *goal* (well, ok, my resolution for 2010 or 2011) is to get organized. My dining room counter is a direct reflection of my state of mind/emotions, and right now it is piled 3 feet high with JUNK!!

    Glad you've been having a good time!! Happy Holidays!

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  2. Hey Lynn, Merry Christmas! I'm the same way about clutter, except I get so overwhelmed by it that I have trouble getting organized! It really does affect all aspects of my life. Sleep, Eating, Working, you name it! Like you I don't give a flying flip about anybody's clutter but my own. :)

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  3. I totally get your clutter issue, and loved your tale. I'm not alone in the world!!!

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  4. OMGosh, Lynn, will you come and de-clutter my house for me? Seriously, last night I bought a magazine on de-cluttering and organizing. I need some serious help. My house is REALLY small, and I think some containers would help. Glad you had such a happy day!

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  5. The fat thing,
    the clutter thing,
    the money/mail thing
    in my opinion
    all go hand in hand.

    I think of conquering all of it as discipline.

    Like the discipline that one learns in yoga or non combative martial arts (like Tai Chi).

    And I think that when people are in the midst of the fat and the clutter and the money/mail mess - they look at those of us that are disciplined and think that we are compulsive - but were are not - we have clear heads and like our environments and our bodies to match.

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  6. LOVED the pictures!!! glad you had a nice holiday. Loved the posting over at Refuse to Regain!

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  7. My name is Shelley, too, and like the other Shelley I too get Lynn's clutter issue. Shelley, are you also a Virgo?

    ~Shelley S.

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  8. You've got a beautiful family. I am right there with you when it comes to clutter. I cannot relax when I have alot of junk piled up. I just find it nice that when I need something I know exactly where to find it, it's not a guessing game. Our garage is a different story, my hubby is a bit of a packrat. The other day he brought home a used phone jack. Someone had put it out at work with a "free" sticky note posted on it. (because he never knows when we might need it) LOL

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  9. Hi, guys! Sorry I couldn't respond yesterday. Mother Nature had me flat on the couch. I'm so glad to know I'm not alone in the clutter thing. Whether you're already organized or wanting to be, I think Vickie has an excellent point. It all goes hand in hand. And no, I don't think this makes us compulsive. I really like staying on top of things. It helps when those rough unpredictable times come around. I can handle things better when I know I'm organized.

    Glad you liked the photos :) Poor Kevin, my stepson, caught the stomach thing, too. So did my husband. Oy. What a mess we are! LOL Good thing it didn't happen on Christmas.

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  10. Glad you are feeling better, Lynn - a stomach bug is not something I would wish on anyone!

    To Shelley S. - Love that your name is spelled "correctly" (i.e. the extra "e")... and I'm a Gemini.

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  11. I'm an organizing freak...I mean junkie...as well. Then I top it all off by using my label maker to label containers and the spots where the containers go. Hey, it keeps me busy and out of the snacks. I do feel my organizational skills are a huge part of me keeping the wieght off (80 pounds gone for 6 years!). I have a monthly dinner menu, foods labeled with points, a detailed grocery list, etc. It works for me. I can't help but think if others would get organized, they might be more successful with everything they do....including weight loss and maintenance. :)

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  12. WWchick, I was just listening to Martha Stewart Living on Sirius radio today on my way home from Pittsburgh and they had on an organization expert, some Pollack lady, who was saying exactly the same thing you said, that organization is key to success in everything. She made a lot of sense (as do you, chicka!). I love your blog and that you're as organized as me makes me even happier :)

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  13. Lynn,
    I am wondering, after Vickie's comments, were you as organized when you were in the midst of your weight struggle? I am making weight loss my resolution and struggle with all of the chaos mentioned by Vickie.

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  14. Hi, Georgia. Yes, I've pretty much always been organized. I raised the bar when I chose to lose weight. I found that becoming organized was like any new skill. It takes time and practice. Now it's pretty rote. It will be for you, too. Just give it time. Be patient. And I mean it when I say Peter Walsh is quite an amazing organizer! LOL All the best to you.

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  15. Who are you and why have you taken over my brain?

    Regarding clutter, you think like I do. Dang, you are scary. ;-)

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