Remember the organization mission? I bought the book that added to the clutter that overwhelms our living space and irritates my irritable spouse? Well, the book, as it turns out, may be more than just more clutter in an ugly orange cover. (I like orange. But not "Books for Dummies" orange. Their graphic designer should be--I don't know. Forced to look at pictures of puppies in flowers and motivational posters with his eyes held open a la Clockwork Orange. But that's mean, and as usual, I digress.)
Today, motivated by avoidance of an even more onerous task, I decided to clean out the bathroom cupboard. This is really almost a closet--six feet high, three feet wide and nearly as deep. It stores our towels, assorted toiletries, lots of OTC medication, random freebies from cosmetics counters and hotel bathrooms, a footbath, a heating pad, a hot water bottle...I could go on, but I'll spare you. With much of our house looking so good (it being on the market and all, and therefore needing to be presentable at the drop of a broker's cell phone) the bathroom, the ugliest room in the house by far, has really been bugging me.
So the book says, when cleaning out a space, here's what you do. Promise yourself at least fifteen minutes with no distractions. (I almost got distracted when I found the magazine basket that we'd shoved into the cupboard at the last minute before the open house--there was a Rosengarten Report in there, after all, but I held myself back.) Get five boxes (I used grocery and garbage bags) and label them--trash, fix it, put away, pass on, mystery. (I love that last label. I could use more stuff for that bag, but that's a subject for another post.) This seemed dopey, a waste of time, but I was following directions today (maybe inserting order into my life as a defense against the stress brought on by the impending State of the Union Address? Bush speaking always makes me twitchy--the H and I dealt with it by ignoring the speech entirely and going out for sushi and sake. Ahhh.) and so I did it. All except for labelling the trash bag, which seemed like overkill.
Then, you take everything out, and one item at a time, place it in the appropriate bag. If you haven't used it in a year, maybe you should throw it away. If it's broken, can you--will you--really fix it? Or is it trash. If you haven't used it in a year, and cannot bear to throw it away (I hate throwing stuff away) can you pass it on to someone else who could use it now? And so on.
Ok, the dopey system--genius.
In twenty minutes, I threw away a giant bag of trash. Loaded a small bag of stuff into my car to give away to a thrift store. Sorted kids' meds from adults', organized my and the H's toiletries into separate sections in the cupboard, put all my hair stuff (I have lots of hair, and therefore lots of stuff) in one drawer, put all my nail polish (for someone who gets manicures about five times a year, I own a shitload of nail polish--what's that about?) Do the rest of you know about this? Is this one of the obvious, un-secrets of the universe that my mother failed to share with me? Have I been going through life like someone with lettue in her teeth while the rest of you point and stare, because I just cannot see my own insufficiency? Ok. I'm breathing.
I found all the extra cotton pads (five sleeves of them), the missing box of Q-Tips that led me to buy a new box last week, three (three!) bottles of a hair conditioner I like (I guess I kept thinking I'd run out and bought more? Who the hell knows.) You get the idea. If I were more of a freak, I'd take a picture of the damn closet and make you look at it. It's that good. But I'm not that bad. Yet. But who knows what will happen when I read Chapter 3.