I would dearly love to be organized. I go to friends’ houses and think, “Everything has its place.” By contrast, in my home, everything has its place, and that place is … everywhere.
I'm a sucker for articles on sites like Houzz.com about getting clutter under control, but they always show magazine-ready rooms bathed in gentle morning light with hardwood floors and plenty of room. When Remodelista starts putting out a weekly newsletter called “closet-sized rentals with ugly carpeting made to look kinda cute despite themselves,” I will jettison the self-flagellation and sign right up.
And then sometimes, I just get snarky and sit around thinking up obnoxious comebacks for perfectly nice organizing tips. Cue my mom: “If you spent this much energy following those Flylady tips, your house would look like Gwyneth Paltrow’s!”
Maybe so. But this is what you get from Sister Slacker-Snark. So enjoy.
Terrible Tip #1: “Sort by activity.”
Oh my God. This is like saying, “Step one: Get completely organized.” I want to stab myself in the face even THINKING about the day of hell this tip would entail. First, I’m supposed to sort EVERYTHING into “keep, trash, donate.” When that’s done, I allegedly sort yet again by activity, so I know what kind of storage to get. News flash: The storage I get is called “what’s available on Craigslist,” and every single activity (my kids are 1.5 and 3) is “hurl things randomly around the house.”
Oh God, God help me, this woman just told me to get the kids to help me sort. I want to die.
Terrible Tip #2: “Find a place for everything.”
This advice seems to make sense: Put little-used toys on higher shelves, much-used ones on the lowest. And get increasingly smaller bins for the increasing number of smaller items that seem to overrun every playroom.
Well, sure. Every once in a while I get a wild hair and go nuts trying to organize things. I’ll run to Marshalls and buy some cute $5 bins, and voila! The living-room-basted cuddlies and plastic toys finally have a home. But by the end of each day, there’s still an indeterminate pile of stuff that seems to fit into neither place that takes much too long to sort. What is all that stuff? I need some kind of home archaeologist. It’s like this: weird, scary mound of broken crayons, boxes that something is supposed to go in, and single dolly shoes.
I think that’s the basic problem here: My storage bins, in a strange twist of ironic fate, become part of the parade of clutter. And the Pile of Mystery continues to haunt me.
Terrible Tip #3: “Label, label, label.”
Amy’s response: “Bite me, bite me, bite me.”
Terrible Tip :4: “Pay attention to comfort and style.”
This is the kind of advice that makes me wonder who is having kids these days. Really? Stain-resistant carpeting is a good idea? Play mats are nice on hardwood floors? The hell you say. I thought I was supposed to litter a sisal mat with broken Pfaltzgraff and novelty thumbtacks.
Then again, I did recently post a recent article on Facebook, asking, “Why is this child so glum? Maybe because she lives in a walk-in freezer.” Clearly not all rooms ostensibly designed for children are actually, you know, designed. For children.
Terrible Tip #5: “Create a cleanup system.”
Lady, if I could create a cleanup system, I wouldn't have this problem. And I’ll make a chore chart just as soon as I can figure out what one looks like.
Have you found organization tips that really work? How mad do you get at decluttering articles obviously written by people who already have OCD?
Image via Elizabeth/Table4Five/Flickr