The urge to organize

My friend Teresa always used to say that December 26—Boxing Day—was her favorite of the year, since she was able to enjoy all the pleasures of Christmas with none of the pressure. I’ve kept her counsel for many years; the lazy day after Christmas is one of my favorites as well. This year, with the company gone, I announced early on that I planned to do absolutely nothing, which I did successfully… for a few hours. I watched an episode of Love, Lies, and Records on Acorn (it’s wonderful!) and read a bit (Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore—I like it). I munched on leftovers. But by the time Hubby decided to watch a Jack Reacher* movie, I was ready for something more active.

The urge to organize that always hits me when the season or the year changes coaxed me into the kitchen. I emptied, then cleaned and reorganized, the pantry shelves and purged all some odd foodstuffs acquired impulsively in the international aisle. I know it’s stupid to waste money and worse to waste food, so from now on, with you, readers, as my witness, here’s my pledge: I promise never to buy a semi-exotic ingredient without a recipe and a commitment to use it immediately.  The days of keeping such things on the shelf “just in case I feel like making Chinese” are long gone.

A month or so ago, while recuperating, I was looking for productive things to do that didn’t require much effort. We were deep into fall and though the weather was still balmy,  scarf season was upon us. I’ve never been satisfied with scarves folded in a drawer or on a shelf. They wrinkle and slide and inevitably, you have to go through the whole pile for the one you want. Furthermore, I am nuts about scarves and even wear them inside when it’s cold. I remembered seeing a Real Simple  hanger expressly suited to scarves, so—while I hand washed every one and hung them on almost every towel rack in the bathroom to dry— I sent Hubby on a mission to Bed Bath and Beyond, armed with a photo from the BB&B website. He came back with three of these nifty hangers, per my request, and then sweetly went out a second time for the fourth when it became clear that I have quite a few scarves. This little project just thrilled me, and still does. Every day, I get to admire my scarves hanging in plain sight, organized by weight and color and wrinkle-free. Little things mean a lot.

A similar organizing adventure was the $10 shirt-folder I bought from Amazon three years ago. This piece of cheap plastic—which is literally duct-taped together in one spot—remains one of my favorite gadgets. Tee shirts  and most sweaters fold flat and line up beautifully on the shelf.
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Slightly obsessive? Perhaps, but there’s absolutely nothing “concrete sequential” about me when it comes to thought processes or conversation (ask Hubby), so these little islands of  “hyper” organization are something of an anomaly. Still, like a Hallmark movie, such projects give momentary order to chaos and more or less immediate gratification. Which is not a bad way to start a new year, right?


*Matthew Bourne meets the Liam Neeson character in Taken, except it’s Tom Cruise. Definitely not my cup of tea.





7 thoughts on “The urge to organize

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