Sunday, 6 September 2009

Getting organised

As a child I was intensely disorganised. My room was a mess. (Once, we had mice in the house and discovered that their nest was at the bottom of my cupboard - ewww!). I struggled to submit my homework, not because I found it difficult, but because I (a) forgot it was due; (b) had misplaced it; (c) had left it until the last last minute and didn't have everything I needed on hand; or (d) some combination of the above, etc. 

I also lost my jacket at the beginning of every winter and froze for the remainder of the season because I was too scared to tell my parents (scared of their disappointment in me, not of punishment - I can't really remember being 'punished' as a child unless you count being sent to your room to calm down for a few minutes). The "lost property" box at school was full of my possessions, but not all of them made their way to it. I remember one time I was given a super cute umbrella by my aunt and uncle. It was bright blue and had a wooden head with soft fluffy hair. It was cool. I loved it. The first day that it rained I was so excited to take it to school with me, but it never came home. I am still sad about this.

[I should mention here that the fact that I moved house every weekend (and, later, every second weekend) between my Mum and Dad's houses probably didn't help me out very much. However, it didn't have the same effect on my brother and so there was clearly more to it than that.]

Anyway, I think that you probably get the picture. Being disorganised was actually a real problem in my life. It plagued me.

For some reason all this changed when I moved to the States with my Dad (aged 14). The change of country, school, living arrangements, (and maybe just the age that I was at?) all seemed to effect me and I suddenly found that I was really organised. My room was clean (aided, no doubt by my lack of stuff and the fact that I didn't have to move every second weekend). I always knew where everything was. I handed in everything on time. In fact, I often completed things early.

The thing is: it was great. Instead of constantly feeling stressed about the chaos that I was creating around me - instead of rolling from crisis to crisis - I was, actually,
in control of my life. I even became a bit of a control freak, if I'm going to be honest.

I think that I have found a bit of a happy balance now, which is good. But the interesting thing is that this loss of control that I did experience when I was so disorganised now comes back to haunt me in my dreams. I frequently dream that I am back at school (usually some conglomerate of all of my past schools mixed together) and have suddenly realised that I haven't done an assignment that is due. Often these dreams spiral into the realisation that I haven't actually attended a class that I've been enrolled in all semester and now have to sit the exam... Or that I have actually managed to miss school altogether for the whole semester without realising and now have to sort it out without FAILING. These dreams never fail to stress me out.

Anyway, lately P and I have been trying to organise our house. We have been de-cluttering like maniacs, attempting to institute a bit of order on our stuff - including our paper. (Argh, why does paper seem to breed in our house?) It's been very satisfying. 

We went through our bookshelves the other week and culled every novel that we had read and didn't want to read again, and books that we were never planning to actually read. We also culled all of our out-of-date reference books. Those books filled many boxes. It felt so good.

We also cleared our closet of clothing that we no longer wear, and even went through all the stuff that has been accumulating in our garage. So good.

To celebrate all this de-cluttering we decided to host a swap party yesterday. Friends came over with all their unwanted stuff and we all got to rummage through the piles and take whatever we wanted.

It was fun. Everyone left with less stuff than they brought - we is a good thing for all of our clutter-free home aspirations - but everyone still picked up a few things that they were really happy with: a funky watering can, a wooden glockenspiel, new novels to read, a new green cardigan...

I had a short frenzied moment gathering myself some (more) kitchen utensils (I have a kitchen utensil problem), including a cute cookie cuter, a wire whisk, and a fancy grater thingy. I also picked up two books. But I got rid of far far more stuff than I took, so it was OK.

We also ate cupcakes, rock buns, pide, hummus, crackers, fruit and some scrumptious brownies - and drank some 'sparkly' drinks (as Lily calls them).

Like I said: it was fun.

The best part is that Zoe is coming back around today to pick up all the left over stuff for her son's school fete. Goodbye clutter!

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