"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Order and Chaos

This entry is about organization.

I wanted to attend one last writing group meeting last night and decided at the last minute to just go for the whole thing even though I had said I was just going to pop in. I therefore wanted to be on time, but I needed to change first. I became incredibly frustrated, even angry, that I couldn't quickly find what I needed to get out the door quickly.

I had just spent a year where I was almost perfectly organized, especially in regards to my wardrobe. To go from sorted drawers to piles everywhere was depressing. My home hadn't always been neat. *laughs* There were often piles everywhere. But I could, whenever I wanted to, restore order very quickly. Everything in those piles had a home. If there is anything I learned over the past year it is that neatness is physical state while organization is a mental one. Someone who is very organized isn't necessarily neat, and someone who is very neat isn't necessarily organized. I had been disorganized AND messy my entire life until I realised just how much of my life had been wasted because of this. I finally clued into the number of things I had missed out on because I had more important things to do... like procrastinating on getting myself organized and neatened up. I decided that, once and for all, I would purge what needed to be purged and organize the rest. I succeeded. And then I moved into the RV where, that first night, it seemed that I would have to start all over.

A friend said to me that she wouldn't worry about getting the RV all sorted out before leaving; that she would just chuck everything into a big bin to deal with later. I've been doing that my whole life. I'm tired of living like that, in a sort of organizational limbo. The last thing I wanted to do was spend my month on the road 'getting organized' again! My things had been organized in the house; it was just a matter of reorganizing them to suit the setup of my new home.

So, Tuesday's order of business was most definitely clothing. The load done at the laundromat on Monday and dried outside was ready to be put away. I looked at my wardrobe and realised that perhaps it isn't suitable for a bank of drawers, but that's okay. I prefer to hang my clothes! 95% of my clothes are hangable! I like sliding open a closet door and seeing all my clothes hung neatly with like colours together. Why try to reinvent that system when it has worked so well for me? So, I hung up everything again. It's a bit tight in there, but everything fits since I'll rotate out of season clothes. I then used the drawer underneath for under things and sorted the rest of the stuff into the extra Ikea Kassette boxes. Since I don't have more clothes than I actually wear, I only needed one box per category: scarves, shawls, camis, summer pjs, winter pjs, regular socks, cold weather socks... It's not as nice as opening a drawer, but the boxes can only stack two high, so it's not a huge hassle to take a box out of there. I filled a larger see through bin with pants. My running wear went into a basket. I used what I had and it worked! Today, I was able to go to work without having to pull an outfit together frantically on Tuesday night.

Tonight, I don't have anything to organize. Put away, yes, but not organize. I still have a ton of stuff to do, but it won't be as overwhelming as the last few nights have been. I started with several loads of laundry (one nice thing about laundromats is that you can do several loads at once!) and then move on to putting away the last odd bits left so that I can drive off safely tomorrow. I still need to carve out more space for groceries, but I can find everything now. So, I'm good to go.

What I am most surprised to discover is just how much I have come to need that sense of control over my life. Having lived in chaos for most it, hiding it relatively well from my peers, the new organized me found a lot of free time once she wasn't dealing with stuff.

To have gone from the mess on Saturday to this is absolutely astounding. I found room for everything. Go figure.


1001 Petals said...

I am extremely organized as well, but have always been that way. My husband is the way you used to be -- it drives me NUTS. It makes me feel so unstable, itchy. . .maybe you can feel at home in the RV cause you've carried your systems over with you, and the organization of that is like your anchor(?)

Raven said...

I think that feeling at home here is a combination of things: having my own mattress and bedding, having put up artwork, having my books and computer and movies on hand, etc.

And having a wardrobe sorted by like colours. :-)