Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Place for Everything

I originally wrote this in the summer of 2011, just a few months after JT moved in with me in the little farmhouse we called home for a few years. I recently sat down to write an essay about how insane I am about keeping my house in order, then realized, oh wait, I already did. Three years ago. And nothing’s changed. So, other than referring to my now-husband as my boyfriend, I’m pretty much in the same place. Yay for consistency! Oh well. The good news is JT now has his own man cave, so I never have to see his endless piles of clothes/papers/receipts/wires/cables/wrestlingchampionshipbelts (not even remotely kidding) unless I intentionally go down to the basement. Which I only do to do laundry. Which I do a lot. Because I freakin’ love to clean. Sigh. The cycle continues…...

I'm a neat freak. I have been since I was a child. I can remember coming home from school, walking into my bedroom and gasping in horror because the dolls I had lined up atop my wardrobe were not in their proper order. My mother had dusted, and now the world was nothing but chaos. I actually yelled at her her, if I remember correctly, and schooled her in the ways of organizing them to my liking. I still always knew when they had been disturbed.

That need for neatness has never left. The first thing I do every morning is take a lap around my house and make sure everything is exactly where it should be - or rather, where I want it to be. It always is, never fail, as before I go to bed each night, I take the same lap, straightening magazines so they're in a perfect stack, putting dishes away in their designated shelf spots, making sure photo frames are in line with the edge of the table so as to not appear askew.

I clean if not daily then damn close. My theory is this: if you do little things everyday - a vacuum run here, a polishing there - then you never have to have one of those days that people dread when they're stuck in the house all day, frantically scrubbing everything down in anticipation of some guest or holiday event. I, on the other hand, never dread those days, and do them sometimes just for fun.

Now that the bf lives here and this is his home too, I've really worked on getting over the whole "a place for everything and everything in its place" mentality - to a degree. All my stuff is still where it belongs. His stuff has taken up residency in odd places, like the dining room - a room I'd never really used much before but now serves as his storage space for work bags, paperwork, and the occasional pair of sunglasses. Do I think those things belong in a dining room? No. Do I think it's nuts that something like that would bother me? Yes. So I don't let it get to me. I just move his stuff out of my line of vision so I can't see it when relaxing in my living room. Problem solved!

He also tends to use the bowl in my entryway, whose sole purpose was to hold my keys so I never lose them, as a catchall for everything in his pockets. His keys ends up there, but so does his wallet, loose change, receipts, ticket stubs, Chapstick, more sunglasses and hats. Of course, that all does not fit in the tiny bowl, so it has taken over my entryway. Along with three or four pairs of his shoes. This is another thing I really have to push past to not let it bother me. So the first thing people see when they walk into our home is a pile of junk and three pairs of sneakers? Hell, there are worse things. This is what I tell myself every time I walk in the door and instantly begin to feel to onset of a panic attack.

The thing is I know I'm the batty one here. It is not normal to let these types of things bother you. I can never be mad at another person for not living up to my supreme need for organization. That would be like being a heroin addict and getting pissed that your straight-edge significant other doesn't shoot up with you every day.

I will continue to work on this, though from what I can tell, this particular trait of mine is getting worse with age. Perhaps one day years down the road, I'll be the one dusting my own daughter's room, putting everything back in perfect order just so she can tear it all apart the second I'm out the door. 

Oh well. I'll put it all back again during my nightly lap around the house.

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