The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

The KEY to staying organized…

It’s week # 12 in Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing challenge. This week Org Junkie’s topic is “Daily Maintenance.

Finally, something I apparently rock at! (Just don’t tell my bikini line… that Mama Bear thinks it’s hybernating until Memorial Day.)

With the exception of my dining room which I am using as a staging/work area while I declutter the rest of the house, I have successfully maintained all the other spots on my project list thus far.

Just ask my awesome Facebook friend Regan.

The other day I posted a picture of myself looking quite fetching in my very messy kitchen. Later that day, she wrote on my FB wall:

I notice that you’re keeping that window sill in good order. 😉

How awesome is that? I am so tickled that she noticed my neatly maintained window sill and that she would take the time mention it. Thanks Regan!

You know why I’m soooo good at maintaining these areas? Because I am sooooo lazy.

Maintaining is much much easier and less painful than the initial work it takes to get a space looking that good. It’s just like going to the dentist. If you floss everyday (which I do!), those bi-annual dentist visits are much easier, right? Same thing with your house. It’s just that sometimes we need a big ol’ painful scraping session to get to the point where we can easily maintain it on our own. That’s what led me to Org Junkie… I had gone too long without “flossing” my house. But now I’m back on track and things are definitely starting to look bright and shiny around here.

This week I’ve been scraping away at the hidden plaque in my kitchen. Ooooh-weeee, what a frickin’ mess.

Remember that built-in desk area of my kitchen? You know, the one that will be the ideal Command Center one day?

Well, I’m slowly working on it, piece by piece.

The first thing I did was clear that sucker off!

Check out my constant companion Gracie… she loves to just hang out with me while I declutter. I guess she’s an organizing junkie too!

Here’s what the top drawer looked like earlier this week:

Here’s me attempting to follow Org Junkie’s PROCESS… removing everything, organizing like with like, and purging as much as I can:

And here’s what it looks like after containerizing:

Much better, eh? Now I’m evaluating and simplifying. And soon I predict I’ll be doing lots of smiling about it.

I only had one minor hiccup on this project.

Have I ever told you about the time I hired the world’s worst professional organizer four years ago? It was, hands down, the worst money I’ve ever spent. (Even worse than that case of Fat Burning Soap I purchased from QVC in 1997.)

I’ll spare you the details because I’m a good Christian woman who subscribes to the Golden Rule. But let me just summarize by saying that bitch flat out sucked. Bless her heart. I pray that she’ll find her true calling one day… perhaps as a toll booth operator or inspector #42 at the Fruit of the Loom factory.

One of the projects she made me do was to organize that same kitchen drawer I worked on this week. She stood over me like a Catholic school nun with a wooden ruler and made me decide on the spot whether or not to keep or purge every little thing in that drawer. It was so awful, I still have nightmares about it.

But I will tell you this. Even though working with her was like having a drug-free root canal, she did know a trick or two (tops).

And one of those two tricks I learned from her would be really handy for a normal person (i.e., not me). I’d like to share it with you now.

In that junk drawer 4 years ago was a bunch of random keys. I didn’t want to throw any of them out because I wasn’t sure what they went to or whether or not I’d need them in the future. Plus, I have a major phobia of losing keys based on a childhood incident in which I lost the key to our beach house rental and my Uncle and Grandpa scarred me for life with their angry display. Seriously… to this day, I clip my keys to my purse or my beltloop or my nipple ring. Kidding, I don’t have a nipple ring, but if I did, my keys would surely be clipped to it (and dragging on the floor behind me.)

But here’s the solution that evil organizer came up with:

Bag of random keys, labeled “Trash 5-15-08.”

Her intention was that I could keep the bag of random keys for one more year, and if I hadn’t used any of them by then, I was supposed to throw the whole bag away on 5-15-08.

Pretty brilliant idea, I have to say.

Of course, here we are almost three years past that scheduled dumping date, and have I done it? Nooooooooo.

They are keys! KEYS!!! You know the minute I throw those out I will find a magic box or trunk in my attic or basement that contains treasures beyond the wildest imagination!

I. Simply. Cannot. Throw. Away. Keys.

So here’s what I’m a-gonna do. I’m just going to move the baggie somewhere less prominent… perhaps to the bottom of my file cabinet. It’s just a little baggie. It doesn’t take up that much space! Right?

Forgive me, Org Junkie. I know it’s the wrong thing to do. I just can’t throw away keys. I can’t.

Okay, in all fairness, I’m starting to think maybe that professional organizer wasn’t so bad afterall. She just had one bitch of a difficult client. Bless her heart.

apologetically yours,

-Iris

PS – to see the rest of the 52 Weeks projects I’ve tackled so far, click here.

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

10 Comments

  1. This post was great! Love the bikini line statement! I have a problem with keys too. What if I find a long lost treasure box and one of the keys I tossed opened it up. I like the bag trick. I’ll have to use that one.

  2. Oh, the dreaded pile of excess keys Iris! Know it all too well. I’m like you and can’t bear to throw them out, just in case. Reminds me a bit of this:

    I’m sure all my keys open the doors to the homes of my previous boyfriends, places where I’ve babysat, fed their dogs etc. Wonder if they have a better TV and well stocked fridge (and a less cluttered house)?

  3. Hands down, one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time.

    Sincerely,
    Your new devoted reader

    ps) You should put one of the keys under your front mat to confuse your next burglar.

  4. I am beyond jealous of that soon to be command center. It’s straight out of my dreams! Once it’s organized 😉

  5. I actually bought someone’s collection of keys to make a wind chime… nothing like the sound of jingling keys to lull you to sleep….
    True story.

  6. I have a collection of keys like that too! Can’t believe you hired a professional organizer and then she sucked! That just cracks me up!

  7. How in the world did I miss this post….okay now I know we are related. I hired a professional organizer for a session or two…can’t remember, few years ago….Unfortunately my BIL at the time was painting our house. I fed him lunch everyday…which enabled him to see what was going on. I still have not lived that down and he will occasionally say….hey pay me 500 bucks to tell you to get rid of crap or variations on that theme. In all fairness I was in a state of panic thinking the Marine Corp was going to kick my SIL out on medical discharge for Stargardt’s disease…juvenile macular degeneration….they didn’t…., but I thought three more people were going to be moving into our house, which used to have three more people in it…while 2 of them went to school and got a life plan. Thank goodness it didn’t happen…for more than I would for sure be in the crazy farm by now. It doesn’t take long to spread out after the kids leave home.

  8. I don’t throw away keys either. I always have this weird idea that somehow, even after all earthly use is past imagining, they will then become *magic* keys that open the gate to Narnia or something. Keys are just…they need to stay. My mom feels the same way. So my mom, who was purging a bunch of embroidery supplies because she hadn’t done any embroidery at all since Nixon (I’m pretty sure), took ALL her old keys and tied them on lengths of colored embroidery thread, one key per end, then folded the lengths in half, and pulled until they were all hanging in a sort of spiral (when one end gets pulled longer, the other end gets shorter – it’s kind of fun, actually). She knotted the middles all together to make a hanging loop. And then, of course, she had nowhere to hang her masterpiece, so she gave it to me. I love my little “key mobile”, and it’s awesome. I’m saving up a bunch more keys to add to it. 🙂 Theoretically, I could hang it outside and it would make happy tinkling noises, but I like it inside. Where I can get at the keys if I need them in a hurry. I like that it makes me look creative and artistic instead of completely batshit-scary-hoarder.

    • Wow – what a great idea! I would love to see a picture of that… it sounds beautiful. Indeed, always go for creative and artistic over “completely batshit-scary-hoarder.”

  9. Okay…I thought I was the only one who was weird about keys. =) Glad I’m not alone!

    Oh yeah…and receipts paid with credit/debit cards. Why? Because of my irrational fear that unless I shred every single one to molecular-sized shreds, an identity thief will rummage through my garbage cans, run off with my receipts with the last few digits of my CC#, and simultaneously hack into the stores’ transaction database in order to extract my information. So they’re not leaving my house until they’re thoroughly shredded – speaking of which, I worry about not shredding finely enough in case the ID thieves painstakingly piece the receipt shards together. Like a jigsaw puzzle.

    So now I have three YARD SIZE garbage bags full of receipts in my basement.

    They do make surprisingly good punching bags though…

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