Thursday, March 5, 2009

confessions of a messy girl

   Oh we're confessing things, are we?

   I'll go first. 

    My name is Jessica and I am messy. Not dirty, mind you--there is a very big difference between the two and I just want to be clear that I am certainly the former and not at all the latter.  

   I mean, really, I shower like every other day. 

   Or at least every three days.

   But truly, you know how you have that unspoken to-do list that's always hanging around in the back of your mind whether it's really welcome or not? And whether you actually do it or not?

   Well right up there with visiting the OBGYN, actually making sure that I have indeed read every book of the Bible in its entirety, and getting my husband to finally buy his brothers' their respective Christmas presents (though, to my knowledge, they still owe us ours, so perhaps by March it should just be judicially declared a wash), is the never-ending quest to become An Organized Person.  

   To proudly take my place next next to the type-A people of the world who, rather than having their accordion type filer shoved into the corner of the office, successfully keeping one square of the carpet clean and that's about it, actually have it labeled and filled with neatly stashed receipts and bills and pay stubs and coupons and copious notes on Smart Couples Finish Rich.

   Rather than just reading the first couple of chapters over and over again because, inevitably, something like the Twilight series makes an appearance in your life and then you forget about being smart or a couple or the prospect of finishing rich--or finishing anything at all other than Twilight, for that matter--and so you lose your place and months later, after you've read everything you could about Edward and Bella, you remember that you did at one point want to be smart, that you are certainly part of a couple, and oh yeah--how was it again you were supposed to finish rich?

   Um, not that anything like that has ever been part of my experience. 

    But, anyway, I dream of being organized. 

     Of not having a bed that looks like this:

  Or a bedroom that looks like this:
  Or an office that looks like this:
  Although I do like the look of our cats in all those places, I do not like how they are surrounded in a disorganized mess...

   So, I started doing something to help. Instead of keeping my receipts in the bottom of my purse or just sloshing around in either of my suitcases or my trunk, I now have a small plastic ziplock bag that I put them in.

   When the bag gets full, I will start a new one. 

   I thought this was at least a stab at organization, which for me, is progress.

   And I need to confess one more thing; before you go thinking I am an innovative genius, the plastic bag idea was my friend, Stephanie's.  

   But for me actually doing it? Yes, you can certainly think I am an innovative genius.  

   So, you wanna share any tips on how you manage to keep your life organized?


kathiek said...

When I do, I'll let you know, Jess!

peaj said...

If you want the appearance of organization, remember that open space looks neater. So if you have stuff all over the floor, it looks messy. If you have the same amount of stuff on the floor, but it is all pushed to the edges, it looks neater. Resolve to not put anything in the middle of the floor.

But, my daughter is the same way - I think she finds comfort in having a bed that looks like it would crush her if she actually got under the covers.

Nina said...

I agree with PJ. There's a big difference between being organized and appearing to be organized. I've mastered the appearance, but not organization itself. It would probably be better if I let the mess show itself -- that way I'd have to face the depths of my disorganization.

And, Jessica, I've probably mentioned this before, but I think you're a great writer. And prolific too! I can't keep even keep up with reading your blog!

Anonymous said...

Well, I have thoroughly mastered keeping one space in my life totally organized, but it's not anywhere in my house. It's my car. Here's how to do it: Taking only one milli-smygyon (sp?) of discipline, you force yourself to grab everything you have plopped down in your car during one given trip (long or short) and haul it into your house. If it's trash you immediately throw it away; if it's not trash you desposit it somewhere for your spouse to deal with! (Just kidding, kinda.)

This plan keeps my car a tiny oasis of order I can escape to when the chaos of my office makes me depressed.

Michele said...

Jessica, I can't decide if it would be easier or harder to keep things organized while traveling across the nation! My only tidbit would be to immediately discard anything you don't need to keep. I'm a firm believer in a place for everything and everything in its place (but please don't come inspect my house).

beingawesome said...

i will say this.. a vast majority of the "creative" people i know like to have things where they can find them.

To most people this is messy.

To us.. it's efficient.

Emily said...

I could use the creative excuse, but truth be told, I can't find anything! I look at my mess, and I just feel slightly hopeless. My whole house is not this way. not the kitchen, not the girls room, or the living room, but the rest, oh dear! The laundry room and bedroom are serious catchalls, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. My kitchen table used to be that way too, but I found that once I moved it away from the wall, I no longer piled stuff up on it. Some weird mental thing for me, I guess. I do love to clutter my surfaces!

Natalie said...

I'm with everyone who says that creative people are just kind of disorganized.

I was searching desperately for my left character shoe a few weeks ago and instead found a term paper from four years ago, a purse that I didn't remember I still owned that had $20 in it, and my cat, who was hiding behind the giant pile'o'purses in my closet.

How many bags do you travel with on tour? I'm willing to bet you're pretty good at keeping everything you travel with organized, which is what counts!

jason said...

I'm a mess, too... almost irredeemably. And I like this of myself as creative.

jason said...

"to think" not "this"

Jessica Latshaw said...

Well, I like the idea of being messy if it means every once in a while finding a twenty like Natalie did.

or if it is a sign of creativity like Rob's and Jason's is...

But I also like the idea of having a neat car (like anon who suspiciously sounds like my pop) and a room that makes me feel peaceful rather than hopeless, like Emily said.

And thank you for the suggestion on how to give the APPEARANCE of organization, Peaj; I will remember that piles of stuff does not lend itself well to that;-)

And Nina, thank you for your kind words;-) I know I do write a lot, but it's like therapy for me; I truly enjoy it.

Michele--throwing things away actually does feel really good; it's liberating, esp. for one who travels for a living and likes to feel as light as possible.

Jessica Latshaw said...

And Natalie--to answer your question, I travel with one large suitcase, one small carry-on suitcase, my laptop bag, and my purse.

But--on top of that, ACL travels my trunk for me which is huge and fits a lot of unwieldy things like my yoga mat, dried goods, boots, seasonal wear, and construction paper, among other things...