Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The pile system meets the box system meets Nipper Knapp

So I'd like to say straight away that I am by far the most organized member of my family. My mother used to tease me about how everything had to be "just so". That being said, isn't saying much, because I was raised in a Tornado. I was explaining the chore line up in our house to Nipper the other day, and I could see him visibly shaken by my story. I might as well have told him that my parents beat me with a belt as a child. 

Here's how laundry worked in our house. The laundry room was in the basement, sort of out of site, out of mind. My mom would throw a load of laundry in the wash or in the dryer when she had a free moment. But once it was dry, it got dumped onto a large dining room table that was in the room. Once the pile was 3 or 4 feet tall, or not a single pair of socks or underwear was left in the house, my mother would order one of us down there to fold it all and bring it upstairs. It felt like you'd been ordered to climb everest. The pile was always taller than me, and it seemed unfair, and as I got older, disgusting to have to fold my dad's and brother's underwear. The other horror show about laundry day was that very often in the basement you'd see silverfish the size of your hand. For those of you who don't know what a silverfish is, google it. Better yet, see if you can find video, because I'm not sure a still photo could do this monster justice. I'd provide a link, but I can't. Just typing the word silverfish has raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Shiver...

Ok so I feel like I do a pretty good job of keeping things together around here. I guess for me, cleaning means mopping, dusting, vaccuming, but not necessarily taking piles of papers (or as I call them "filings") and putting them somewhere out of site. Nipper Knapp's main ocd seems to be about things on top of things. Like mail on the kitchen counter or any random assortment of things left on the dining room table (keys, purse, laundry, mail, matchbox cars). When we lived in the loft this was especially hard to manage as everything was in site at all times. I had a large tupperware box that I had moved from our old apartment to the loft. It was filled with things from my desk that I could not afford to lose track of. I never was able to fully empty that box, because I either didn't know where to put the things in it, or didn't have the space. So I moved the box with me here, and it sat next to my desk for 2 years until I went out and bought an even bigger box, because it was now teeming with things other than things that I couldn't afford to lose track of, and other crap I didn't know what to do with. It now contains photos, art paper, a lightbox, masses of negatives, magazines, hangers, and for some reason two petticoats. 

I realize that if I move this box into the garage, which will be our new office when it's done, Nipper Knapp might have a point about my organizational skills. Which by the way, I was pretty sure were Martha Stewart like before I met his Swiss army like tactics. He is able to pitch almost anything. He has no emotional attachment to pieces of paper. It's his job to shred things we don't need, but that shouldn't end up in the garbage. I think he enjoys this. It gives me a migraine. 

I have every letter my parents have ever sent me. I have photos from grade school. I have taxes for the last 7 years, including receipts for everything I've ever purchased. I have poems that friends wrote in college, and poems that I wrote in college. I have empty check registers from 2001. I have 20 years of journals, which in this day and age of hideous revelations in people's diaries, I know is a terrible idea, and I think I'll have Nipper burn them. I have headshots and zed cards from castings I did years ago, those girls are all over the hill or married to a music producer by now. I have drawers and drawers filled with photographs and negatives. I have a drawer filled with hard drives backing up all of my our digital files. 

I keep thinking that maybe if I went to the Container Store and I'd be more inspired. But I know that it would just be a reason to buy a bunch of things that I will fill up with more stuff I should be throwing away. 

Ok so while finishing the downstairs bathroom, and getting ready the garage for move in. I have to tackle this box. I don't know where to start and looking at it is starting to depress me. I need one of those Oprah people to come in here and help me. The thought of looking at every piece of paper in that box, and trying to find a place for it fills me with dread. It's going to be a walk down the most boring memory lane ever. 

Wish me luck and please send some Oreo cookies for fortification. 

1 comment:

  1. Since I'm catching up on my 17 tivo'd Oprah's while on snow day, I will watch the show on hoarders and report back some solutions.