I really can't put a finger on the day I first realized I was "Non-Domestic." Probably because before I was "Non-Domestic" I was disorganized, a procrastinator, a clutter-bug, a pack-rat, messy, and generally untidy.
Looking back at pictures of my childhood room I see a fairly clean, uncluttered space. These pictures are deceptive. I know what lurks beneath these seemingly ordered images. I remember how I cleaned my room back in the day. I can still hear the sound of the jingle of the keys, the click in the door, the skip in my heartbeat, that gave us our only warning.
My father was home.
And the sudden frenzy.
The dust that was left in our wake.
We had approximately 20 seconds to clean our rooms before he made his way down the hallway. My sister's room was first in his path so that possibly bought me a few extra precious seconds.
Every top drawer in my room (all the top drawers were "junk" drawers) would be yanked open. The dresser, two side tables and one chest of drawers. Anything on top of these surfaces was swept inside and pushed shut. Simultaneously I was kicking anything on the floor under the bed. The bedspread was flung up "making" the bed. I would then pound down the telltale bumps of the sheets which were still wadded up near the bottom of the bed. Another blanket would be thrown over the "toy pile" in the corner. (That tactic never worked!) Anything on the bookshelf would be pushed up over the books to fall hidden behind them. Then came the closet. I would quickly fling anything and everything remaining into the closet and close the doors. The doors were bi-fold so I was left to hope and pray they did not "pop" back open at an inopportune moment.
Ready for my father's inspection.
Some days it passed.
On others he would get the bright idea to open a drawer, or check inside the closet. After he dug himself out from under the avalanche I was left to reorganize the discovered hidden mess.
Here's the thing about junk drawers. You start with one. Then that one fills up so you have to create a second one. No, cleaning out the first would not be the more obvious solution. Sheesh! Then the second fills up.
I have come to that point in my life when all the junk drawers have spilled over. I have accumulated more stuff than I have space for. I find myself at a bit of an impasse. You see I might call it a "junk drawer" but the contents are all treasures. They are simply awaiting their rediscovery or reinvention. Someday they will be glorious. Yes, the neon orange shoelaces I saved out of my shoes when I was 15 will totally be useful... one day.
What? Don't tell me you didn't have neon orange shoelaces in your shoes too! What else would you put in neon orange shoes? If you didn't have neon orange shoes, what did you wear your neon orange socks with? Your neon orange shorts? Neon orange t-shirt? Neon orange scrunchie? When you wanted to mix things up, what did you pair your neon pink skirt and neon blue t-shirt with? Wow, that's just sad. Really. Just sad. And yes I still own most if not all of these items. Not sure what happened to the skirt... Sadly they have not fit me since college... (Yes, I totally wore them in college!) I'm hoping I can fit back into them in time for my kid's teenage years.
See? Totally useful!
Yes, I do realize there is work to be done. I have also come to a certain level of acceptance. Just as I realize I will never look like a supermodel (though I could probably dress better) my house will never look like the ones on the covers of magazines. Ever. A path to walk through is a must. Here's the thing though. Some people have a little cubby where their mail looks all neat and cute. If I tried that it would look like a disorganized jumble. My mail has a home of it's own too. It's the dining room table. That's where we keep it. It will probably always be that way. (Even though I secretly fantasize of a pretty little basket somewhere that somehow never overflows.) Hopefully we can get to the point of only keeping a weeks worth of mail there... rather than 5 years or so...
The truth is that even if I was not a pack-rat married to another pack-rat (yes there are two of us in this mess) I would still be messy. Maybe I would be able to hide it better but it would still be there lurking. Even back in that childhood bedroom there was evidence on display. That bookshelf. That toy pile. They were disasters. One glance at the bookshelf would tell you that all the books had been haphazardly placed in no particular order. One look at the toy pile and you could tell all those teddy bears and dollies had been thrown to land every which way.
Here is the secret though.
This is what I know about that bookshelf and that toy pile. The truth that no one would believe unless they had seen it for themselves.
I had actually spent hours at a time, taking all the books off that bookshelf, and all the toys out of that pile. Then I would ever so carefully put them back one by one. Carefully placing them just so.
The end result?
Absolutely identical to the start.
Do you wonder why years later I have thrown up my hands at the very notion of neat and tidiness? To this day I can carefully make a stack of papers. I will spend my time stacking them by size and making the edges all neat. Then I step back to view my pretty little stack. It looks like I threw a disordered jumble into a pile.
I simply was not born with the clean gene.
So instead of fighting I decided to blog about it!
Hi, I'm Rachael and I'm a Non-Domestic Mama!