Decluttering, Euphemistically

Just re-posting this…because HOLY TIMELY…


Just checking in to say that my husband and I are not divorced yet. Oh, it’s OK, probably. I’m crossing fingers that we will weather Project “Tidy House in Sequence Beginning (with) Large Obvious Wrecks & Stains” (THIS BLOWS), also referred to pseudo affectionately as the “The Huge Intrepid, Super Ballsy Long Overdue Weeding-Out Strategy” (also THIS BLOWS).


Seems someone (**cough cough* I’manidiot **cough cough**) took it upon themselves to declare the days following Thanksgiving as “Organization Time,” and so we are cleaning out the kids’ toy bins, drawers, dressers, closets, etc. ALL WEEKEND LONG.



The problem here is two-fold: one, I suffer from chaos disorder; and two, I don’t like to be told what to do. So this leaves me with (1) not knowing what to do with all the crap, and (2) not liking my husband’s suggestions (which, in my defense, usually amounts to “let’s put everything in this plebian-looking industrial-size utilitarian container!“) or (let’s take off the closet doors!,” his nonsensical organizational omni-answer).


So I love my husband, but we are so painfully mismatched in our organizational approaches that I really and truly dread de-cluttering with him. Like I said, I am genetically predisposed to repel all organizational efforts, and even if I wanted to establish order, I do not have the brain circuitry to do so. I lack the DNA, I’m telling you. I could stick something in a drawer (and I do, oh how I do), and forget it’s there until The Rock finds my birth certificate while looking for the toilet bowl cleaner (which, in my passive-aggressive defense, NEVER happens).


It’s like I know what needs to be done to organize, but I can’t get there. Seriously. You should see my sock/underwear/bathing suit/silver coin collection/1999 movie tickets/kids’ immunization records drawer.


On the other hand, organization was bred into The Rock’s family. His grandpa used to take 10 minutes to open a Christmas present because he did it so methodically and calculated (with a pen knife) so the wrapping paper could be refolded and used again. Also, The Rock’s mom has things like “recipe collections,” and “photo albums” to organize her stuff. I find this baffling. My mom just stuck all her photos in a big box prone to water and fire damage, a tradition I proudly follow to this day.


Still, I pretty much know where things — the important things — are located. I have a half-assed organizational system that sort of works. Or at least it used to, until my second pregnancy, which stole most of the brain cells responsible for memory. Now, I kind of just grope around in the usual places and hope to find what I need, like smog certificates that were due 10 days ago, or an EPT indicator stick.


Also, did I tell you how I went to a Hewlett-Packard focus group a few weeks ago? To offer input on an in-progress product that could further organize moms’ lives? And how all the moms there were actually organized? And how I had to admit that I was not? In the least, littlest, fractionest, teeniest bit? And how any product designed to organize my life would be futile and an exercise in ridiculousness? Then how I publicly shared I hate paper? Because it’s more stuff I have to not organize? And so I don’t have things like recipes, or grocery lists, or master calendars, or any of that detritus? Because it’s more debris to de-clutter? Well, let me just say about that: a collective gasp arose from the moms, and one politely but firmly told the HP engineers, “we’re not all like that.”


I was so mortified at myself after that focus group that I went right out and bought a master calendar. I filled it out and everything. And you know what? The Rock said something to the effect of it wasn’t organized enough. I guess I needed to fill in more than one month at a time?

I swear, I’m gonna kill him this weekend.


No divorce. Just death by master calendar blunt force trauma. And then I’m going to stick his body in an industrial-size utilitarian container, kinda like a tribute. Or in the closet? I haven’t settled on a body disposal site yet. My indecisive gene is even huger than my chaos gene.


Just kidding honey! I love you, and hope that together, we can harmoniously tackle Project THIS BLOWS. Because a solid partnership like ours should not crumble just because your mom’s eggs had too much organization in them.


p.s. And I’m sorry I gave that bum our umbrella. I just couldn’t find the right drawer for it. Also, it’s Christmas! I thought it’d be nice if I enabled more efficient four-seasons panhandling.


27 Responses to “Decluttering, Euphemistically”

  1. tinsenpup says:

    Coincidentally, I am working on my own version of Project This Blows this weekend. Well, obviously not right now. Right now, I’m hovering over my blogroll waiting for early risers to update, because it’s VERY important to keep my finger on the pulse of procrastination.

  2. I have to say, I am probably more like The Rock in that I have rampant OCD requiring me to be hyper-organized even if it’s in a crazy, makes-little-sense-to-anyone-else way.

    However, I am ready to make my H-P engineer husband protest to the corporate focus group people about the wicked moms who acted better than you…That’s just wrong & mean. We ought never to disparage each others’ ways of organizing & such.

    So, frankly, I have no idea how to make a point of this comment. I’ll just end with “I support you in whatever ways you need me to. Boys are dumb.”


  3. I’m not an organized mom but I play one on TV.

  4. Ferd says:

    This is reality show stuff! If you had cameras all over the house documenting Project This Blows(up), your Nielsens would rock!

    Princess Gail has a funky OCDish organizational gene. She used to live in a very small house, and became a master re-shuffler, re-distributer. We have all the same stuff, but it is always in different places, somehow in smaller boxes, and smaller piles. She re-shuffles crazily when under stress. As a result, I can never find shit, but fortunately she can. It works for her. I find it a fascinating part of her charm! She also paints rooms and does other home repair projects under stress. So I figure, if I want an organized house, my job is to always keep her under some kind of stress! I’m good at that.

    Good luck this weekend! It sounds pretty funny to me. I just hope you were joking about murdering The Rock. Does he read the blog. I wish there was some way to warn him. I’ll have to keep my eye on CNN.

  5. Midlife Mama says:

    Gee…I never do that. I’m perfectly organized. ::Sidling over to the spare room door and easing the door closed.:: What? That room? In there? Heh heh nothing….oh it’s nothing. No, it’s not full of plebian-looking industrial-size utilitarian containers stacked to the ceiling with a small path to the TV, recliner and computer table in the corner.

    Oh, and pay no attention to the boxes full of pictures, and the recipe box that is half full of recipes and is used to prop up the other half which is next to it in the cabinet.

    **cough cough** Good thing I don’t do what you do…

    **snort** Believe me you are SO not alone!! I don’t have the mental or physical energy right now to even attempt Project This Blows, and it drives Dr. Jekyll crazy that I can’t seem to get motivated to do it. I wanna be organized in my heart, but I can’t seem to translate that want to actual activity.


  6. you have a gift. a gift for writing down my thoughts and feelings in an eloquent way. i, too am an unorganized mommy. ‘cept i was kinda organized prior to giving birth to my second child. i am afraid to have a third due to the fact that it would cause additional brain damage. and, well with my enormous wine consumption, i just can’t afford to lose any more brain cells. heh.

    btw, we also attempted to organize the kids’ toys on thanksgiving day prior to the guests arriving. nothing better than giving family and friends the illusion that our house is clean, kids are bathed and toys organized. *cough*

  7. Since he’s good at it and you’re not, I think you should take the kids to Sea World and he should just “get ‘er done.” You can show your appreciation later.

  8. Beth says:

    Hilarious! I totally relate. Just so happens that DH made a run this morning to the charity store to drop off a carload of stuff that was hanging around our house. We’re renovating, so nothing’s put away, and having to be in the same room as our stuff has made us reconsider just how much stuff we have!
    We have the same problem as you with differing organizing styles, and we never seem to be on the same organizing schedule either.

  9. Diane says:

    I will say it again… we are the same person.

    Oh, and wanna know something funny? As I was reading the post, I noticed the ‘random ad’ running down the right side of the screen was for closet organization systems. Made me snort.

  10. Jennifer H says:

    It’s like we’re the same person. I’ve got your back at the next focus group. Those women won’t see it coming.

    Or, alternately, we could sneak out of the focus group and go to all their houses and mess them up. Yeah, that.

  11. vodkamom says:

    I am so HORRIBLE at organizing that it HURTS. And, my husband is the opposite. We MIGHT kill each other sometime soon.

    (I just don’t SEE the clutter. )

  12. "THE ROCK" says:

    To all you supporters of Deb’s “cute” aversion toward any sort of order establishment, I will be waiting by the mailbox for your donations to cover the late fees for her parking ticket, registration, library books and Dr.’s bills. And, if I kill her, I will never be caught, cause I will just bury her under the ginormous pile of her papers. BTW her MASTER Calendar/world saver is a 1 month dry erase board. Thank God we self-employed, harried parents of two angelic hooligans never have to plan/remember anything more than 30 days ahead of time…

  13. San Diego Momma says:

    Well, honey, now you’ve gone and done it.
    Death by master calendar blunt trauma it is.

    The Awesome One

  14. Midlife Mama says:

    LOL @ the Rock.

    Good thing she has you to take care of all that. LOL “Bury her under the ginormous stack of papers.” Bwwhahahaha OMG that is funny.

  15. Midlife Mama says:

    … but if we don’t hear from Deb in a few days, we’re going to come looking for her under the biggest stack we can find. I’m just sayin’…. And no posting fake blog posts, because we will be able to tell.

  16. Da Goddess says:

    Were I in better physical condition right now, I’d totally help you with this (of course, I’d do this only to get you to come help with my home). My friend Carolyn I used to do work parties. We’d pick a house (hers or mine, not some random house where we’d freak out the owners or anything) and then proceed to clean and organize as a team. Things got done surprisingly quickly and we had FUN in the process.

    Once I am feeling better and the doc gives me the all clear, let’s plan on such a session. Trust me, you’ll be getting the worse end of the deal when you have to come return the favor. Bwahahahahaha!

  17. vodkamom says:

    I got ya a little something on my blog. Come on over….

  18. Barrie Summy says:

    Hi Deb! Thanks for visiting! And for all the nice things you said. While not decluttering this weekend, we are painting. Painfully. :) I’ll be back to visit. And good luck with all your writing!!

  19. stoneskin says:

    Utilitarian containers are The Devil. My wife and I have similar “differences” as described. Funnily enough, my Dad’s side of the family also have the Christmas wrapping/unwrapping disorder. Present giving times extend late into the night as one uncle or another spends decades a) guessing exactly what (and what model, and what colour) is in his gift and b) ensuring that the wrapping paper is removed completely unscathed.

    Good job I’m so patient.

  20. Trish says:

    The Chinese believe that revitalizing and organizing your life should be a joyous activity. It invites more chi into your life. Blah blah blah. Cooincidentally it also allows room for LOTS MORE CRAP in your life. Perfect. Just in time for Christmas. Heh.

  21. Jennifer says:

    Oh I can relate. I really dislike being told what to do. Even more so if I was about to do it in the first place. I am that stubborn. I will no longer do it. Ugh. It takes me forever to organize things. I make more of a mess then I started with and it takes me a couple of days (or more, I do get distracted from time to time) to organize it. Good luck with the mess.

  22. I need to tackle the kids toys…like now…but I don’t wanna. Oh and my hubby knows better then to interfere when I attempt to reorganize, well if he wants to keep all of his appendages that is.

  23. […] Read More Here Filed Under MOMfia Family, MOMfia Musings […]

  24. jtcricket says:

    i used to be organized. orso i thought. then i had kids. and i counted TO THE MILLILITER how much formula hey were taking in, what time they slept, for how long, and how many pee-pee and poop diapers they had. suffice it to say, at one point, my husband found me in the backyard watering the garden at around midnight. i had meticulously labeled each vegetable, of course, and drawn out a nice “map” of sorts…holy crap i should have been put into the hospital at that point, but i flat out refused. and have refused for 11 years. the meds helped a lot, but after a while they just made m want to do NOTHING. so i was on the otherend of the spectrum. dammit, that’s no good, either. of course, the way i was born, seems like you and i are probably related. my husband, i call him CHIEF, may be related to The Rock. SCARY. ok, now i have trouble with those master calendars, i just got one and holy shit it sucks big time that i feel like i have to use all of the damn stickers and then proceed to fill out the times for the various events (did i mention that i also suffer from “terrified that i will forget something big and someone will die and it will be all my fault” disorder? yeah, that sucks, too. but somehow my kids are still alive (yay!) though CHIEF is usually not around…out of being together 19 years, he has been deployed for more than 7, plus schools that have lasted from 3 to 6 months, you know, little separations like that. PLUS he is not a great communicator. but when he tried to stay in touch with me, i get this bitchy thing going on andscrew up the whole thing. crap.

  25. melissa says:

    what is this organized thing of which you speak?

  26. OMG!!!
    I knew I loved you for something other than your amazing writing talent and your sense of humor!!!!

    We are long-lost-chaos-living-not-like-being-told-what-to-do-decluttering-hating sisters!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)

    LOVE your post!!!

  27. I responded on MOMfia, but wanted to paste my reply here, as well!

    Original Response Dec. 2nd, 2010:

    I am SO with you on this. I’m in over my head, with the clutter, and having someone constantly telling me what to do, and offering to back his truck up to the front door and load it all up and take it to the dump really kills my motivation to actually spend the time. But I have been taking that frustration, lately, and using it to my advantage. When the nagging starts, I lock myself in the room that needs attention, and start de-cluttering. I’m far from done, but I am making a small dent, for sure! His suggestion? Get your friends together and have a “cleaning” party. Not exactly MY idea of a party. ;)

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