Connie Goff: Organization is the key

Connie Goff

As I walked down the hall in our home the other night, I took a long look around and wondered exactly what hurricane hit the area. I hadn't heard of any, but something disastrous had definitely happened there.

Steven's clothes were stacked waist high in his basket. Dirty clothes were pouring over the sides of the hamper. Debris from chewing, little puppies was scattered around. And that was just in the hall.

As I further surveyed the house, scrapbook supplies were oozing off the shelves, and markers cluttered the desk top. The unmade bed (Roger rises last, so it's his fault.) showed signs of needing attention. Dishes were stacked not only in the sink, but also on the stove, the table and any other hard surface nearby. Shoes were scattered like death traps on the living room floor, and the trash cans needed to be emptied.

"Who lives here?" was among my first thoughts. I know I am an organized person. I can see evidence of it in many aspects of my life –– well, at work anyway.

I know where my pens and paper for reporting news stories are stored. My files, in a variety of colors, are an arm's reach away. My stories are saved in a folder on my computer screen for future reference.

I can always find my snacks ––  in my bottom desk drawer. I have tissues in plain sight on my desk in case of an emergency. My bee generally sits quietly in front of my keyboard; however he/she's gone missing a few times again lately. And my planner sits close by in case an entry needs to be made.

If one can be that organized at work, why can't the same be the case at home? I think it's because I'm too much like my mother. A more disorganized person I don't think I've ever known.

Occasionally, my sister-in-law and I attempted to organize Mom at home. I remember distinctly one long afternoon we spent sitting on the study floor going through Mom's collection of coupons and recipes.

I don't think I'd ever seen so many coupons and recipes in my life –– and I'm talking about all the years of my life spread out, end to end! We sorted and sorted for hours. Mom kept a watchful eye as we did so, telling us not to throw anything away –– that everything there was important.

Some coupons were OK. We sorted and stored them neatly in envelopes so she could find and use them. Most were outdated. Some were from places that had long since closed. The latter two categories were rather sneakily put in a hidden trash can we had stashed behind us.

Then there were the recipes. Many were in multiples of 10. I don't know how many copies of one particular recipe is needed, but by the end of that long afternoon, duplicates were reverently burned in the trash barrel outside Mom's study window. I think I saw her looking out the window –– probably in tears.

Mom was a wonderful teacher. She taught 44 years and loved each student she worked with. I have a notion when she retired, Mom had resources on file from the first year she taught. I sorted through much of those resources when her classroom supplies were moved. I lost count of the trash bags we drug out of her room –– and all out of two file cabinets.

I have many of my mother's personality traits. I don't know why it is I had to inherit her disorganization skills as well.

I have even attended organization seminars –– kind of like AA meetings for disorganized people. At one of those seminars the speaker used the acronym SPACE –– sort, purge, assign, containerize and eternalize. It's a great plan for getting organized. I've tried it over and over.

It looks like it's the eternalizing thing that gets me.

But I won't give up. I'm not a sissy –– I can do this. But first, I think I heard of a couple movies that recently came out on DVD I need to watch.

There's always time to organize!

Maryville Daily Forum