This is a terrifying time of year for me. In order to get ‘the holiday thing’ done, I now find myself faced with bedroom, kitchen, and office drawers that make me want to throw up. They symbolize my disorganization by distraction as I dart to the next task without closure on the last.

During the year when I have a moment, I’ll madly clean out a drawer and either throw things away or whisk them to their proper place. Afterward, I am smug and smitten with my new pristine storage area, and beam every time I open the drawer to experience its emptiness, discipline, and minimalism. I glow with excitement as I make a solemn vow to keep the drawer in exactly this state forevermore. A few weeks go by, and the next thing I know, I’m staring into this same drawer­― I swear, it’s the same drawer—and there’s other stuff in it. Mostly, it’s lots of stuff that shouldn’t be there. Damn!

It’s quite clear what happens. A friend is coming over, or my in-laws, or a co-worker and I rush to straighten things up. Or I’m up against a deadline, and rather than taking an offending, non-conforming item to its proper place, I thrash it into the nearest drawer.

My local office supply store manager perks up when he sees me walk in his front door. For me, it’s worse than a candy store and I always over spend. I like the systems, the boxes, the dividers, and the color-coded doo-dads to help keep things in their categories. I usually seek his counsel after having spent thirty minutes looking for something I never found, and I’m gung ho for the newest system.

However, I don’t know if all the organization schemes in the world will help. Messy drawers are a symptom. My closet gets out of control, too. And the garage, and the trunk of my car, and the kitchen cabinets. I KNOW where everything goes, but sometimes, it’s across the room or across the house, and there just isn’t time!

Am I being anal? Obsessive-compulsive? Maybe conflicted. I like things neat, but I also like the idea of having an existence that keeps me on the run, making me feel like I have a life. What kind of person has so much time on their hands that every drawer is always perfect? I sometimes think that when my drawers are too neat, I am not letting my creative side out. Busy, productive people, I say to myself, have messy drawers and sometimes messy rooms. But that makes me crazy! I stress over this, but I have learned that some people work well in chaos, and others, like me, don’t. It’s whatever you can stand, I guess.

In sum, I guess I just have to be more vigilant about keeping my drawers the way I like them. Or on the other hand, I have to decide that in the long run, it really doesn’t matter. On my deathbed, as they say, I’m not likely to be wishing I’d spent more time cleaning out my drawers.

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