Friday, June 26, 2009



I’ll tell you a secret. I think we’ve gone organizing crazy. There’s a whole industry that counts on us to buy the books that tell us how to store our stuff. Of course, that means buying more stuff, but somehow that’s different.

There is something disconcerting to me about a clean house. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have piles of old newspapers stacked up in the basement and am not near a Grey Gardens situation. I do love it when the kitchen floor is spic ‘n’ span. But I think neatness is stifling our creativity.

I just spent hours undoing an very organized file of papers. In its own box, with individual folders, neatly labeled. Easy access. Did I ever look at this file since I spent hours fixing it up several years ago? Not once.

I’m the kind of person that can’t deal with things being put away. Take my blender off my counter and I’ll forget I own one and buy a smoothie maker when the mood strikes. (Carol’s recipe: 1 cup milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 T peanut butter. Yum.). My George Foreman grill found a home in the pantry cupboard two summers ago and hasn’t been out since. Same goes for quilting projects. Put that sucker in a cute little box of its own, and it’s forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind.

So a little clutter is okay by me. I don’t want to live in a showroom. I like books around me and thread and unfinished projects. That’s what you see when you walk in my house.

I worry about people whose houses look like something off HGTV. Too neat begs to be left alone. Too tidy means “Don’t Mess Me Up.” That translates to: don’t cook, sew, play with paints, inks or stamps. And that doesn’t work for creative urges.

I need to be able to place my hand on my dictionary or my favorite writing books (current fave: The Fire in Fiction, by Donald Maass. The last chapter will make your heart sing.) I need to fondle my fabric and admire it. I need a place where I can leave out my glues and papers. It does mean walking through a mess at times, but I’m okay with that.

So come on over. The bathroom’s clean, the dishes are done. Just don’t bump into my sewing machine when you come in the family room.


Camille Minichino said...

This is SO much like me! Especially the part about buying a duplicate if the other one (anything!) is out of sight.

Terri Thayer said...

Thanks Camille for publishing me!

beckylevine said...

And, see, your house feels at once clean and seriously comfortable to me. :)

I'm with you on the "too" spotless. Not that mine comes anywhere close. But it gets a bit scary when we've just cleaned up and all the books are actually put away. You know, for the half hour before they're out again!

Betty Hechtman said...

I'm with you, Terri. I like my kitchen tools out where I can see them. I like being surrounded by tools for making things and projects, and books I want to read.

Sheila Connolly said...

Is there a description of the psychological phenomenon whereby after a period of time you no longer see something? Like all those boxes of stuff you cleared off the dining room table when you were having company, and two years later they're still sitting around the edge of the dining room and you have no idea what's in them or why you saved it in the first place? (I won't even ask if there's a treatment for it, whatever it is.)