Daily Prompt (March 31): Messy or neat?

March 31st’s daily prompt was:

Does a messy home (or office) make you anxious and cranky, or is cleaning something you just do before company comes over?

I don’t like having a messy home or messy office; however, both my home and my office are messy – I can’t help it. I organize everything once in awhile, and take great pride in doing so; then I vow to keep it neat. It does stay neat – for awhile, but eventually things just start piling up again.

Then one of two things happens: either we are having people over for some occasion, in which case we have to spend the day uncluttering the house, or at least the part of the house that people are likely to congregate in; or the cleaning service we employ once a month is due to come in, and so we have to pick up things so that they can clean. It seems ironic, but I have heard of many people having to do this – clean up so the cleaning crew can come in and clean. The fact is, the cleaning crew will not pick up our messes; instead they’ll just clean around them, so that we end up with areas that don’t get cleaned. They never clean my office – what’s the point? There are so many piles of stuff in there that have to be dealt with that it isn’t worth their spending time trying to clean around them.

Having ADD is a serious hazard to someone who would love an always clean and neat home, someone who loves looking in the window of home furnishing stores and admiring a beautiful table set with attractive dishes or a shiny vase filled with tasteful dried flowers…my house never looks like that and probably never will. It’s a blessing that my husband and I can afford to have a cleaning crew come in once a month; otherwise, things would get much worse.

The fact is, I have ADD and my husband is a packrat who doesn’t want to deal with every piece of paper even when it’s time to neaten the house. As a result, when we have guests over, they don’t really expect a spick and span house; often we can’t even use the dining room chest to put food trays on because it’s covered with my husband’s undealt with stuff.

So I content myself with admiring the attractive touches I’ve created here and there – a vase with dried plants collected from my garden last fall; a coordinated, nicely set dining room table; my collection of folkloric animals made in Mexico.IMAG0309

The best thing is when I either get into my head to do an organizing project or when my husband gets on a “mission” to get things done. In the latter case, it’s just easier for me to follow his instructions because thinking about such tasks makes me just want to find something else more interesting to do.

In the rare instance when I begin a project – and my husband goes crazy because I don’t often finish what I’ve started – I throw myself into it and try to push myself to get it done. I’ve been told to break projects down into manageable parts, but if I do that, the project could go on forever and never really be done. It’s better for me to push myself to do as much as I can before my head is about to explode or I get to the verge of exhaustion.

A project I’ve been pretty successful with so far is organizing the closet in the upstairs hall, which contains our bed and bath linens as well as a variety of small items that are related to hygiene, beauty, health – things that don’t fit in the bathroom.

I got the idea from visiting someone last summer to find shallow bins, baskets 65.-Cheap-Plastic-Boxesor box lids and put one category of items in each of them, then label them and arrange them on the shelves. I have finished more than half of this project, but the last time I worked on it was probably six months ago! Still, I am proud of my work every time I look in the closet – because now I can usually find what I’m looking for!

Even so, this is not a public area that everyone sees or spends a lot of time in.

Other ways I’ve devised to try to keep things organized:

  • A nice looking handmade series of pockets that I bought in Peru is  holds various pieces of mail that have to be dealt with, coupons I want to save, or my son’s papers that he loses after leaving them lying around for a long time.
  • A basket next to the front door holds mail that has to be sorted through, and a series of magazine boxes to hold the many magazines we subscribe to but don’t get read very quickly.
  • I have a large filing cabinet to hold documents, maps, insurance forms, information about various things, financial statements, etc. I am pretty good about putting the appropriate things in their corresponding files, but often a pile will build up first and I have to set aside a couple of hours to sort them all and put them away.

All these organizing tools things do help, but they don’t solve the problem. Because what happens is, I work on keeping one area neat while another gets neglected – I may put away all the paperwork in files, while my CD collection gets piled up as I listen to a few CDs and then just stack them next to the stereo instead of putting them away.

The work of an ADD-afflicted adult is never done!!

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