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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Place for Everything

I have found an organization that was created just for me, and I am going to sign up. It’s called NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers. You can sign up with them and earn your certificate as a CPO, or Certified Professional Organizer. Google it if you don’t believe me.

I found out about this organization in a follow-up email sent to me by The Container Store. I had made an on-line purchase with them and arranged to have it waiting for me at the store, which is right across the street from where I work. This is because I am so organized that I don’t need to wander isles of stores, looking for what I want. Instead I can just spend five minutes risking my life walking across an 8-lane highway to pick it up.

They say that you spend a third of your life in bed, so having a really good mattress is a smart investment. For me, the second third of my life is spent at work. The third third of my life is spent looking for my car keys, glasses, jump drive, mandated cell phone, or wallet, because that is just how organized I am.

I am so disorganized that I have three hundred and twelve nail clippers. This is because if I only had one pair of clippers, I’d never be able to find them. So I have one in my desk drawer at work, one in the kitchen junk drawer, one in the end table next to my place on the couch, three or four pair in each bathroom, another in my nightstand, and so on.

So because I can always find nail clippers, I feel qualified to be a CPO. The secret is not having a place for everything and everything in its place, as The Container Store would have you believe. The trick is in duplication. Have multiple wallets with multiple items that you carry in your wallet. You can get duplicate driver’s licenses and credit cards. You can get duplicate keys cut and glasses with the same prescription.

I love going into The Container Store and looking at ads for those professional closet organizers who come into your house and turn your disaster of a closet into a work of art. The Container Store sells these high-end European systems with shiny stainless steel wire baskets and solid cherry wood hangers. If I adopted one of those methods of organization, I would have to throw out 90% of my clothes. I have a tee shirt collection that encompasses two shelves in a closet and three bureau drawers in my house. If I wanted a closet that looks like the pictures in the closet organizer ads or in the displays in The Container Store, I would have to scale down to eight tee shirts, six polo shirts, four short sleeve and four long sleeve button down shirts, a few pair of pants, one jacket, and I’d have to buy two sweaters and something long, like a trenchcoat.

One of Other Bill’s cousins has a closet designed by a professional. It is full of shelves with scores of polished shoes. There are built-in drawers, and areas for long dresses and double rows for hanging blouses and slacks on polished wood hangers. It truly is a work of art. It is also about twice the size of our master bedroom. It is more than a walk-in closet. It’s a drive-in warehouse. You could back an 18-wheeler in there, unload it, and the closet still wouldn’t look cluttered.

I have been kindly asked not to empty the dishwasher, because inevitably, I put things in the wrong place. My theory is: if it’ll fit somewhere, that’s a good place for it. Additionally, Other Bill prefers to put away his own clean clothes after I launder them, because he has a “system.”

I probably have 150 tee shirts, but I wear only a half dozen of them. Whatever ends up at the top of the drawer or in front of the shelf is usually what gets worn, unless I am going for a specific look, which is never. It’s a tee shirt, not a facelift. If someone would come up with a cordless electric tee-shirt shuffler, I would buy it in a heartbeat, because buried in there somewhere are some shirts I really like.

So maybe after I retire I will become a Certified Professional Organizer and can start my own business and charge for my services. This means I will have to become a member of NAPO and enroll in their classes and take the CPO exam. And that would mean I would have to get organized enough to remember to attend their many webinars. They actually do have a curriculum which you can find here. My favorite class, I am sure, will be PO-103W, Ethics for Professional Organizers and Productivity Specialists. Yes, NAPO has an actual Code of Ethics by which a CPO must abide. I mean, you can’t just walk into someone’s house, throw out 75% of their shit, collect your fee and leave. A dining room table with 8 chairs? Really? How many times have you used this in the past ten years? I’m calling Goodwill. Do you really need this aquarium? Don’t you think these fish would be happier in their natural habitat? Let me just Google Greenpeace.

I’d be much better organized if everything was digital. I can tell you how much my tax refund for 1984 was in less than 30 seconds, just by searching my jump drive (if I can find where I put it.)

We have these two wooden plates that are of sentimental value to Other Bill. We “misplaced” them. It is only natural that when something goes missing, I am the presumed culprit because of my disorganization skills. On more than one occasion we literally tore the house apart looking for these plates. They turned up, as most things do, when we were looking for something else.

So maybe if I make a searchable PDF file of the location of everything in the house, nothing would get lost, and I could find everything in a matter of seconds.

Nah, that wouldn’t work. I’d never put anything back where it was intended to stay. My theory is a place for everything and everything wherever it’ll fit.

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