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A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING...FOR NOW
There is a weird dichotomy that goes on in my brain when it comes to living space. No matter where I've lived I've worked very hard to make my home perfect: attractive, comfortable, a place of peace where there are beautiful things to look and where everything you see as you look around you is right where it belongs. I'm one of those people who move things back to their spot if you happen to pick them up and move them a few inches off-base. My mother-in-law, while helping me spring-clean in the past, hopefully never noticed that after she dusted I would re-adjust picture frames to the correct angle or move knick-knacks over slightly so they were back where they belonged, in the RIGHT PLACE.

It's probably the same impulse that makes me rearrange the dirty dishes in the dishwasher after my husband has loaded it ALL WRONG, though I'm always really glad that he loaded it in the first place. But part of me doesn't understand how he can not know where things go. My mother is probably laughing at this manifestation of my control impulse. It's what keeps me moving around the house during the day and in the evening when the kids have been put to bed: I'm picking things up that are out of place and returning everything to a state of grace by making sure it is all where it belongs.

At the same time, I adore rearranging with a passion. Rearranging rooms, moving furniture; it's like getting a makeover, a facelift and a new living space all in one. Everything looks new suddenly when you move it around, out of the accustomed position it has held for months or years. Suddenly, you see things with new eyes, and hey! the room looks bigger, too! Bonus!

I probably drove my mom crazy with my incessant room-rearranging when I was a kid and a teenager. I don't know how often I moved my bedroom around in each of the various places we lived, but I'm pretty sure I tried every single possible permutation and combination for putting a bed, a desk, a dresser, and bookshelves between 4 walls in each of them. It was endlessly amusing and endlessly satisfying.

That's the dichotomy, you see: the pull to move things around and make them come alive with newness, and the urge to put everything in its perfect, proper place and leave it there forever.

How can you reconcile these two impulses? I supposed you just have to learn when to give each one of them free rein. Yesterday I went to IKEA and bought a CD/DVD tower to put in the playroom. Anders put it together today, while I was in the midst of the second half of the cleaning frenzy that gripped me early yesterday and shook me like a...um, dustrag. I've been taking the opportunity, while the kids are picking up their rooms, to purge: toys that they've outgrown, games they never play, etc. Today while dusting and vacuuming and rearranging to figure out the best place for the tower, we ended up moving two bookshelves, the giant basket full of stuffed animals, and the art bench; and removing another large basket full of dolls, along with the toddler-sized table and 2 chairs that the kids are too big for.

We have plans to totally renovate the entire kid's department in the (hopefully) near future, but just this rearranging made the whole room look brand new, and bigger to boot! Both sides of this dichotomy give me great satisfaction, just like the other one in my life, which is obviously related: the urge to keep everything, balanced by the urge to de-clutter.

Which gives you more satisfaction? Are you a packrat or a purger? A rearranger or a everything-in-its-place person?

***

Anders is going on a business trip to Italy all week, and the kids will be spending 2 nights & 3 days with their grandparents (it's spring break this week), so it's almost like a mini-ski-trip-vacation-week for me. I expect I'll be working late, though, so the glee is tempered with resignation.
 productive
mood: productive
music: Carly Binding—Unable Too


Comments

I'm definitely an everything-in-its-place person. I used to have a cleaning lady, and although it was wonderful to come home to a clean house, I hated having to put everything back in place... LOL

And I can be both a packrat and a purger. I can keep things for quite a long time and then suddenly decide I don't need it any more and throw everything away. I guess I have to prove to myself first that I really don't need something any more. ;-)

Man, I'd love to have a cleaning lady!

And I'm like you: both at once, with long stretches in between.

I'm definitely a packrat (my default icon probably already gave that away... *g*), but I'm not sure I agree that there's a dichotomy between putting everything in its place, and intermittantly rearranging. After all, rearranging is simply an acknowledgement that some things' "proper" places have changed. It's not that the spice racks can only go on the bakers' rack, it's that, in the current incarnation of my kitchen, they've laid claim to that space. At some point, they'll decide they need to be somewhere else, and I'll have to scramble to rearrange everything to accommodate their whim. In the interim, though, they not only have to be there, they also have to be just so in that space. Very demanding things, those spice racks...(that's my story, and I'm sticking to it).

The inanimate are really running things, aren't they?

I could have written the part about the dishwasher myself. I do that all the time. Yet I constantly wonder, why does he not notice when he unloads the dishwasher that I have rearranged them correctly, take note, and follow suit? Likewise with putting the pots and pans away. How can one fail to grasp the concept of one pan fitting inside another similarly shaped, yet slightly larger pan? It boggles my mind.

LOL! It's probably because they're men, and we're women. :D Brains are wired differently, or something.

I am a control freak, who even rehangs the laundry in the drying room "the right way" - socks in pairs, underwear sets in matching pairs, my clothes together, his clothes together etc. I even have a "right way" for towels to hang in the bathroom and am always refolding them - with open edges facing INWARDS.... much to L-G's amusement.

I was a packrack, but learned a very valuable lesson about not getting attached to things that can disappear (or be destroyed), so I have to say that now I travel light.

haha! I do the towel-edges-inward re-folding thing, too!

Damn. You know I now have the uncontrollable urge to break into your house every day this week and turn all of the towels the other way....

You do, and I'll flip your toilet paper over so it rolls from UNDERNEATH.

Well, I'll short sheet your bed AND restack the dishwasher WRONG. And run a load of laundry, with my bright red socks in with your whites :)

Never, but never interfere with my toilet paper!

I can never type for laughing, when I see that owl icon of yours! :D

I'll line up your shoes so they are all right left right left right left. And then? I'll stretch saran wrap across the toilet under the seat! muahahahaha! And to top it all off, I'll dab toothpaste on the earpiece of your phone and then CALL YOU UP!

Ha, ha. I'm safe because (as you've noticed) I NEVER answer the phone!

Well, I'll take a garbage can and fill it about 3/4 way with water. Then lean this up against your front door. Knock on the door, run, and hide so you can see it from a distance. When you open the door the water will fall into your house flooding it.

While you are mopping up, I'll sneak in the back way and put hair removal cream in your balsam/conditioner. And while you are screaming and pulling out handfuls of barky, I'll take a small hypodermic needle and syringe, fill it with Habanero pepper extract and inject it into your fruit, vegetables, cakes, ice cream, and anything else I can find that's edible.

I'll loosen the lids on your salt shakers, and I'll blow baby powder under your door with a hairdryer while you're out (only if I know the animals are with you, of course)...that shit gets EVERYWHERE. And oh! I'll unstick Oreo cookies and then STICK THEM ON YOUR CAR. You do have a car, right?

Also, HEY! Did LG's daughter get out?!!

I'll super-glue all of your make-up to the bathroom counter. Then I'll put itching powder on your toilet paper and flour on your pillow. I'll fill your umbrella with glitter and when you are sleeping, I'll add hot water to your toilet and make jello in it.

Both of L-G's daughters are living in Malmö....

I kind of like the glitter in the umbrella idea.

And you haven't come to visit us yet because WHY?

You won't like the glitter when it gets all over you as you open the umbrella :) Especially after I smear Vaseline in your sneakers and sprinkle sand. You'll never completely clean it out, and the slimy and gritty feels lasts forever.

Why haven't we visited? Hmmm...let me see if I can find a spare 2 second slot in YOUR schedule for the next fifteen years...

I would make time for YOU. If you bring Lambi.

Can I bring my glitter, superglue, sand, Vaseline, tabasco sauce, saran wrap and bad attitude as well? :)

Only if it's accompanied by VEGEMITE! hahahahaha!

It'll be in tomorrow's mail :)

(Anonymous)
purger!

love to clear everything out-- love order, love---

~bp

Re: purger!

It's a good feeling, that's for sure!

Gracious! I hope you both clean up the mess. ;-) If you haven't, I'll change all of your light bulbs to black ones and no one will be the wiser. haha :)

Thanks for the laugh.
Joy

P,S. Oh yeah, I was going to say I am a pack rat trying to change. I am tired of all the stuff that is in the way. I must not need it, after all it's in the way! Wish me luck! I'm going to need it...

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