Living in the Clutter

Today I had a sneaking suspicion that everyone — even the most clean among us — have one place or space in their lives that are utterly void of organization, and perhaps, cleanliness.

I think it’s human nature.

It’s what separates us mere mortals who claim to be OCD-esque in nature from those who truly have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (No matter how much you think you are like Adrian Monk from, well, the TV show Monk, you probably don’t have OCD.)

And that utterly unorganized space in your life? Well that’s just proof that you’re human.

I started thinking about this when I walked by my coworker Josh’s car this morning. Despite maintaining a cubicle that tops the office in terms of organization and feng shui, his car had to have at least half a dozen empty plastic water bottles in the passenger seat, bowling shoes in the back, and I have his word that up until a week or two ago, his tuxedo from the David Johnson Chorus had been in the back of the car since the end of their performance season in April.

For geography professor Dr. Mark Simpson, it’s his UTM office that is catastrophically cluttered. The man is a meteorology/climatology professor, but it looks like a tornado might be sneaking through his windows at night. (No offense, Dr. Simpson.)

For The Pacer staff, it’s pretty much the entire office. Everyone’s desk space mimics that of former Pacer managing editor Will York to some degree. Now that I’m gone, I think cleanliness will fall even further from the priority list.

My mom has her scrapbooking room, a room for creative clutter (though I’m sure she’ll tell you it’s not that bad).

My sister and her husband have…their entire house. OK, maybe they don’t fit into that “most clean” category I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Rachel has a nasty habit of rearranging every four to six months anyway, so whatever works for them…

But for Karen and me, it’s our “office” or “study” at home. The office is the one room we have yet to fully tackle in our new half-duplex. Nevermind the dishes in the kitchen that never seem to stop piling up (our dishwasher is small). It’s the office that I can’t stand.

Maybe we just have too many things going on in there.

For one, it’s home to our music, and that means a keyboard on one wall and my bass guitar rig next to it in a corner, not to mention our extensive collective sheet music library scattered in boxes and bags everywhere. We need a filing cabinet. Badly. I keep thinking to myself that if we could just get that done, then the rest of the room might fall in place. I think we’re going to buy a filing cabinet or something from Wal-Mart or look at office product stores in Jackson this weekend.

It can’t wait any longer.

Then there are our desks. I bought mine for (get this) $15 on Craigslist.com and it’s a very nice desk. Karen’s came from her mom, and it, too, is a nice computer desk. But there’s the problem of drawer space. Not a single drawer on either desk. This is a problem, especially when you consider that we both “moved desks” from our apartments in the University Village, which came with three-drawer desks and an upper shelf in the provided furniture. Most of my “desk stuff” is in two shoe boxes on my desk’s shelves; everything else is clutter and crammed on top of the desk. Karen’s stuff is everywhere, from the floor to on top of her desk.

We never spend much time in the office. Why bother when you can hardly see the floor? I don’t even use my Macbook much anymore, though that’s partly to blame because I sit at this computer at work seven to eight hours a day, plus there’s the iPhone in my pocket. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the Internet are in my pocket, so why bother climbing through the office to use my laptop? I blame this for my lack of posting pictures to Flickr, by the way. I’m so far behind on that. I think I’ve uploaded six or seven Costa Rica photos out of several dozen, then there are plenty of photos of our puppy, and the Tennessee Safari Park from last Saturday…

It seems never ending.

So what should we do with this office? There’s no where else in the house to put stuff; we’ve finally improved the other rooms of the house to the point that they are livable and the floor is visible. We’ve thought about putting shelves in the office as one possible solution, and certainly the music library going into a filing cabinet will help, but what are your thoughts?

5 thoughts on “Living in the Clutter”

  1. Seeing as to how you haven't seen my house since we moved in…that's rich. However, when you have approximately 500 square feet to call your own and a husband who is in grad school, two dogs, and a baby on the way, clutter is inevitable. Hopefully one day soon we will have a real, honest-to-goodness house (which will more than likely quickly fill with clutter).

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  2. to Russell – have you looked in your garage/workshop?to Matt – thank you for defining it as "creative clutter"; that doesn't sound as bad as just plain ole 'clutter', so I must be doing something constructive with my junkto Rachel – yep, it only gets worse with more space; Murphy's law states you'll fill up whatever space is available to you

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  3. If you have a wife that is full of nostalgia, things seem to pile up. And I have my vices too, namely books, octavos and scores…But to give you thoughts on the matter, Rachel and I have utilized Rubbermaid organization equipment to make our lives a bit less cluttery. Those boxes look presentable, and they do well on a moving truck, as they are stackable and such.

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