Kalamazoo Mom of Two got me thinking, with her incredibly ambitious closet clean-out, about things I need to clean that I don’t. There are the big obvious ones – like my home office. Which is another name for the dumping ground room we use when cleaning up the rest of the place for company. Or the top of my dresser in my bedroom which, because it is the first horizontal surface one encounters on walking into the room and is also too high for either dog or kids to reach, is on the receiving end of everything from dangerously pointy pens to “edible” rubbish. What is edible rubbish? Think: the tissue used to clean picnic food off the kids’ faces at the park and then stuck in a pocket due to lack of trash can. If you don’t know why this tissue is edible, you don’t have a big Rhodesian Ridgeback with a stomach of iron and indiscriminate taste in food. But I digress.
The thing that really gets my goat in our house is The Pile.
In case you've never met The Pile (who are you, again?): It contains miscellaneous art projects, catalogues, empty marker caps, broken bits of toys that need gluing, circulars about driveway snow removal, pseudo-important looking mail like the quarterly updates of policies from retirement account managers. It is generally perched on the end of a counter and topped precariously by four blank Christmas cards complete with their unused envelopes, a box of Kleenex, and three mismatched batteries that might be dead or might be new but how do you test them to tell.
This Pile makes me nuts. I sort it, toss ¾ of it, manage to rescue the occasional bill from it on the very brink of lateness. But then, what do I do with the art projects? And how do I toss perfectly good blank cards? So, having winnowed, I restart the pile. It is small, tidy, with the biggest things on the bottom. Not precarious at all. It feels like success.
But smug-cleanliness, thy name is Pile. Invariably, I look over one day to find it has grown into a beast again. Apparently overnight. A Play-Doh topped behemoth threatening to leap off the counter and take up residence over the entire kitchen table, complete with child-safe pinking scissors and assorted scraps of construction paper that will certainly be useful for making more monster projects.
There must be some method better than knocking it off the counter by accident on bleary pre-coffee mornings or sorting it late on Sundays looking for bills that have to be paid online before midnight. Surely someone else has shoved this pile into a brown paper bag to “sort later” because company would be here any minute, and then forgotten to sort it at all?
Is it just me? Don’t feel bad admitting it if it is. Just tell me: how do I defeat this Pile? How do you?