Being Organized

If you happen to take a peek at The Home Know-It-All today, you'll see a picture that may look familiar to a few of you who have been to my house before.

It's the bookshelf in my office. It looks quite lovely despite the fuzzy quality of the photo. It's nicely organized, has a few decorative objects (including treasures from such exotic places as Russia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Wyoming), and likely will lead readers to believe that the rest of my house is just as organized.

Only what my coworker Katie failed to mention to you in that post, dear readers, is that on the other side of my desk sits the twin bookshelf. And it looks like this:

Oh the horror! It's like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. It's my right brain and my left brain side-by-side. It's public Julie and private Julie. My mom is so embarrassed right now. I just know it.

I am not exaggerating when I say that these shelves are a mere three feet apart from one another. The big difference is that the tidy one from The Home Know-It-All blog post is positioned so that it's visible from the office door and most of the room. The other one is harder to spot—and, for some reason, I instinctively turn left when I need to reference books or magazines, grab office paper, or use a tissue.

These bookshelves are a lot like my life. Very tidy and organized and well-run on the surface, but chaos just below. Conservative Boy has accused me of being "closet dirty." I wouldn't go so far as to agree with that. But if you spent some time looking around our house, really looking, you'd see that beneath it all things are a little out of control.

Take, for instance, "my" closet in the office. (C.B. and I each have a bedroom closet and an office closet.) The half that I can see now because I left to door open showcases colorful canvas cubes, each with a label such as "purses," "scarves," and so on. Below that, summer clothes and dress pants hang neatly. And below that, a set of plastic storage drawers holds my ever-expanding collection of Lulu athletic wear (and sheets, but that's boring).

Now slowly (and I mean slowly) slide the doors to the right to witness the left side of the closet. (The left side again! What is it with the left side?)

If you aren't killed by the resulting avalanche, take a moment to survey the scene. You will find an assortment of suitcases and duffle bags, in case I ever need to make a quick escape. (Joking, C.B. Joking.) Precariously perched on top of that? A random fuzzy blanket, gift bags stuffed full of an odd assortment of wrapping paper scraps, tissue paper, ribbon, and more gift bags (because I refuse to throw away any gift-wrapping I receive if it can be reused). And somehow, balancing on top of that, boxes. They're all fairly small boxes but there are quite a lot of them, because I also refuse to throw away any box we receive shipments of books, clothing, etc. in. Why throw away or recycle a perfectly good box you could reuse? Above, on the top shelf, you'll find even more boxes, an old camera, and more gift bags.

Which leads me to one important question: Where the heck did I get all these gift bags? (If you'd like to borrow any boxes or gift bags, let me know. I'll gladly share.)

This is perhaps one of the best examples of my secret unorganized life. But you'll find the same thing in other places. Our kitchen cupboards are pretty tidy, but don't you dare open the tall one to the left of the refrigerator.

(The storage container cupboard to the right of the refrigerator was in the same shape until one day Conservative Boy almost drowned in all the sliding containers, threw them all out of the cupboard with a roar of anger, and set to making tidy piles of each shape and size of container. For as much as I am closet dirty, he is a closet neat freak. What a pair.)

Oh, and don't open that third drawer down on my side of the makeup counter in the bathroom. Bad idea. Bad. Or the trunk of my car. And don't look in my personal email account either—the mass of emails in there has led C.B. to contemplate trading me in for a more organized model on multiple occasions.

Fortunately, he hasn't given up hope on me yet.

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