Posted by: Judy | December 11, 2014

A Place for Everything…

A new sense of order is entering my life, a place for everything. Not with any sense of ease, but it is coming. I want it. If I don’t like something well enough to make a place for it, then I don’t like it well enough to keep it. Tough concept to embrace…

Being an abuse survivor, there’s the constant battle with not liking yourself and it all escalates from there. I’m hoping that by recognizing what I like in the things I keep I’ll learn to recognize what I like in myself. Some may think it’s backwards, but sometimes it’s easier to figure things out that way. I know where I want to be; how do I make it there?

I’ve taken pictures of the most cluttered space in my room. No, I’m not posting the photos yet. It’s embarrassing. I do want to post before and after photos. I’m taking one or two pictures a month to see if I can see the difference.

The goal started… wait, that’s sort of the middle part. Let me start at the beginning.

I slept in a waterbed for years. It started to bother my back. I switched to an air mattress. Yes, I know. Not a brilliant choice. I was young and foolish… okay, I was in my 30s and foolish. Here’s my faulty thinking:

I’d slept on the floor… a lot, growing up. Anytime we had company, my bed was usually the one given to the guests. I slept in the living room on the floor. I liked being able to pop on the headphones (back when the bulky things were attached to the stereo by a cord) and listen to music as I went to sleep.

An air mattress should be luxury after that, shouldn’t it?

Fast forward: I bought bookshelves and boxes. I hated dressers… I still do. You have to stick your hand into them to reach anything. I have no idea why this turns my stomach and causes my heart to race. Really. I have absolutely no idea. I imagine being grabbed or having the drawer slammed on my hand. Honestly, I think it’s a product of an overactive imagination and the “gift” for awfulizing.

By removing the king-size bed, I had room for a desk. My office was born.

My dog had her own bed against the opposite wall. She’d hopped up onto the waterbed once, and didn’t like the movement, and I was terrified her nails might do damage. I’d also learned that dogs need someone to be the leader, and the leader always has the best sleeping space. I was leader. Now I had a single-size air mattress, which turned out to be not good for my back. I know, what a surprise. Not.

It was replaced by a full-size bed. None of this bit is relevant. What’s relevant is that my dogs bed still sits where it’s always been. Yes, she’s been gone for a number of years. Yes, I’ve had a few people tell me I need to move on. Sometimes, I have the strongest impression she’s still there. I sit at my computer, the bed behind me, and I can feel her there, watching me… The bed isn’t going anywhere.

Having said that. I’ve cleared off her bed only once. It was so empty…

I have a group of stuffed animals on it now, along with anything I need to sort through or will be giving away soon or that I’m using consistently and don’t have space for on my shelves. Have I mentioned my shelves are mostly filled with books? Probably not a surprise.

The pile ebbs and flows, shrinking and growing, depending on how “together” I am. When I show the before and after, you’ll see what I mean.

In truth, it’s sort of a barometer for me. If the piles are so deep I don’t know what’s at the bottom (mind you, it never grows too tall, never even a foot deep), I sort through things until I can see the bed again through the short stacks.

What do I want?

It’s really sort of a second desk. My computer and printer take up the one I work at, while the bed holds leftover things I’m working on. I attempted using one of the shelves for my books as a place to sort my writing, but it hasn’t worked. I do keep my reference books there. The binders and folders were always sliding around when I removed anything from the shelf. My clipboard and current writing notebook are a couple of the items on the bed. Easy to reach. They’ll stay. However, there are lots of things in the piles I haven’t touched in a while. They need to find a new home.

Now I’m ready for the goal I added, which somehow didn’t make it onto the list posted on the 1st of December: Clear away at least one thing every week.

I know, it sounds pathetic. One thing? Really? Actually, I’m very much a Lays Potato Chip kind of person: “Betcha’ can’t eat just one.” I rarely take care of only one item. However, I need to take care of the one.

So, here we are. I actually have made progress in the last month. The stuff on the bed used to be one jumbled pile. Now, it’s several noticeably arranged piles. I’m improving.

One of the piles consists of books I want to give away. There’s my tool box, and things I need to sort through and either find a place for or toss. There are the comfrey seeds I need to plant. Still. Books I’ve read and want to keep but haven’t found shelf space, yet. I cull through my books about once a year.

Why make the changes at all?

I actually do like a sense of order. It may not be order to anyone else, but it is to me. Now that I’ve confessed my cluttered state… it’s oddly freeing. I don’t have to hide it… okay, I won’t go that far. After all, I’m not sharing the before pictures until there are after pictures to go with them.

Perhaps, by writing, I’m setting things in order in my head, and maybe that will make it easier to set things in order in my living space.



  1. It does not sound pathetic. I spend a lot of my time trying to make my space feel comfortable and usually that involves getting rid of stuff and organizing. It helps me feel better for some reason. I think it is important to well-being to have a space how you want it. I don’t like dressers too. My room in parents’ place had two and it took too much space for the size of the room, it was not easy to move around in the room so today, I don’t have a dresser in my bedroom.

    • I appreciate knowing I’m not the only one. 🙂 Thanks ((TR))

  2. Clutter of any sort has a way of creating a sense of being crowded and uncomfortable, although we often don’t realize it until we’ve managed to clear away the clutter. Somehow the act of creating empty space has a way off lifting some sort of weight off of us, and at least for me, always has a direct impact on lifting my mood, too. Even the act of just clearing all the bits and pieces that have accumulated on my desk makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, and it frees up my spirit a bit.

    Of course, every person has their own comfort level with clutter. When my sister was visiting, she was aghast at the array of pencil cups, candles, books, pens, box of kleenex, calculator, cellophane tape, and other various bits that are always on my desk. Her own desk at home is completely empty, save for a single pen and whatever document she happens to be working on at the moment. Since she had to use my computer while she was here, she would carefully move everything off my desk and set it aside; otherwise, the clutter drove her nuts. Then when she finished, she would try to put everything back where it had originally been, but invariably, ended up moving things around a bit (which drove me crazy). We went through that routine at least a couple times a day while she was visiting … LOL.

    Knowing her well enough, before her visit I made sure to clear every bit of “clutter” off every surface in the guest room, leaving nothing but blank space. She was impressed. Said it was the one room in the house that felt “quiet”. To her, clutter equals noise, and her life is already noisy enough.

    • That’s it! Clutter feels like noise! I like a little noise in my room. I have an air purifier on all the time. My attendance at the readers’ conference is a bit difficult because the hotel room is so quiet. I successfully cleared off my bed once but hated all the empty space. Now I have pillows lined along the wall side and blankets at the foot of the bed. There’s plenty of room for me, and everything on the bed it about making me more comfortable. Thanks ((ntexas99))

  3. The draw thing is not awfulizing….it happened more than once. Sometimes because people weren’t paying attention but sometimes on purpose. We would want something out of the drawer and someone else as a ‘joke’ would slam the drawer shut so we couldn’t get it. Hugs it was a real memory.

    I hate exact order but I also hate rebuying things because I know it is in the mess somewhere and it would be easier to buy it again than find it. I need to find a compromise. My gift to myself is creating a space for me that is messy enough to be comfortable and neat enough to find things.

    • Oh. Now you mention it, I remember that. The back of my hands were scraped more than once.

      I started keeping a list of books I purchased when I discovered three copies of one book. 🙄

      I like that: create a space messy enough to be comfortable and neat enough to find things.

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