Take, for example, the Everything Drawer. I grew up with one, and as far as I know every house in America has one. If it doesn't, it should. When I cannot find what I'm looking for, and its not in the Everything Drawer, I decide it probably doesn't exist or wasn't really what I needed anyway. A sampling from our Everything Drawer reveals: a cow bell, a remote control, diaper cream, various and sundry medicines, scotch tape, string, cough drops, pencils, a thermometer, an ear syringe, a puzzle piece, ribbons, and much, much more.
My husband periodically pesters me to organize the Everything Drawer. I politely explain to him that doing this would upset the Universe's precious balance and create a wormhole that would suck every useful item we have in our house into the permanent vacuum of space.
There is also the Important Drawer. This drawer's purpose is just how it sounds: everything Important goes in there. Permission slips, registration forms, the odd unpaid bill, bank statements ... you get the picture. The Important Drawer is like my own personal rip-cord. If it is Important, it is In There. If it isn't, it wasn't Important Enough and it must be somewhere on the kitchen counter, where it will be unearthed or stashed away the next time we have company and need to look like Normal People. I would take a picture of it for you, but on the off chance the City of Boston reads my blog I don't want them to see my unpaid parking ticket. But at least they would know I consider it Important.
This system rarely fails me. There is one qualification to all this, though. Items must make it into the house to begin their journey through my Organized Mess. Any item left in the car is Gone Forever. I struggled valiantly for years to keep my car free of clutter. I have decided that my time would be better spent engaging in less futile pursuits, like understanding Tax Code.
Then, of course, we have Laundry. The bain of my existence. My arch-nemesis. I have a precarious hold on my Laundry System. It goes something like this: (1) if the article of clothing belongs to my husband, wash it, fold it, and put it away so he thinks I do laundry. (2) if the article of clothing belongs to one of my children wash it and put it in the Clean Pile in the laundry room. The Clean Pile can be accessed several times a day, as needed, and at the end of the day items are placed in the Dirty Pile and the process begins again, like a Perpetual Motion machine. Laundry is done with such frequency in our house, to me it seems like the ultimate exercise in Futility to fold everything and put it away (perhaps even more futile than finding a lost item in my backseat). I don't want to talk about what happens to my articles of clothing; it would upset my carefully constructed Denial.
So I'm not going to change my Organized Mess. I can't tell you how, but I always know where everything is. My kid's left shoe? In the playroom in the toybox under Chompie the Dinosaur. My daughter's Leapster? Under the bed, behind the pile of books I asked her to clean up days ago. My phone charger? Oh, wait. It is in my backseat. Oh, well.