Tuesday, September 13, 2011

making LeVar Burton proud

My husband and I view organization quite differently. If I spend the time putting order to disarray, I run myself ragged (and drive my family crazy) trying to keep entropy at bay. My husband, on the other hand, likes to organize thoroughly every six months or so. And what better way to have something really substantial to organize than to let it spiral into chaos until the next biannual event, right?

At first I thought he just didn't feel like putting forth the effort to maintain order. But over the course of our relationship I've begun to suspect he actually prefers disorder.

Him: (After inquiring as to where a pile of his papers had been put) You know, it would be really nice to have a place to put my papers and books.
Me: I don't mind if you want to use the desk.
Him: No, I mean a place I could put them and you wouldn't move them.
Me: Well, if you put them away someplace I won't try to figure out a place to put them.
Him: Actually I'm talking about a place where it wouldn't matter if things were put away or not.
Me: I don't mind just picking up your papers and putting them in a desk drawer or something.
Him: No. What I'd really like is a room where I can just leave things messy. And close the door. So you won't see it.


I've relaxed quite a bit in my obsession. Early on in our marriage, I threatened to never fold his clothes again if I found them all jumbled up in the drawer where I had placed them neatly a few days prior. A year later, I was refolding the clothes in his drawer before putting the newly folded ones away. Post first child, I just placed them on top of the wadded up clothing, shut the drawer, and tried to forget the bedlam that was hiding within. Post second child, I stopped refolding the children's drawers of clothes. Post third child, I put my own neatly folded clothing on top of the mess inside and (only slightly guiltily) shut the drawer.

He loves books. He loves reading, of course. But he also loves simply having books. He dreams of having shelves of books lining every wall. But instead he leaves them in piles on the dresser, in the bathroom, on the couch, at the kitchen table. I've made an attempt at book organization after each of our moves. Since I have no intention of maintaining the dewey decimal system on our shelves, I've gone for grouping them according to topic. This organizational device falls apart within the first day or two. Then during the rest of our sojourn, the following conversation is a recurring one in our home:

Him: Hon, have you seen that psychology book with the purple cover and black lettering?
Me: Um, I think it's just on the shelf.
Him: No it's not.
Me: (getting up for a closer look) Yes it is, it's right there.
Him: Oh, right.

So with our move a few weeks ago, I decided to try a different sort of organizational system. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Since he had begun inquiring after most books these days by color, I thought this might be the perfect solution. It would take practically zero thought to put books back in the correct general area and they'd be easy for him to locate.

Plus it was so darn pretty.

Him: By color? Are you serious? I'll be the laughingstock!


  1. I think it looks fantastic. I want to do that.

  2. a reading rainbow indeed. that is just fantastic. I love random forms of managed disorganization. keeps the world spinning.

  3. I think in color, so this makes perfect sense to me. But I have family members who stare blankly when I ask them, 'what color is it?' when they ask me to help them find something. If hubby is asking for books by cover color, then this system should work great!

  4. So Cody loves simply HAVING books and dreams of bookshelves lining every wall, does he? How silly! :-)