Sunday, October 06, 2002

How to win race for time

        If anybody needs me this week, I'll be busy saving time.

        Monday, I plan to put a Receipt File in our car. My husband thinks I already have a Receipt File under the passenger seat. “That is the Old French Fry File,” I explain haughtily. “The Receipt File is under the floor mat.” Clearly, I need professional help.

        “Disorganized space is not just inefficient, it is mentally exhausting,” according to the folks at Organized Living, a company in Missouri coordinating an effort to lift a weary nation from the morass of clutter. “Pick one area to organize every day for a week.”

        Well, OK. First, the car, which I have always treated as a purse on wheels. Change bounces around in the cup holder. Tissues are stuffed in the map case. Maps are crumpled and shoved in the glove box, which has never seen a glove. But it has been home to many plastic spoons, lipsticks and napkins. These things belong in a Backseat Organizer, which you will not be shocked to learn can be purchased from Organized Living.

        Up until now, the backseat has been organized by our granddaughters who keep pacifiers, books, Hot Weather Barbie's slutwear, Gummy Bears and McToys where one would ordinarily store one's feet. These things should be in the Trunk Organizer, along with jumper cables.

        The girls think this is inconvenient, but nobody promised them a rose garden. Getting organized is not for sissies.

        For instance, I was shocked to learn that when I finish with the car, I am expected to color-code my office files, which are now uniformly beige.

        “Separate papers that apply to individual clients or projects and develop a color-coding system,” say the professionals. Up until now, I have just been “writing” the name of the “project” on the “little tab” at the top of the folder.

        By Day Three, I am beginning to wonder if I can trust these Organized Living people. They want me to purchase bins for my bedroom closet to store “holiday-specific apparel, such as ties, socks, handbags and sweaters.”

        The only people who have that much special event clothing are, in my experience, what is known as “rich.” They wouldn't have something known as a “bin” in their house unless it was decoupaged personally by Martha Stewart.

        I phoned the Organized Living outlet on Montgomery Road in Kenwood. A very nice person said their store is not doing anything special this week, but “we have a lot of very good closet stuff.”

        This seems sensible and more realistic than the orders from the home office, where they expect us to organize the garage and kitchen by the end of the week. “Get rid of everything you no longer use.” I have never used a wrench, so that goes right in the trash, but I will keep the screwdrivers, which are useful for stirring paint.

        In the kitchen, they advise buying a carousel for my spice collection. I am trying to picture my spice collection - parsley - with an entire merry-go-round of its own.

        Which is not just inefficient but mentally exhausting.

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