I Bring Order to Chaos

A good friend came to visit me in December. I picked her up at the airport and said to her, “Normally, people clean before they have company. I have low motivation.” I came home the next day to find my friend doing my dishes. Did I mention that she was 20 weeks pregnant?

I started considering my New Year’s resolution. Sure, I wanted to diet and exercise, but since I’d failed at that resolution for the last seven years, I thought I should do something more attainable. I decided that for 2013, I’m working on cleaning. It all started with my bathroom cabinet.


Okay, sure. I went crazy with the label maker, but having a cool new toy for labeling my cabinets made organizing seem (almost) fun. Another good thing: Since I’m broke thanks to my divorce, I had to shop mostly in my mudroom and my basement for my projects. At Jackie-mart, I found hooks, containers, shelves and all kinds of good things. After reacquainting myself with my hammer and my drill, I moved to my kitchen and dining area.


My bedroom became organized as well. Look at the lines on that bedding. Does it scream straight or what?


For nearly two years, I’ve worked at my kitchen table. I had a desk in the corner of my living room, but it served as a place to stack paper and kid toys rather than being a functional office. For my next task, I rearranged my living room with the help of my estranged husband and created an office for myself. I will no longer get peanut butter on my laptop.


I’m planning to organize my apartment through January and then work on starting a cleaning routine in February. I’m using the Home Routines app on my iPhone, which lets you set daily and weekly cleaning tasks. The app also divides your house into zones, and you work in one zone per week for 15 minutes per day. When you finish a task, you tap the screen to give yourself a gold star. You can tap to another screen to look at the tasks you’ve accomplished for the day.


At the end of 2012, I was feeling decidedly not awesome. However, as I organize my physical space in 2013, I find that I’m simultaneously organizing my headspace. Sometimes, it isn’t fun because it unleashes anger and crying bouts. But those emotions are cleansing, and they clarify where I need to go next.

In addition to organizing, I’ve challenged myself to take care of household repairs. I put a kickstand on my bathroom door, which always closes because my floor is crooked. I put a new headlight bulb in my car, and I purchased a ceiling fan light kit to install in my room. In small steps, I’m proving that I have what it takes to be on my own. I’m not alone by choice, but I’m choosing empowerment over emptiness.

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