Tuesday, April 24, 2012

feeding the OCD beast

A picture of OCD bliss. Plus, I need proof
since it will probably be wrecked by tomorrow.
I can't quite decide if it's a problem or a gift.

Sometimes I get completely obsessed with the idea of completing a project, and can no longer function happily and effectively until it is complete. Right now, there are two such projects on my list (among the 74 other less oppressive - but probably more important - ones).

First is cleaning out my closet. Seems so many other projects hinge on this one, so until it's done, those others are on hold. Not only do I need to do the annual purge of things that have not left a hanger in the last 12 months; I also need to purge and store some of the work wardrobe items that are currently taking up space and collecting dust (tee hee).

Until I finish the closets, anytime I host a laundry marathon, there aren't enough hangers for all the clean clothes. And I have vowed, despite the fact that they are 10 for $1 at Walmart, that I will not purchase any more, because I know I will be freeing up like hundreds soon.

Current status - on hold. So my clean laundry is folded over the back of my computer chair until we wear some more stuff and hangers get freed up.

The other project was cleaning up and organizing the kids' computer/homework space. It morphed from our home office to the kids' area when I quit my job and set up shop in the bedroom, and it's all been in flux ever since, which drives me insane. I don't think the kids care. In fact, I'm sure they don't. But I had reached that point where if I had to look at any more bags of poster making supplies or pencil boxes full of old crayons and colored pencils, I was going to slit my wrists. Much of which was sitting in bags in my dining room, I might add. Crazy button. It's the dining room.

So today was the day. All day affair, I might add. I'm very methodical about these types of projects; clearing out the space to be organized, moving all things that will not go into the new space to the dining room table (so, obviously, the dumping ground), then meticulously moving items one by one into the carefully planned space.

For example - dumped out the four lap drawer trays full of everything from shoelaces and allen wrenches to hole protectors, staples, and correction tape. A black hole of random office supplies, or things no taller than 1.5 inches that didn't have a home. Sorted out the staples, the paper clips, the push pins, the rubber bands...one by one. And it probably took me 30 minutes. But the satisfaction I derive from sorting and organizing said items is intense, if not a little worrisome. I of course put those supplies back into lap drawer trays that had been washed and dried, after pulling out all the little dust bunnies.

However, my hands down, absolute favorite part of the entire project was collecting every pen, pencil, marker, crayon and colored pencil from countless nooks and crannies around the house and putting them in one central location. Each time I found a handful of crayons, I'd have a little giddy feeling...which would slowly morph into calm satisfaction as I placed them in their designated container (of course, having sorted out the broken ones and ones without paper wrappers).

Markers? Tossed the fat ones, since my kids are all big now. And tested every. Last. One. Aaaaah.

And perhaps my favorite of all, the colored pencils. There are so many. Like, I probably still have some from when Griffin was a 2nd grader. I mean, how do you not buy your kid a brand new box of colored pencils for the first day of school, despite the fact that you already have 497 at home? You do, case closed. And then, like us, you end up with hundreds.

And I sharpened every one of them.

I just felt a little chill.

After dinner (spaghetti-O's - I was way too busy to plan dinner today, right?), I gave the kids a tour of their gorgeous, clean, organized computer and homework space. They are good babies - ooh'd and aah'd just like they were supposed to. I know they appreciate it, even if they didn't ask for it. Then they left, and I spent a few more minutes soaking it in.

And then I said goodbye.

Because come on. We all know they will never, ever be able to keep the paper clips out of the safety pins, or make sure that they don't accidentally slip a marker into the colored pencil box. Hell, they may want them mixed up. I don't know. But, at least for 12 more hours, I can take silent joy in my meticulous, if short-lived, work.

What is it they say is the definition of insanity?

It should be noted that my daughter was fascinated by what I was doing and was itching - I mean desperate - to help. I gave her a bag of items for her little desk area in her room, and she spent the last hour and a half before bedtime organizing her area. Mini me? I think so. I can't help but feel a tiny surge of pride.

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