Oh label where art thou?

TeaI recently wrote about my “secret” life as a messy person. I was surprised at how that post brought folks out of the woodwork. For all of you who whispered to me in church, or stopped me at the grocery store; gave me a wink and thumbs up while in line at the bank…your secret is safe with me. I’m not about to “out” any of you who share in my dysfunction.

Instead, today I’m writing as a beacon of hope. There is chance that those items we have previously thought lost will indeed be found, for in fact that has been my experience this week. Part of my messy behavior involves quick dashes throughout the house with a plastic shopping bag, doing a quick shove and conceal maneuver before any of the Marble men hit the door. I have often thought to myself “this is a bad idea” as I put a potential important book or favorite pen in a bag for retrieval later. I knew it was only a matter of time before I threw away a “good” bag and get a truly trashy one on accident.

Last month I was sure I had thrown away my business card case. I could remember changing purses at the dining room table – doesn’t everyone? The night before Big Al was to return from a long business trip I dashed around the house grabbing my stuff and that’s the last time I had seen the case. I had even purchased a replacement, knowing that was a sure-fire way of retrieving the old. Nothing happened. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I discovered my “missing” case and of all the big surprises it was in the business card pocket of my briefcase.

There was the true problem. My brain, so unaccustomed to have items placed in their proper home, simply could not bring into agreement those two polar opposite concepts: item put where it belongs. I simply erased that from my memory. This got me to thinking about some of my other organizational misfires.

I have a label making gadget. I love to label almost everything. Our coffee is separated into two clear containers. A good “labeler” would label one Caffeinated and one Decaffeinated. Not me. I insist on everyone knowing that the jar shoved in the back barely used is obviously the decaffeinated option because who really needs that anyway. I further point out the only time we use it is when my parents come to dinner; we serve coffee with dessert and they insist on decaf.

I label things that are obvious. The clear box with the wrapped loaf of bread; it’s labeled “Bread.” The coffee filters that apparently if you look through Pinterest long enough can be used to make an amazing light fixture, are labeled Coffee Filters. Possibly my lack of ability to put things in their obvious place is being compensated for by my labeling those items that are already there. I’m looking forward to the next round of “me too!” as we run into each other this week. Hopefully by that time I’ve labeled the coffee.

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