- Have you purchased a storage container for an item you did not yet have? “My new baskets will be perfect for those cashmere throws….I aspire to own one day.”
- Do you need a mild sedative upon entering/leaving The Container Store?
- Do you have a visceral reaction when you see those catalog pictures of well-stocked, organized pantries? You know the ones –the unseen homeowner has 16 bottles of Pellegrino, pasta sorted and stowed in airtight containers, and giant cans of Italian tomatoes, all perfectly aligned with nary a Ritz Cracker or Fruit Roll-Up in sight?
- Do you now, or have you ever, owned a ribbon caddy? Yes, a caddy for ribbons. Or a caddy for anything, for that matter.
I get it.
If you looked at my room this very moment, you might not think that I get it. But underneath all that laundry, and the castoff sports stuff, you would find a baseline level of organization; so yeah, I kinda sorta get it.
I have the ribbon caddy, a recipe system, and a jar for cotton balls. My photos and movies are in order, and my kids know where to find the LEGOs. Well, one of them does.
Five years ago, that was fine.
It’s 2012 and suddenly, fine doesn’t cut it anymore.
Organized is the new rich. Or tan. Or maybe the new skinny. However you look at it, we want to be organized, and we want it bad. We’re no longer satisfied with knowing where stuff is, we’re looking for a new level of in-your-face, extreme organization that will make us the envy of our friends. We want our clutter so creatively and lovingly contained it ceases to be junk, and become treasure. We want every last possession in a basket, a tub, a bin, a repurposed bucket, or a mason jar, and there should be no rest until it is done.
We are a people out of control.
I especially get caught up in this after reading any article with “five easy steps to decluttering your way to a carefree life.” (Or worse, If I visit the house of someone who read the article, and is actually making it happen.) If I really wanted to be clever, says the Associate Editor of Clutter Control, I’d store my pony tail holders on a toilet paper tube. Heaven forbid, I just set the rubber band on my dresser, where I can pick it up again when I need it. “It needs to be on a TUBE!”
So this is how it goes: I get inspired and show the boys that their LEGO guys with heads still attached go here, and without heads go over there. Movies with horses go in this box, and movies with aliens go in that one. They nod, knowing it will only be a week until I return to being satisfied with just keeping everyone in clean socks and underwear, until the next time I read an article and try to find a new system for storing paper clips in a beautiful way.
But then something happened to turn that happy cycle on its ear…Pinterest.
I asked my friend at work how she liked the booming site. “It’s a great way to collect everything you want to do or try or buy, or cook. But it’s depressing. I’ll never make that stuff.”
“Hmph, well I don’t want any of that,” I told her. The last thing I needed was to try to organize the Internet.
Two days later, I asked her to send me an invite.
Part of any organized person’s strategy is the list keeping. Through the years I’ve kept track of to-dos, to-buys, and to-think-abouts. When I was a kid I had lists of Esprit clothes I owned, people I knew, and states that I could remember without looking at a map. (Dang it, Delaware, how did I keep forgetting you?)
Now, with Pinterest, the list making is visual and easy, and there’s the fun social aspect of sharing ideas with your friends and glue gun toting strangers. It’s also immediately and dangerously addictive. It will likely suck you in and spit you out, bleary eyed and overwhelmed by clothes you don’t have, projects you won’t do, recipes you won’t make, houses you will never live in and organization systems you will fail at. It’s also by far the most convenient way I’ve found to combine sloth AND envy.
“What is THAT?” asked John as he looked over my shoulder to find three photos of braided hairstyles, two of cupcakes, two pretty necklaces, six pieces of furniture, a quiche, a DIY Easter Wreath, a DIY confetti lantern, a pair of boots, and a romantic black and white photo of New York City.
“Pinterest. It’s a way to organize projects, recipes, design ideas…”
“See, what you do is create your pin boards, then you categorize them, so you can organize your….”
“Wait, see, this one is just for hairstyles. This one’s dedicated just to mid century modern design, this one’s for appetizers, this one’s for jewelry,”
“Colleen, I love you, but I can’t even pretend to be interested in this.”
We’ve been married for 15 years so he can say that. I sure hope he can say that, because that’s what I say when we pull into the parking lot of an electronics store and I announce I’m waiting in the car.
My lazy Internet research revealed that 80% of Pinterest users are women (thanks ignitesocialmedia.com!). Over at Google +, they are running close to that equivalent, male.
I suggested he look into Google +.
Keep in mind, this is the same guy who, when I am in an organizing frenzy, comes up with this sage advice:
“How about we just have less stuff?”
*the label maker is fun to use! And The Dewey Decimal System doesn’t hold a candle to our video organization with categories such as “chick flicks,” “high brow,” “spies!” and “classics” where you’ll find anything starring Will Ferrell, Steve Carell or Adam Sandler.