A place for everything and everything in its place, keeping personally tidy

I got to thinking about a casual sex encounter I had way before I got married. It’s a pretty drawn out story that’s going to lead hopefully to a couple of cogent points. First point will be that sex isn’t the true deal breaker in a relationship, the second is the need for being personally tidy and organised.

A long time ago I was doing an evening college course, I’d left work and got to the college early, so I sat in the library. Some of the full time students were still in the library and I sat and started reading the NME (new musical express a newspaper about the music industry), This girl with striking curly red hair sat opposite me and made a comment about the band on the cover. We struck up a conversation and I filled my time talking to her. I left it at that and went off to my lecture not thinking anything more, yet I obviously told her where I worked and my full name as a couple of days later a call came through to my desk, the reception person said that x was calling for me. I had no recollection of who the person was and it turned out to be the girl I was talking to in the library.

I must admit I was impressed with her gumption and precociousness in calling me and she actually asked me on a date. So we organised to meet up in a bar near where she lived. To cut a long story short, I ended up back at her studio (which her parents were paying for), I was starting to feel uncomfortable about the whole thing as I was 28 and she was nine years younger.  She was intelligent, interesting and also drop dead gorgeous, so I was caught between sense, walking away from it and horny. Horny got the better and there I was walking through the door of her studio.

It was a garbage dump, dirty knickers, bras, clothes, magazines and part eaten food. The floor was covered. I went into the kitchen to have a coffee to be presented with an overflowing sink and a pyrex dish with something green and furry.

That was the deal breaker, I stayed longer and we got busy, but every time I looked up I saw mess and it bugged the hell out of me. She was bloody good in bed and I was torn between what would happen next. We talked about seeing each other but the mess was too much. I asked her why the place was so bad and she said her cleaner had quit and her mother wasn’t going to pay for another one until she tidied.

I explained that being a serious neat freak I found it difficult being there and she freaked saying that’s what her mother said got really histrionic. I said I was happy to come round and deep clean but first she had to pick up all the really dirty underwear, as I wasn’t going to touch it. That really sent her over the edge, I got a few phone calls from her later apologising.  Now I live in a house with two daughters and a wife I’ve got over that particular dislike, I spend my life now picking up used underwear.

That was my first point, sex really isn’t a deal breaker, it’s just an aspect of a relationship and frankly it should never be part of the decision. There are often bigger fish to fry or perhaps because I slept around a lot before settling down, I realise that sex is actually a very small part of a marriage or maybe after ten years and my wife and I are still really active in the bedroom, we haven’t encountered that deal breaker. If it did come to that I still hope that I’d push back on sex and assess the real issues.

My second point is personal tidiness and organisation. That I think helps a person to move forward all the time, in the last six months I’ve become very disinterested in keeping things tidy and organised, I find it now a real struggle as DW and the DDs’ are not interested. I have to stand over them to get them to wash or put clothes into the wash basket. They never put things away, DW just dumps things, leaves draws open, shoes scattered.

I’ve given up on trying to plan as she never gives me the full picture, there is always a bill forgotten about, not enough money in her account for direct debits or she’s spent it and forgotten the date. So there you go it sounds like I’m blaming her, no its my fault more than anything as I’ve stopped caring and doing as I feel I’m constantly battling. If I ask her to do something it’s meh! manyana, I ask again and again and I make me feel like a nag or a disciplinarian bully.

So I’ve lifted a few tips from websites first is from apartment therapy.

1) Dealing With What Comes Through The Door Set up a small area by the front door to act as a “landing strip” for incoming items into your home.

That’s a fair point but the amount of flyer junk that comes through the door, I once threw way an important letter after scooping up all the flyer junk and it constantly appears all the time.

2) Do Your Dishes After Every Meal This will help you stay on top of your kitchen instead of having it turn into a monster! No one really wants to do them. The same goes for take out trash as well. If you need to take the trash out, place it by the front door to go out in the morning or dispose of it that night so it’s over and done with.

It would work I there wasn’t a scatter of dishes all over the place and no one (other than me) has the basic concept of your not finished until its put away.

3) Laundry If you have a washer and dryer at home, do a little bit each day. Spread things out so you don’t feel bogged. Fold them before you come home so you aren’t dumping baskets out on your sofa or bed and they can go straight into drawers and closets.

Aaaaagh!

4) Whistle While You Work: Singing, humming, whistling or turning up the stereo are all great options to keep the beat in your feet and have fun while working.

Good point I’ll try that

5) Set a Timer: Most items on the list below should take no more than 20 minutes total.

Good idea, I get up earlier than everyone so I do dishes, sweep, make lunches etc.

What I have realised is that the intensity of looking after children and their neediness is a big break on keeping tidy and organised. I’ve lifted the list below from zenhabits where you can read the full descriptions, I’ve removed a few points that aren’t relevant to us.

3 Most Important Tasks.
This is a bit of a tough one, there are four people in my family, so that’s twelve important tasks that possibly conflict with one another. Alternatively, we could have one important task for husband, wife children. At this moment in time the children’s task management is a parental responsibility, so that could be workable.

An easy and workable task list, or to do list.
Hmmmmm! scraps of paper get messy, If it’s in my diary but not DW’s then it isn’t sync’d, phones need carrying all the time and rely on active connection and for them to be on. DW has this really annoying habit of switching her volume off at work, so doesn’t hear alerts.

Keep ubiquitous capture device.
We’re androided to the hilt here, yet we don’t use it effectively.

Choose one tool and stick with it.
See above.

Do one thing at a time.
Aaaargh! with two needy children and a shitload of stuff to do all the time. Aaaargh!

Do it now.
See above, sitting and procrastinating is part and parcel of bringing up children, after the morning mayhem or the afternoon anarchy, procrastination seems like a joy. Then it’s the delaying it causes, which devolves into OMG! What next, there’s so much stuff.

Make use of the word no.
This is tough one, there’s saying no to the children, which results in sulks, then there is the myriad of other things which you think you can do then shit gets in the way.

Use the recycling bin/trash basket. 
We’re reducing stuff, I’ve got rid of most of my library, it’s sad to see the books go but sod they are cumbersome. The amount of junk you get on a daily basis now, go to the supermarket and the bin is full from all the packaging. I do know that this one pertains to email and I empty my inboxes on a two hourly basis

A (good) place for everything, and everything in its place.
I don’t where to start with this one, every thing just seems to get dumped on the floor, gravity isn’t the best organiser. DW has a problem that if it’s not she won’t touch it, so my stuff never gets put away by her, but then she doesn’t put her own stuff away.

Simplify, simplify, simplify!
Yeh! as if, just read my comments above to get a handle on that.

Put it away now.
Sigh! if only.

Keep a to-do list that syncs with your mobile phone.
There are so many apps out there for this, the feature sets of the apps are never quite right, and the collaborative aspect of family, school, work just isn’t there

Unapologetically take control of your time and priorities.
Again, the neediness of children and school trumps this.

Sort at the source.
I like this idea, I’ll think about it some more

A sheet of paper, a calendar and a white board.
and when the children see it, it’s a scribble zone

Write down, execute and tidy up on the way.
ha ha ha, I used to, but not any more

Note cards.
more bits of crap that happen and end up as litter

Never rely on a single point of failure.
I’ve become my own single point of failure

Have.. less.. stuff.
oh don’t I wish, the children have to wear different clothes all the time, DW never wears the same outfit more than once, and the junk we’ve accumulated.

Delegate.
To whome? I can’t trust DW to do something I’ve asked for. It took her eleven months to get a new bank card.

You control your life.
I would love to.

So long drawn out ramble, my main point is people need to stop being so messy.

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