Monday, July 27, 2009

Flat surfaces may be the death of me.

Our entire married life, it has bothered Aaron that I am a piler. I mean, I make piles. Everywhere. Desk, bedroom, coffee table, kitchen counters. Most of these piles would be eradicated occasionally, but there was always at least one on the counter (by the phone/pen jar/change cup) that I couldn't seem to make disappear. I can't even think of specific items that might be in it - notices for upcoming events maybe? Calendars? Bills? Reminders for doctor's appointments? Notices of winning the lottery? I don't know. But I'm sure it must have all been very important.

Aaron was sure that we were the ONLY ones who had this pile, because whenever we went to someone's house, THEIR counter was clean. One day I finally cracked: "EVERYONE has that pile! The reason THEIR counter is clean is because they took that pile and put it in a box in their bedroom! JUST LIKE WE DO when we have people over!" I'm still not sure he believed me.

And the piles continued. When we put our house on the market in January of '08, a more long-term solution had to be found. The piles were pretty much eliminated. Then we moved into this great house that fulfilled so many of our wishes and dreams for a long-term home for our family.

But like every good thing, there are a few bad that came with it.

Like countertops as far as the eye can see.

Seriously. There's a "buffet" counter on one wall in the dining room, the "island" counter in the kitchen, and then the yet-unnamed counter that overlooks the sunken living room and includes the desk. This unnamed status is a problem as saying, "It's on the counter," does not help identify a location.

And if this counter space was not enough for me to cover, I had to move onto more horizontal spaces - the chair seats lined up against the wall, the lids of the tubs waiting to be moved downstairs...they all had their own piles.

Until SUNDAY! I don't know if it was excitement about my friend Clarissa visiting or the coffee I had at church, but I was highly motivated to clear some space. First off was the buffet counter. Shortly after we moved in, I realized that my only hope of keeping it clear was to keep it decorated. This has really helped! But lately the clutter has crept up even on this hallowed area. I had made some floral decorations for that space the night before, and in order to show them off, the counter needed to be reclaimed. Done and done. Also done - clearing off the the chairs and the tubs, and then Aaron removed the temptation and took the tubs downstairs where they actually belong.

Next up, the island counter. This one is tough because it is so darn convenient. It's between the garage door and the desk so it's prime territory for putting anything that needs to be taken anywhere else - mail, Aaron's work info, videos to return, magazines to name it. The 4th of July parade candy was put into the candy dish instead of the very attractive ice cream bucket, and the rest was also dispersed or tossed. Also done.

That last, yet-to-be-named counter? Yeah, it's pretty much never going to be empty. Unless we are hosting some major event (during which everything goes into the lower cabinets, only to be brought out again afterwards) this is where I keep my ongoing "projects". Anything that I need to deal with MUST stay in view or it simply won't get done. And that is what this counter is for - and where exactly do you think the stuff from the other counters was dispersed TO?

There you have it - the confession of my most annoying (to my spouse) household habit. What's yours? And if you DON'T have the piles, how DO you do it? Please let the rest of us know!


Noel said...

There has been research done on pilers and filers. What I recall is that it was traced to the different ways people process information so it may be genetic. If Aaron needs to see what happens when two pilers marry and live in the same house for ~20 years, he can stop by.

Noel said...

Just google terms like filers and pilers and you get hits like this

AJ said...

My only job is defending my ogreness here. The piles on the positive side are a result of Liz not allowing things to be strewn all over. So she is advanced beyond me in the cleaning as she worries about having piles and I only worry when the house is a disaster and then I actually make some piles.

Ruth said...

i just read a few pages of martha stewarts guide to housekeeping and she recommended opening all mail the day you get it, putting a recycling bin in the area where you open the mail, and then have 4-5 pockets or organizers for bills, personal notes, calendar notes, and catalogs, etc.

i hate piles. i am a filer.

martha also recommended a weekly cleaning list that included "wiping out the oven," and i was like, that better be the week that you need your apartment deposit back, because otherwise it's not happening.

boo yah.

Lyz said...

Martha is too high of a standard for me. Besides, if you don't USE the oven, you don't have to clean it.

Just kidding. I do use it once in a while.

All that stuff Martha listed (mail, etc) I don't really have an issue with - it's all the other stuff. Martha doesn't have little kids. Or a husband, for that matter!

Speaking of husbands, mine is NOT an ogre, even about the piles that annoy him.