My filing system in my small office consists primarily of things tossed in boxes of various sizes and ever-growing piles of papers, folders, magazines, newspapers, disks, books, and other sundries. It works well for me since, even with my often faulty memory, I usually know the general area where anything I need can be found. However, every so often, the accumulation nears critical mass and threatens to collapse around and on top of me.
Not wanting to be found, mummified, under a mountain of what would, to the casual observer, seem to be random pieces of trash but which are, in fact, all items that are or once were important, I am occasionally compelled to sort through the piles and boxes and decide what should be kept and what can be shredded or tossed into the wastebasket or recycle bin.
Sometimes, it’s not easy making the decision. Should I keep the business card of the lawn service I used five years ago? Probably not. I can always look them up online if I ever want to call and let them know I still don’t want their services. What about the one from a favorite sister-in-law who used to sell real estate but who gave it up years ago and went into nursing? It does have a really good picture of her on it. And I’m pretty sure that someday, the stars will align, the right words will come to me, and I’ll be able to use it to have a bit of fun tweaking her about something or other. Yup. That’s a keeper.
Thankfully, all the stuff does not require such consideration. A quick glance is all it takes for articles circled and notes made in newspapers. If they can still be used for a post some day, they go back in the pile. If they’ve been used or are no longer relevant, out they go. Folders are active or not. CDs and DVDs are easy to sort.
During these periodic flirtations with actual cleaning, I usually have a lot of time to think. Many times, I think about how my lovely wife and I are perfectly suited for each other, a match made in heaven, really. You see, she likes a clean house and I wouldn’t notice a half-consumed cup of coffee on a counter unless whatever eventually grew in it evolved to the point where it took me hostage and demanded to be recognized as an independent nation.
She loves a made bed. I see the process of straightening and smoothing sheets and blankets that are going to get messed up again in a few hours as a complete waste of time. She long ago accepted that she would never be able to remodel me into a bed maker, though every once in a while I do make the bed, just to keep her a little off balance.
By now you must be wondering what is the point of this essay. Well, to tell you the truth, there isn’t one. Cleaning invariably makes me think of odd things and writing this was one of them. But it has led us to the point where I can ask how you feel about cleaning.
Who does what in your house?
Are you more like my wife or like me?
If the two of you are opposites, does it create tension or problems or have you accepted that you’re different?
And if the two of you are both clean freaks, who decides how the cleaning is done, how the towels are folded, etc.?
I won’t even ask what it’s like if both of you are like me. That’s way to scary to even think about!