Whenever life seems to be crashing down around me, with looming deadlines and teenage sons on my doorstep saying “Your car crashed into a tree—here are the keys,” I don’t turn to religion, drink or drugs. Instead, I consult my lists of “Habits of Highly-Organized People,” which I collect compulsively like a hoarder who has to be pulled from the wreckage of his junk-filled apartment by firemen wearing gas masks. I saw one just the other day–a list of highly-organized peoples’ habits, that is, not a fireman wearing a gas mask–next to my National Geographics and my collection of rubber squeaky dolls of television advertising icons—Poppin’ Fresh, the Michelin Man, Mr. Peanut. Ah, here it is!
If you’re going to get organized you need a list, and I offer to you my Best of the Get Organized Lists for just $1.25, two for $4.
Habit #1: Everything is “miscellaneous.” Think about it. Why bother to even have a word such as “miscellaneous”–meaning “consisting of diverse things or members”–unless you’re going to use it? Diversity is good, right? So create a “miscellaneous” room in your house or apartment, and “Miscellaneous Zones” throughout your living space. You’ll find filing and cleaning up is a breeze!
Habit #2: Separate emotions from possessions. Those curtains your wife loves that are blocking your college dorm man-speakers? Who needs ’em? They’re just collecting dust, which can cause asthma, emphysema, and Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa. To be on the safe side, don’t leave them out on the curb–take them to the municipal dump today!
Habit #3: There is no habit #3. There used to be a third habit, but somebody put habit #4 down on top of it and now nobody can find it. Like the sixth kitten in the litter that “Kitsy” produced after you paid good money to have her spayed.
Habit #4: Everything you own should be stackable. Plastic food containers, outdoor furniture cushions, barbecue grilles, pets, family members and relatives are all handier to use if they can be stacked and stored neatly on top of each other. During tense and crowded holiday seasons, remember to use a firm and stable mother-in-law as your base.
Habits nos. 5, 6 and 7. You don’t have time for all these habits. Delegate them to a subordinate and proceed to #8.
Habit #8: Your hair and fingernails grow faster in the summer. Whoops—sorry. That “habit” snuck in here from an in-flight magazine I brought home from a business trip.
Habit #9: Make peace with imperfection. When life gives you lemons, make orange juice.
Habit #10: Ask for help. When household clutter reaches third-world bazaar proportions, reach out to friends and family for assistance! Then set up the long-lost slide projector you dig out of a pile of debris for a pantomime version of the “antler dance” while those around you cart off unwanted junk.
You do have a pair of antlers, don’t you?
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”