Clutter Creation

I always admire those people who are organized and neat. The people who have a place for everything and who put their things in their proper places after each use.

I admire these people, but under no circumstances will I ever become one. I have clutter in every corner of my house, from my bedroom closet, whose floor never sees the light of day…or the closet light, for that matter, all the way to the junk drawer in the kitchen that can only be closed by holding down the clutter inside and shoving hard with a hip (I have a permanent dent in my hip from this and I regularly slam my fingers in with the clutter, but that’s better than cleaning it.)

The worst clutter comes, however, to the table beside my chair. This table is where I put everything I might need in an evening’s entertainment. I regard it as a skill and a talent to find a way to put everything necessary on the table so that I don’t have to move at all once I have settled in for the evening.

It requires art and skill to get everything on this extremely small table. I must have my cold drink, which always sits on a coaster that is slightly tilted because it is sitting on embroidery thread and envelopes.

The embroidery thread takes up a great deal of the table right now as that is my current project. This is much better than when I am working with yarn and plastic canvas; however, right now the embroidery thread is wrapped around everything on the table and pulling it together in a jumbled mess, bringing scissors and used spoons and bobby pins into an awkward embrace.

Used dishes, empty wrappers from granola bars (okay, they are candy bars, but granola sounds better), and flyswatters are scattered around the edges of the table, hanging onto the few empty spots as thought their lives depend on it. If you figure that there are still some technology items that have to reside on the table as well, it means that my laptop and the remotes for television, DVD player, air conditioner, etc., are all sitting on top of the jangled mess beneath.

Of course, on top of that will be any books I am currently reading and that means that if I sleepily drop the book on top of the remotes or the laptop, I can set off a chain reaction which turns on the television, cranks up the volume and sends out some random e-mails, all with one blow.

My table reminds me vividly of my father’s workbench, which I remember as a child resembling a tool collection which had suffered a nuclear explosion. My father could always walk up to that jangle of hammers, grease guns and electrical appliances and choose exactly what he needed. My cousin, dismayed by the clutter, cleaned and organized it for him one summer and it was a year before my father could find things again.

That is my table. As long as I don’t clean or straighten it, I can unerringly locate the scissors under the envelopes and empty cans or that last cough drop tucked into a corner and sheltered by the computer. I shudder to think where I would look for that latch-hook that I never use or the scraps of paper that I can’t throw away because I might use them for notes, if I clean that table.

So, I simply tell myself that the table is my clutter creation….or maybe it’s just the clutter I created, but it works for me!

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