Monday, January 10, 2011

When in Doubt, Throw it Out

If you have enough money to pay someone to open your mail, you are officially too stupid to be rich and should hand over the money to people with the common sense to do something useful with it.

A friend posted an article on Facebook today (via The New York Times) about a woman whose job is to organize homes and offices. (Link below) Needing to organize and de-clutter your home is definitely a first-world problem. The women in the article live in homes that count square feet in the thousands. They have closets as big as my bedrooms. I am supposed to be sympathetic to their plights because, “privilege does not relieve stress. Stress is clutter and clutter is stress.” How very Zen. Or, as I’m sure they would spell is so that it is more unique, Zenne.

Now I realize that there is nothing more annoying that opening up a drawer and not being able to find the object in question, but opening up an apartment and not being able to find the children who live there because their parents don’t want any signs of their presence is another matter entirely. Children bring both stress and clutter to your life. They cannot be neatly organized into a bin (mostly because their arms and legs don’t fit). All their toys, books, and clothes may be organized, but a child using Play-Doh will still make an unholy mess across your floor, no matter how neatly you have labeled the containers. However, the children of these clients obviously have far better things to do than waste time actually playing with their toys anyway. And I quote, “Candy Land? Between sporting events, music lessons, and charity galas, who has time?” I don’t know about you, but I don’t know a lot of four-year olds who attend charity galas. A parent who can spend $1500 on organization (though you have to provide your own label-maker) surely has a nanny who will play the game with the kids, right?

The second page of the article uses the following scenario to explain why this organizer’s services are in such high demand:

“Let’s say you have a home in Aspen and you’re supposed to have a business dinner for 30 there on Friday, and you’ve promised your 8-year-old you’d go to his baseball game, and then the house manager in Aspen quits, and your 8-year-old is crying to go to the baseball game.”

Well, damn, that is a problem. The two hours attending the game will surely ruin your dinner party. If only there was an invention that would allow you to watch the game while simultaneously allowing you to talk to people in another location. With the dinner mere days away, surely the caterer, cleaning crew, valets, and Lord knows who else rich people hire to feed and entertain other people have already been hired? I made sure my hot deli trays were ordered a week in advance when I had family over for my daughter’s dance recital. Good riddance to the woefully unprepared house manager if he/she hadn’t already done the same. (Sorry, just the phrase house manager makes me giggle. I think I will add it to my list of pretend job titles.) And if you have hired help to run your second home in your vacation destination of choice, your nanny can probably stop playing Candy Land long enough to take the kid to the game.

Here is another gem:“The perfect bag or a great pair of shoes can give you so much pleasure, but it can torture you when you don’t know where to put it."

Torture is really such a strong word to use for proper purse storage, don’t you think? Especially when the woman in question has a closet entirely devoted to the accessory. Here’s a hint: if you have so much of one item that you no longer have a place for it, the problem is not the storage but the shopper. (And yes, I know I have more boxes of books in storage than I dare count for fear my BILs will not help me move them, but they are books! Literature! Rooms devoted to them are called libraries, not closets. Books are good for you. Purses are just another way to hold all the stuff you probably don’t need anyway.)

The article ends by pointing out that the organizer herself runs a tight ship at home with her own children: “Silly Bandz are meticulously organized by type (creatures, sports, “rare”). Matthew’s toy cars are parked on the windowsill, perfectly parallel, a few inches apart.

Yes, please pass on your undiagnosed OCD to your children. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

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