Shaky Ground

As Edward told his story, Marlene thought sadly about how if they could just find the rest of the spoons, she could finish her cake.

As Edward told his story, Marlene thought sadly about how if they could just find the rest of the spoons, she could finish her cake.

I once read a quote that said, “Good order is the foundation of all things.”

If that’s true, then I’m pretty sure the foundation of my house is made of Jell-O.

I’d like to be organized. I really would. I read home magazines and peruse Pinterest hoping the well-kept laundry rooms, immaculate basements, and shipshape storage spaces will someday be mine. Show me a picture of an orderly linen closet and my heart skips a beat. The farmhouse baskets sing their siren songs to me from the shelves of Target. And yet, organization eludes me.

“I want open shelving in our kitchen,” I whine to my husband, as I page through the latest issue of “You’re Inadequate” magazine, drooling over the kitchens of people whose possessions appear to consist of only four rustic soup bowls and a smattering of antique glasses hand-blown in Narnia. “Sounds great, Hon,” he says while absentmindedly stacking some of the kids’ school papers on top of the dinner plates.

I narrow my eyes at him and continue. “I think if everyone helped keep them neat, we could pull it off, right?”

“Absolutely,” he says as he tosses a phone charger into the silverware drawer. Then I watch in horror as he puts a library book, a package of hair bands, and a couple of used batteries in the cupboard, next to the bread.

It’s exhausting, being the only one in the family that cares about organization.

I recently read about a method of de-cluttering called KonMari, which is Japanese for “Get your life together, you Cheeto-covered American slob.” To do it, you must eliminate anything that doesn’t spark joy.  Please. Realistically if I tried KonMari I’d be throwing out bills, all my non-stretchy pants, and, depending on the day, either one of my teenagers.

That’s not to say I don’t try, though. In my attempt at a Martha Stewart-worthy pantry, I put everything in matching containers, festooning each with a chalk-inked label. Two days later I opened the door to find newly purchased groceries stuffed hither and yon, packages ripped open and contents spilling out all over the shelves. It was the Exxon Valdez of snack food.

So, I’m embracing a new concept, called “scruffy hospitality”. The idea is that your house doesn’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to wait until your kitchen looks like a magazine spread to invite people in.  I haven’t dusted, my pantry looks like a cafeteria after a food fight, and I’m fairly certain I saw a toothbrush in the vegetable crisper. But you’re still invited to my house for dinner.

I hope you like Jell-O.

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