Confessions of a Neat(ish) Freak: My 5 Dirty Little Secrets

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Colorful messy clothes on a chair and row of empty hangers on the background.

A comment I hear all of the time is “wow, I bet your house is super organized.” To which I always reply “well, it’s organized enough.” And for the most part, that’s true. I can get things looking pretty darn good in a short period of time, I know where most things are at most times, and we have systems in place that keep our home running smoothly. However, even I, the Neat Freak, have a few dirty little secrets that make me a little less freakish about my neatness.

1. Shoes: I have a terrible habit of taking my shoes off and leaving them in the middle of the floor. We are lucky enough to have a mudroom and the kids usually kick off their shoes and dirty cleats there. For some reason, I like to walk a little further into the house and remove my shoes mid-floor, where they are tripped over, cursed at, and kicked around. It’s a terrible habit, but at 46, one I’m unlikely to break.

2. Our basement: It’s really not a basement, but more of a crawl space with a concrete pad. But it’s kind of a disaster. It’s filled with tools, hardware, leftover home improvement projects and unused exercise equipment. And lots and lots of other things we don’t need, use or love. The problem with our basement is that we almost never go in there. So it’s out of sight, and out of mind. This is an issue that trips up many homeowners, and true confession, it trips me up as well. One day, I’ll clean it out…one day.

3. The infamous bedroom chair: Let’s be honest, people rarely sit in a chair in their bedroom. That piece of furniture is there for one reason, and one reason only—to store the clothes you’re too tired/lazy/unwilling to put away. And I’m no exception. We recently went from two chairs to one, but I was wise enough to keep it on my side of the room where I can toss my clothes at the end of the day. These are clothes that aren’t dirty enough to wash yet, so they live on the chair, in clothing purgatory, until I either wear them again, get it together to put them away, or give up and toss them in the wash anyway.

4. The junk drawer: I’m not even going to apologize for this one. Everyone needs a junk drawer. It’s the place where you can find paperclips, pens, pads of paper, lip gloss, a lightbulb, scissors, magnets, hair clips, gum, tissues, a measuring tape, stamps, spare keys and more. It’s a must have.

5. The drawer full of plastic food storage containers: No matter how many times I organize this space, it is always a mess within two days. So I’ve pretty much given up. This space gets a lot of usage for lunch packing, leftover containers, snacks on the go, etc. I know what’s in there, and usually within 3-5 seconds, I can find a container with a matching lid. So it’s good enough. It will never be photographed for a magazine, so I’m willing to live with my failure.

At the end of the day, all of us should strive to be organized enough to do what we need to do, find what we need to find, and live the way we want to live. There’s no gold star at the end of life for organizational perfection! Figure out what your own organized enough looks like, and for those few lingering messes you still have around, you certainly won’t hear any judgment from me!

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Perri Kersh

Perri Kersh is the neatest, and sometimes freakiest, at Neat Freak Professional Organizing, LLC in Chapel Hill. She works with individuals, families, small business owners and students to help them get and stay organized. When she’s not organizing for others, she frequently shovels up after her husband and children. You can read more about Neat Freak on the website above or reach Perri at 919-824-8196.
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