Peace Be With You

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

Possessed. Yes, some folks would describe me as possessed when it comes to being organized. I know my husband does. And you may say the same thing about me when you hear how persnickety I am about certain aspects of my life. In fact, there are times I want to scream if I am feeling unorganized. How I got like this, I don’t know. Sometimes, I just wish I didn’t stress about having everything in order. It makes me nuts, but when stuff is in its proper place, I am at peace. Peace? Did I say that? I sound like a flower child! However, anyone who is a neat freak like me can identify with the peace and calm that will fill your soul when order wins over disorganization.

Just this past weekend, two of my best girlfriends and I had this major discussion about being organized. Jan agreed with me, and after hearing her tales she may be even more possessed than I am about her state of order, yet Mary said she just could not get around to organizing anything. She even asked us if our underwear drawers were organized or did we just shove them in unfolded? I told her that I have my black ones in the front of the drawer, the beige ones behind those, and the white, which I wear least, in the back. Mary also wanted to know if we had a junk drawer. We both responded yes, but it’s still organized!

In my teenage years, my parents never had to tell me to straighten up my bedroom. I was the neat-nik in the family, unlike my sister who lived in a constant ball of wadded up clothes and bed linens. Mom just shut her door so none of us had to see it, especially incoming guests. And I must say that my husband Chuck is not the tidiest man I have ever met, but he isn’t the full-blown pig that many women have to deal with. Boy, am I lucky. Just like in the movie The Odd Couple, I am the Felix Unger of the household. Clean, not always, but neat, yes!

The New Year always throws me into the biggest tizzy. That’s when I really get into the groove. Once I put my Christmas decorations away, I start to make lists of all the things I plan to accomplish before the end of January: clean out all unwanted winter clothes and give to charity, wipe out pantry shelves and purge all out dated canned goods, toss out unused spices from the spice rack, organize the bathroom closet getting rid of outdated medicines and making sure the cat pantry where I keep all the kitty goods is clean and tidy. That’s just for starters. The list gets longer each and every year. Not sure whether that’s because I am more possessed with each passing year, or because I have more stuff. Either way, it’s a January ritual.

Can we talk make-up drawer for a moment? Yuk. I organize and wipe it down at least three times a year. Anything I am going to put on my face needs to be clean as a whistle. As for my jewelry cabinet, silver is in one place, gold in another, the cheap accessories in another spot, earrings have a cubbyhole, while rings have another, so that in the morning when I am rushing out to work, I know where every piece is located.

I’ve also become a maniac about recycling. Having served as the recycling spokesperson for the Horry County Solid Waste Authority for twenty years, advocating “Reduce, Reuse. Recycle,” I am constantly taking recyclables out of the garbage can that my husband tries to sneak by me. I put them where they belong, so that they may someday have renewed life! I am really glad, however, that this gig came to an end, as I was sick and tired of being referred to as the “TV trash lady” and even more afraid that someone would go through my trash can and accidently find some item that should have been recycled and blow it out of proportion.

There’s one more area that I am totally organized about. Now don’t freak out when I tell you. It’s death. I figure I want to be as organized going to heaven as I have been on earth, so I have a will, health care power of attorney, a list of what I want done at my funeral, songs I want sung and who I wish my precious belongings to be left to when I am gone. This, too, gives me peace.

I really do hate the stress I put myself through in an effort to be organized, but there is comfort and a sense of accomplishment when it’s all done. For me, there would so much more stress if I lived in disarray and disorder. So, for all my Sasee sisters out there, if you are feeling out of sync, maybe it’s time to get everything in your life in order. It can’t hurt, you know. Best of all, you, too, may find peace.

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2 Responses to “Peace Be With You”

  1. Diane I know some organized people, but you are by far the best. Enjoyed the story.

  2. Rose Ann Sinay says:

    There’s got to be a gene for being organized….wish I could find it! Great story.

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