Let’s start with a quick quiz, shall we?
- Have you purchased a storage container for an item you did not yet have? “My new baskets will be perfect for those cashmere throws….I aspire to own one day.”
- Do you need a mild sedative upon entering/leaving The Container Store?
- Do you have a visceral reaction when you see those catalog pictures on Dwell Magazine or Architectural Digest of well-stocked, organized pantries? You know the ones –the unseen homeowner has 16 bottles of Pellegrino, pasta sorted and stowed in airtight containers, and giant cans of Italian tomatoes, all perfectly aligned with nary a Ritz Cracker or Fruit Roll-Up in sight?
- Do you now, or have you ever, owned a ribbon caddy? Yes, a caddy for ribbons. Or a caddy for anything, for that matter.
I get it.
If you looked at my little studio this very moment, you might not think that I get it. But underneath all that cardboard, and the tracing paper stuff, you would find a baseline level of organization; so yeah, I kinda sorta get it.
I have the ribbon caddy, a book system, and a jar for cotton balls/clips and things I find. My crafty materials and movies are in order, and at least I know where to find the scissors.
3 years ago, that was fine.
It’s 2012 and suddenly, fine doesn’t cut it anymore.
Organized is the new rich. Or tan. Or maybe the new skinny. However you look at it, we want to be organized, and we want it bad. We’re no longer satisfied with knowing where stuff is, we’re looking for a new level of in-your-face, extreme organization that will make us the envy of our friends. We want our clutter so creatively and lovingly contained it ceases to be junk, and become treasure. We want every last possession in a basket, a tub, a bin, a repurposed bucket, or a mason jar – which I found out this weekend It used to be ghetto until Martha Stewart made it a chic thing to have - and there should be no rest until it is done.
We are a people out of control.
I especially get caught up in this after reading any article with “five easy steps to decluttering your way to a carefree life.” If I really wanted to be clever, says the Associate Editor of Clutter Control, I’d store my pony tail holders on a toilet paper tube. Heaven forbid, I just set the rubber band on my dresser, where I can pick it up again when I need it. “It needs to be on a TUBE!”
So this is how it goes: I get inspired and put my design books in one side , and recipes books go over there. Sewing stuff goes in this box, and architect’s movies go in that one. I nod to myself, knowing it will only be a week until I return to being satisfied with just keeping Mack from eating rocks and dinner ready, until the next time I read an article and try to find a new system for storing paper clips in a beautiful way.
But then something happened to turn that happy cycle on its ear…Pinterest.
I asked someone at brunch this past weekend how she liked the booming site. “It’s a great way to collect everything you want to do or try or buy, or cook. But it’s depressing. I’ll never make that stuff.”
“Hmph, well I don’t want any of that,” I told her. The last thing I needed was to try to organize the Internet.
Two days later, I got an invite.
Part of any organized person’s strategy is the list keeping. Through the years I’ve kept track of to-dos, to-buys, and to-think-abouts. When I was a kid I had lists of toys I owned, people I knew, and capitals that I could remember without looking at a map. (Will never forget Mozambique,Maputo.)
Now, with Pinterest, the list making is visual and easy, and there’s the fun social aspect of sharing ideas with your friends and glue gun toting strangers. It’s also immediately and dangerously addictive. It will likely suck you in and spit you out, bleary eyed and overwhelmed by clothes you don’t have, projects you won’t do, recipes you won’t make, houses you will never live in and organization systems you will fail at. It’s also by far the most convenient way I’ve found to combine sloth AND envy.
“What is THAT?” asked David as he looked over my shoulder to find three photos of repurposed picnic blankets, two of cupcakes, three pretty necklaces, six pieces of furniture, a quiche, a DIY Summer Wreath, a DIY confetti lantern, a pair of boots, and a romantic black and white photo of New York City.
“Pinterest. It’s a way to organize projects, recipes, design ideas…”
“See, what you do is create your pin boards, then you categorize them, so you can organize your….”
“Wait, see, this one is just for garden. This one’s dedicated just to mid century modern design, this one’s for photography, this one’s for letterpress,”
“Gordita, I love you, but I can’t even pretend to be interested in this.”
We’ve been married for 2 years and known him for 12, so he can say that. I sure hope he can say that, because that’s what I say when he changes the channel to ESPN and I announce I’m starting a new book on my Nook.
Keep in mind, this is the same guy who, when I am in an organizing frenzy, comes up with this sage advice:
“How about we just have less stuff?” #fail