Disorganization: The result of hoarding, procrastination and simple laziness

This is a warning to all Type A personalities, neat freaks and the uber-organized. What you are about to see might cause heartburn, increased blood pressure or the irresistible urge to whip out your label maker.

My very talented husband recently built mismatched (but still matching) nightstands for our bedroom. See:

handmade circular nightstand by Logan Windram

Here is my husband’s new nightstand.

White handmade nightstand by Logan Windram

And here is mine. Notice the nice big drawers for storing things.

This immediately creates two conflicting emotions:

Excitement – Hey, I just got a brand new, handmade, nightstand to replace the bulky, cheap, mass-produced one that I had for years. Yay me!

Dread – Hey, I just got a brand new, handmade nightstand that now needs to be filled with the contents of my former bulky, cheap, mass-produced nightstand.

This is a problem because:

1. I’m a procrastinator (you all know that). Why do today, what can be done tomorrow?

2. I’m a bit of a hoarder. Hey, I might need that Betamax VCR one day!

3. I don’t use traditional techniques like filing, sorting or categorizing to organize my things. I like to haphazardly stuff objects here and there. Secretly, I think this boils down to laziness.

I’ve included a few pictures so you can understand the full extent of the problem:

So, here is one of the drawers from my old nightstand. Note the complete lack of order. You might also note that I collect boxes of various heartburn medications.

Inside unorganized nightstand drawer

Here is a close up of the ooey-gooey inside. See how some of the items are stained red. That’s because I spilled NyQuil in the drawer a couple of years ago and then just let it dry. You’ll also note that I have decided I must keep a single pink balloon, tire levers for a bike and post-it notes in the nightstand–should I ever need to inflate a balloon, flag something or … I’m not really sure what the tire lever does… in the middle of the night.

Close up of old nightstand drawer

And the problem is not just with the nightstand drawers. It has infected the whole house:

First, the living room end table drawer. Contents include: various chargers, cat toys, a remote control, a piece of copper pipe and travel brochures from a trip we took over a year ago.

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Next, our wine rack drawers. This one has cat nail clippers, napkin rings, wine charms (hey, those actually make sense here), toothpaste and expired (I think) gift cards.

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The second wine rack drawer has a watch I haven’t worn in over seven years, batteries, some screws, and a random key. And by the way, the mint boxes are empty.

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And lastly, our linen closet. (Yes, that’s our coffee maker on the top shelf. Don’t you keep your coffee maker in the linen closet?) I won’t even go into detail here. We’ll just call it a disaster and leave it at that.

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Often this method of storing things works just fine: Of course I know where the ballet tickets are. They’re in the wine rack with the empty box of mints, next to the cat’s old rabies tags.

But then sometimes this happens: Where is my new credit card? I know I left it in this pile of address labels, paper Christmas ornaments and old flight itineraries.  Proceed to tear house apart and accuse spouse of throwing it away. Find it two years later under the sofa cushion.

Now, I will say there is one drawer in our house that is always meticulously organized. And, no, it’s not my husband’s nightstand drawer. Although, that one is pretty organized too… It’s our spice drawer.

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Logan added this awesome spice drawer to one of our cupboards a couple of years ago.

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See how all the jars are neatly in place and all the spices are labeled. They’re even alphabetized!

And in case you’re wondering, I started this project a week ago. The contents of one drawer has been emptied, organized and neatly placed in the new drawer. The other one is still sitting on the living room floor.

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41 thoughts on “Disorganization: The result of hoarding, procrastination and simple laziness

    • jennifer Windram says:

      I’m glad someone else shares my flair for the haphazard and the disorganized. Only problem is, my husband doesn’t get my organizational scheme and “misplaces” things all the time by actually putting them where they belong 🙂

  1. suzjones says:

    Baby steps Jennifer. Baby steps. You can’t do it all at once!
    The timing of this post is perfect. I finished listening to a talk with Dr Christianne Northrup last night in which she talks about having to hire someone to help her declutter her life. (She found 14 toothbrushes lol). A lot of what she spoke about really resonated with me, and I have used her techniques over the years.
    I can feel a blog post coming on…. 🙂

    • Jennifer Windram says:

      Sounds interesting. I would probably find something like twelve opened bottles of ibuprofen or seven partially used lip balms. I always seem to lose those things and end up having to replace them.

      I’ll keep my eye out for the post!

  2. literaryliason says:

    I loved this post. My mother’s drawers used to look like that. one day for mother’s day or her birthday, my sister and I sorted them for her. She was so happy. Good luck with your new nightstand

  3. Chrissy Frederiksen says:

    This exact same thing happens to me! My husband and I bought a new car last June. We decided to share the car, alternating weeks that each of us would drive it. And we had one key between us for the old car. Which we promptly lost. After an entire weekend of tearing the house apart looking for it, we broke down and ordered a new key and a spare, which cost WAY too much money, because our old car is discontinued. After that? I cleaned the house top to bottom and swore that we would never let our hoarding take over again, and that we would ALWAYS be able to find everything we lost, due to the absence of clutter. Six and a half months later, and the house is right back to the way it was.

    It’s a neverending uphill battle!

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Oh no. That sucks! We’ve actually lost gift cards that hadn’t been used and tickets to an amusement park. We’ve thrown checks away and, most recently, I lost my new credit card. I still can’t find it and had to report it missing, even though I’m sure it’s in this house somewhere (or maybe our trash).

      I’ve tried to declutter before too. The linen closet has been cleaned and reorganized a few times. But now I’m so busy with writing and work, I figure what’s the point? It’s just going to revert back to being a disorganized mess anyway. I might as well not waste my time 🙂

  4. April says:

    I like how your hoarding and disorganization is hidden in drawers and closets–just like mine (except for the office, which is right as you walk in the front door). In fact, mine look almost exactly the same! I don’t have a Betamax, but I do have a VHS VCR under my bed, and I have some clothes from the early 80s–you never know when you might need them!

    I love the nightstands by the way. I’m an aspiring woodworker—as soon as I get some tools. 🙂

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Yes, we try to hide it. That’s why my husband just built us a coffee table with drawers. I almost feel like he is enabling me 🙂

      Hey, those 80s clothes might come in handy: there could be an 80’s themed party to attend, or a costume party, or with the way fashion cycles, those clothes might become hip again!

      I remember you posting about your woodworking aspirations. My hubby loves it! He spends most of his free time in the basement building things. But it is quite the challenge to obtain all the tools you need to get going.

  5. fudgeandpoppy says:

    Ha! A woman after my own heart!
    I am often looking for more storage ideas for our little house for me to put more unorganised items into. We have this lovely sideboard unit in the living room at the top of the stairs, it has three drawers and two cupboards (one single sized and one double.) In the right drawer is all our arty type things, so sketch pads, pens, pencils and is often too full to put anything else into. The middle drawer is for current bills/bank statements, envelopes and old writing paper and some pens that don’t fit in any pots. The end drawer has my first ever pair of shoes, some ink cartridges for the printer, empty bank money bags, old christmas cards cut up to use as tags next year, a clothes brush and things I usually might put on a desk at an office like my pipe cleaner cats (one day I might take some photos of them for my blog! – Procrastinating already.) The cupboards are full of random art stuff, paints, inks, craft knives etc and the end cupboard is full of family tree stuff.
    Every so often I go into Organisation Girl mode and decide to sort stuff out. But it’s like a week later the crap has built up again! Not sure how it happens. Do need to do a massive loft sort out soon!
    Also loving the pink balloon – reminds me that my best friend Dom and I always have this thing we say to each other when arranging to meet up somewhere, like a restaurant as if for the first time, like a blind date – “I’ll be the one with the pink balloon.”

    • jennifer Windram says:

      Our house is pretty small too, so storage is key. The spice rack is amazing, because it saves space and it keeps them organized. And everything Logan builds has drawers, just so we have somewhere to store our things.

      I’ve had those Organization Girl moments too. But I’ve sort of given up. Like you said, a week later and all the crap builds up again.

      That’s so cute about the pink balloon. And I love that it’s a “pink” balloon, a nice girly color.

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    I’m not a hoarder by any means, but my family completed a huge spring cleaning last year and got rid of tons of stuff, much of it stashed away in drawers like your pictures. It felt so good to clear it all out. It’s amazing what we hold onto, isn’t it? So sure we might need it some day… Love, love, love your spice drawer!

    • jennifer Windram says:

      That must have felt amazing. I remember the feeling, long long ago, of having a clean drawer or an organized closet. The problem is I can’t keep it that way, so I guess I’ve stopped trying.

      The spice drawer has made cooking a breeze. Okay, I don’t know about a breeze, but it’s made it much less frustrating. We no longer spend hours scouring the pantry for oregano, only to find an empty bottle.

  7. Marcy says:

    I am taking you to the Container Store for some drawer organizers! I have some that I have bought and others that are just washed out plastic containers of different sizes that food has come in along with some little boxes. Of course, my drawers look almost just like yours, but the mess is organized in different compartments.

  8. jmmcdowell says:

    I’m definitely impressed with your husband’s craftsmanship on those nightstands. And I’ll pretend that all of my drawers are neatly organized. 😉 Once upon a time, they were. Maybe they will be again when we next move….?

  9. Jeff | Planet Bell says:

    This is not for the faint of heart. I handled reading this okay, but I will do whatever it takes to ensure that my wife doesn’t see this post. I don’t want to have to take her to the emergency room.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      It’s true. I actually had a little fun with one of the drawers. I uncovered jewelry I’d forgotten about, old grocery lists (it was funny to see what I used to survive on) and a list of goals we had set for ourselves over five years ago. And yes, I then spent more time reminiscing than I did cleaning/organizing.

  10. M. C. Dulac says:

    Hilarious! Seriously, I like the nightstands, mismatching or not.

    Strange stuff seems to accumulate in drawers and on shelves. For some reason I have the head of Donald Duck (body lost in childhood), the body of Goofy (head lost in childhood) and a tiny toy zebra on my shelves.

  11. Travelling Macs says:

    That spice jar is impressive even to a non cook (me lol)! I did the declutter thing a while ago. So far despite a little creep back of old habits and new clutter (oops Christmas gifts) into the empty spaces I’m going quite good (except for the bottom drawer in the kitchen – but that-seems to have a mind of its own , despite me tossing out the Tupperware lids without bottoms and socks without partners, both groups held regular meetings collecting new members continually lol.

    • jennifer Windram says:

      I’m impressed you’ve been able to stay organized. I just haven’t been able to manage that.

      Oh, yes. The scheming Tupperware and sock groups. For us the Tupperware is the worst. Sometimes I’m fooled by an impostor lid that looks like it will fit one of the bottoms, so I put the food in and then it’s just slightly too big or too small!

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