What do you mean I'm disorganized?! I know where everything is.
Oh man, if I had a dollar for every time a client said those words to me, I would get to go on some pretty fantastic vacations. I get it though, everyone has their own system, right? Well, let me tell you a story about two people moving into a new place together. One brain has a system and the other has a "no system-system". Let's see if you can spot who's who.
The first time my (now) husband and I moved together I realized that his concept of organization was very, very different than mine. I came to the packing party armed with Sharpies and packing tape, surrounded by carefully categorized boxes and bubble wrap. You can't forget the bubble wrap! I sorted the junk from the from the good stuff and packed items into boxes with other, similar items. The glasses went with the glasses and books went with the books. Obviously. When each box was full, I taped it shut and labeled it accordingly. I thought to myself, we're KILLING it!
And then I looked up.
Holy shit. None of his boxes had labels. As in. NONE OF THEM. I couldn't help it, I had to ask, "How are you going to find anything on Monday morning?" He just shrugged and said, "It's fine. I know where the important stuff is." Now, at this point, we had not been together for very long and we were definitely still learning a lot about each other and how we did things. Um. Well, if I'm honest, we were learning A LOT about how we did things VERY differently. I put my head down and kept packing. At one point, I looked over and saw him with an empty box in one hand, walking around the room, just scooping things off the shelves and into the box. To call it willy-nilly doesn't even do it justice. "My god", I thought, "What have I gotten myself into?!"
The next day was Sunday; moving day. We picked up the rented UHaul and packed it with our boxes and a couple pieces of furniture and then drove to the new place. We started with the big stuff and let me tell you, we nailed this part! We were a team. He went backward and I went forward. We tipped and tilted the furniture through the door so perfectly; Ross from Friends would be so jealous. No need to yell, "PIVOT!" for us. When the big stuff was done, we started on the boxes.
Here is where things started to deteriorate.
I had a plan:
My (superior) plan was to take one box at a time and walk it to the room that it was most likely going to belong in. The bags of clothes went to the bedroom and the dishes went to the kitchen. Makes sense, right? I was walking down the stairs from the bedroom to grab another box when I realized that Billy's plan was... a train wreck.
Billy had a plan:
Needless to say, our plans were not the same.
I watched as he moved each box inside, opened it up, and dumped it out onto the living room floor. I couldn't stop watching. He's got to be messing with me, right? I just stood there until he noticed and asked, "What?" Holy cow. He was serious. He really had no idea why I would possibly question his "non-plan-plan". I couldn't even make words come out, so we just kept going. Me doing me. And Billy doing Billy.
The next morning, I woke up to my 5:00 AM alarm to get ready for work. I was working at a rehab center in Massachusetts and commute was a nightmare if I missed my window by even just a few minutes. I planned the night before and had my travel toiletries ready and an outfit pick out. I showered, dressed, and was just about to run out the door when I heard a voice from the kitchen.
"Hey do you know where the stamps are?"
Brain. Explodes. Cue the music from the movie Psycho. My response, as I looked at the piles scattered around the floor, "Do I know where the stamps are? Do I know where the STAMPS are?!" Um. Nope. Can't say that I do buddy. Can't say that I do.
Now some of you may be wondering, how exactly we've managed to get from there (1999) to here (2022) without one of us stabbing the other. All I can say is that it's true love. Lol, that and over the years, we've come up all kinds of strategies to balance our differences.
Marriage Hack: I put it in your box.
This was the designated place where all things Billy ended up. When I saw his measuring tape on the kitchen counter, it went in the box. When he left his change on the desk, it went in the box. It started out as a shoebox that lived next to the desk. He didn't need much space then because we simply didn't have much stuff. It only took a couple of days to become habit and we still use the concept today.
Granted, it's no longer a shoebox because 23 years later we have a few more things. Now it's a giant toolbox. In the TV room. No joke. But, I don't care. I'm not messing with a good thing. It's giant and it's in the TV room for two reasons. One, for this strategy to work, at this stage in our lives, the "box" has to be much, much bigger. And, two, the "box" needs to live in a well-trafficked part of the house and this area is just that.
Today, I can say that my husband has turned into one of the most organized people I know. I mean, his closet is practically color-coded and in his workshop he has AT LEAST 20, 5-drawer filing cabinets lined up against the back wall. Not only that, they're each LABELED.
Oh, and now I ALWAYS know where the stamps are.