After living with the Crankee Yankee (my husband) for nearly 13 years, I think I may have at least one of the methods of his madness figured out. Let’s just say that we are short on space and long on stuff. We live in a small house, along with three goodish-sized cats. Between us all, we have a lot of stuff. (Well, at least all the cats’ toys can be corralled into one basket. But then, they also have cat furniture….)
I would say that at least one-fourth of our stuff is papers; documents, letters, magazines, articles cut out from newspapers, and various recipes. Doesn’t sound like a lot, doesn’t it? Well–it IS. In our house, no flat surface is safe, nor does it stay empty for long.
The Crankee Yankee has perfected what he calls the ‘science of vertical organization.’ This simply means that he will stack stuff in neat, squared-off piles–viola–vertical organization. Only he knows what’s important, what must be saved, what “might could” be saved, what may or may not need to be saved, and what stuff can be shoved away for another decade. To my way of thinking, though–it’s endless stacks of STUFF.
I think that he approaches his stacks the way an archaeologist approaches a column of sandstone; it must be studied grain by grain. This means that we could both be well in our 100s before those stacks disappear. I have tried baskets, file cabinets, big plastic containers with lids (“Look! Now you can SEE what you’re hoarding!”) to encourage horizontal organization; nothing seems to work for the Crankee Yankee but his endless and every-growing stacks (i.e., vertical organization).
Does anyone remember the TV sitcom, “Seinfeld”? There was an episode where George (the short, balding and continuously complaining guy) kept everything in his wallet; cash, cards, receipts, etc. The wallet began to take on the size and breadth of a small groundhog, and one day it just exploded from one receipt too many. That is what I believe may happen to our house before too long. Ice dams? Heavy snow on the roof? Icicles?! Oh, no–what will destroy our house is when the vertical organization goes to critical mass. Then we will wake up in mountains of paper bits big enough to rival New Orleans the day after Mardi Gras.
Well, ancient Rome has crumbling ruins. We have crumbling ‘vertical organization.’