A messy desk…

…is the sign of a cluttered mind.

A week or so ago I received an email from Emme’s Classical Conversations tutor.  She was asking all of Emme’s classmates to search their carts for a fellow student’s missing book.

Warily I approached Emme’s cart.  If you’ll recall, this is the same cart that I drag around at the homeschool convention, in an effort to look like I know what I’m doing in the exhibit hall.  It also houses all manner of snacking options as I sit through two days worth of lectures, hoping to soak up all available knowledge to sustain me through the homeschooling year.  It also serves as a fancy foot rest and picnic table.

But I digress.

When Emme began Classical Conversations, I knew that a backpack was not an option, unless weekly trips to the chiropractor were desired.  I outfitted her cart with what is described as a “Cart Apron” which is code for fancy cart cover with multi-exterior pockets to maintain optimum organization.

Cart Apron fail.

I rifled through Emme’s cart and did not find the classmate’s missing book.  I sent the following text to the mom:

“I searched Emme’s cart, also known as the black hole, and came up empty.  But I did find something that I think was a member of a food group at one time…”

Honestly, on Monday morning I make sure that her cart is neatly organized, color coded, and alphabetized.  I think that once she gets to class, she dumps the contents out onto the floor, runs it over with the cart itself, and then stands across the room with her eyes closed to pitch everything back inside.

Not unlike the method in which she loads the dishwasher.

I often question how it is that we share the same DNA.

I cannot even talk about the state of her bedroom without hyperventilating.

This is most unfortunate for her room mate and sibling arch enemy, Cailey (the neat-nick), who must share a 10 x 9 foot sleeping space with her slob of a sister.  Their desks are side by side in the family room, and clearly illustrate the vast difference between these two siblings.

Exhibit A:  Emme’s desk

Exhibit B:  Cailey’s desk

Please note the beautifully crafted origami decor.  One such origami constructed box houses her ear buds, WHICH ARE NEATLY WRAPPED AFTER EACH USE.  Occasionally Emme has need of her sister’s desk to use the Mac computer, and this act has caused Cailey’s head to actually explode.

I found a list of ideas to help with the messy school work dilemma on the Mom’s Homeroom site, and I’ve begun to implement a few suggestions, especially the one about providing the proper tools for her work environment.  But honestly, after talking to my mother-in-law, as well as my sisters-in-law, I think I’m fighting a losing battle, as this issue is clearly hereditary.  She hails from a long line of slobs.  (Not the mother-in-law mind you, but all of her 6 children.)

I don’t know how Emme functions, yet she does.  Organization really throws her for a loop.

As long as she’s getting assignments completed and they are legible, should I just CHILL OUT?  Or. Is there hope that I can steer her into an organizational direction which will benefit ALL WHO HAVE TO LIVE WITH HER NOW AND IN HER FUTURE?

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7 Responses to A messy desk…

  • Personally, I’d like to hire Cailey to come beaten up my workspace. I believe I may be Emme 30 years from now?

  • I have 1 complete slob, 1 slob, and 1 who was neat at one time, but I don’t know what happened. I too used to fight the unorganization of my offspring (they are PACK RATS), but came to the conclusion there is a reason for doors. As long as they keep their stuff in the shared rooms of the house somewhat neat, I just close their bedroom doors and walk away sighing. It’s not a battle I want to fight most days. Next week I’m hosting my work’s staff Christmas party, so amid all the frantic decorating cannons are booming as I try to get them to clean their rooms.
    Good luck!

  • I would say if she is getting her work completed and seems happy doing it her way. Don’t sweat it. Choose your battles wisely. No two kids function the same even with sharing the DNA of the same parents..

  • You should see my oldest’s locker and backpack. Oh my. BUT his work gets turned in, occasionally rumpled and maybe a little late, but there are natural consequences for that. I’ve decided to give up. And guess what? He voluntarily takes a shower every morning, his room is almost tidyish, his grades are fantastic and we’re both happier that I”m not trying to make him be me.

  • I am the packrat and slob. Not “dirty” mind you. Just cluttered. I might need that later, and I need it close at hand, you know. I know exactly where everything is. I want to give you a hopeful “how to”, but I’m 34 and still cluttery. I have tried every manner of proper organizational tools, but that’s not how my mind works. Is Emme, perhaps, your more creatively minded one, and Cailey is the logical and ordered one? I have one of each of those with the same desk tendencies. We finally moved my logical and ordered one into our playroom in the basement so she didn’t have to deal with her sister’s creative clutter anymore. My sister and I are a little the same way. I don’t think you’re going to be able to force organization on her, but maybe you can convince her to contain it in a way that doesn’t disrupt anyone else’s needs. She could have her cluttered area, but try to be extra respectful of the neatnick’s space. The worst thing my husband does is try to “help” by making me piles or going through things himself. I need to be the one to do it. Move everything, and now it’s all lost to me. I have no idea where anything is anymore. And now I’m overwhelmed by a pile. Or the pile is no longer where I see it, and it’s forgotten, along with those permission slips and order forms and school pictures. Then I miss deadlines. So I guess I’d focus less on getting her to be neat and more on just getting her to understand that it makes structured people crazy. And sometimes we have to help our structured friends out by containing our creative mess to a limited area.

  • This sounds all to familiar as I grew up in a home schooled family with 3 siblings. I am the neat freak of us sisters. If it’s any comfort, you might like to hear that my “un-organized” sister, grew out of it!
    I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog. Your stories are close to home, with a refreshingly comical outlook.

  • My mom had to deal with this. My two siblings were clutter slobs! When you entered their rooms you shuffled your feet so you didn’t break something! Her stance was “it’s your room and I can close the door, I don’t care”. Now shared living spaces were a different story!!! She expected those to remain neat.

    I have no idea how to have one of each co-habitate in a singe room without making each other insane. 🙂 I separated mine when they were 6 and 8.

    Good Luck!!! 😀