Bring in The New… but how about we bring it into my newly organized home?

This year my resolution is to clean things.

Because everything is a mess in my life. Everything.

I'm a mess

And I’m not trying to suggest that my family life is turbulent or we are financially stressed or in poor health. No, I am not talking about that kind of a mess.

I am talking about a messy mess. Yes, plain old-fashioned disarray.

I am a true master of clutter-hiding. If it were a sport, I would be an Olympian. Now, at first glance, my house is relatively neat, considering it is the dwelling place of six people and four cats. But I know the truth. Behind each closet door, inside every blanket box, in all of the kitchen cabinets, true disorder reigns.


So while some parts of Mia stand proud in regard to the apparent tidiness of my home’s main floor, my inner self is burdened with the awareness that my recipe cards are not cards at all, but instead are ripped-out scraps of notebook paper that can be found in one of 18 places, ranging from inside the large royal blue bin beside the kitchen island to beneath the bathroom sink.

It gets worse…



If I had to find a black skirt to wear to a funeral, I would need three weeks’ notice to search for it in my closet. Or in my storage room. Or in a plastic trash bag in the garage. You want to make a soufflé? Good luck finding a whisk. And locating the eggs will be a challenge, too, as the refrigerator is a total disaster.










I will confess, our family no longer sorts the silverware. It’s all right, we make a game of it—we reach in and eat our bowls of cereal with whatever utensil we happen to grab. You should really try it. It’s fun and challenging, too!



So, yes, the drawers, closets, bureaus, cabinets, and really anything in the house that can be opened and closed, need a thorough sorting through. But some other things in my life need a cleaning as well…

My computer. It takes me twenty minutes to find my most recent screen shot. I have literally thousands to look through. And my first rough draft of Beggars in Choosers (written thirteen books ago) is still in my documents.

My car. It is not part of the house, so I’m going to call it a separate challenge. Mom’s Volvo, however, suffers from the same “it can be opened and closed and therefore is used to conceal clutter” syndrome as all storage devices in my house.


My diet. Seriously, I need to stay away from all things processed and do a little more with things that grow in nature.

My language. It’s not that I swear like a rapper in my everyday life, but some of my characters sure as shit, I mean, heck, do. I want my books to be relevant and realistic to teens who read them, and teens swear, but I think I need to tone it down. Some reviews of The Red Sheet actually discussed my liberal use of profanity, and honestly, I just wrote what I thought. So it seems that my brain isn’t squeaky clean either. Maybe I’ll clean up my act in this area just a bit.


124 The Red Sheet


But you know what? Despite the mess we live in, my kids are awesome, my marriage is happy, my books get written, and the cats can find the litter box, although it probably needs to be emptied. Maybe this outward disorganization houses something very streamlined—a family life that actually works, a professional life that ain’t too shabby, and (be prepared for cheesy) a lot of love.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 7.30.07 PM









I really love my kids, my hubby, my cats… and if I could find my red Sharpie marker in this freakin’ mess I’d write “I LOVE YOU GUYS” on a napkin and hang it on the refrigerator for all to see.


14 Comments on “Bring in The New… but how about we bring it into my newly organized home?

  1. I’m kind of a messy too. But there comes a point when even I need to organize. If you are like me, You need a simple system. Because if it’s too complicated, you’d forget how it was organized in the first place. I often read that creative people are cluttered. If that’s the case, I’m really creative! Ha! I must confess, though, there are things in my life which are organized. My three hundred crayons are organized by color family. My colored pencils are that way too. And I love to label things!

    I think de-cluttering is a good thing once in awhile. But just don’t go crazy! Good luck! And if you need more sharpees, let me know! I have a drawer full of them in broad and fine tip! And I bet I have every type of marker.. Lol!

  2. I can identify 100%!!! The boy and I have spent 3 full days filling 3 trailerloads to the DUMP! And the house is worse than ever, because that was just the ATTIC! HALF the attic! My closet – oh God, we can’t go there. That will be a daylong task. Pictures? 15,000+ on the hard drive, mostly cataloged in Adobe Bridge, I am pretty good about importing with keywords. But, part of the attic clean out was to retrieve the boxes of slides (probably 4 dozen 80- and 160-slide trays, plus loose ones, plus hundreds of prints, so I can scan and catalog the ones I want to keep. My kitchen has 3 clean surfaces – the counters where I prepare food. ARGH! I can’t believe how much I have to do!

    Love the family shot! COOL!
    Peace ❤

  3. I can totally relate!! Moving from a 3 bedroom house to a one bedroom in-law unit, is a huge challenge especially when you have a lot of possessions. My living room is hard to walk through, kitchen is close to being organized and outside patio has a lot of boxes. I want to decorate for Christmas but have to clear out the boxes from the living room. LOL. I know it will get done soon but it has been tough for me a usual “neat freak”!!!

  4. kari!!
    I am a “what you can see” neat freak and I have to have some certain things set up just so. Shoes must be in neat lines. Blankets must be folded. But anything goes inside the closets and cabinets. You should see my pantry. It is a wreck. It scares me. But!! The silver lining is that I can shut the pantry door. Problem solved. So, when the drawers can’t close, that is when I am called to do something about it. I keep saying I will do it someday. Someday hasn’t come yet.

  5. Hi Jay!! Things like photographs and pictures on my computer are actually totally lost causes. When the teachers say bring in some baby pictures to school I shudder. Where are the baby pictures? I know I took them? I just have no idea where in my house they ended up. And “importing with keywords” has absolutely no meaning to me and I think that might be the root of the problem in the photo department. Well, even if our houses are messy, we are getting by just fine, aren’t we Jay? Just fine!!

  6. Betsy- one good thing about moving, and especially about moving into a smaller place, is it forces you to get organized, to sort through things, and to downsize. Sometimes I fantasize about parking a dumpster under my bedroom window and “heave ho!” throwing 99% of my “stuff” away! So you are having a tough time now, but you will feel so good when the job is done and you are all set up with the things that you chose to hang on to. (And then you can start collecting stuff again. LOL)

  7. Oh, I get you, Mia! For sure!!! I know I am a photogeek (is that a word?). So keywords, and cataloging, yeah, I get you! Good luck on all of it!

  8. So funny & so true of so many ‘happy’ families! Time & love spent with each other … not the knives and forks! Would rather hunt for a black skirt than hunt for a kid! Live & LIVE On! Sounds to me like you’ve got it right! Love from Alaska

  9. Thanks for the comment, Ann! I think I’m doing things right, all things considered, but don’t ask me to find a stapler!!

  10. For me it’s my closet and work desk. They have lives of their own but it works for me. 😀

  11. kate- yes! I am a perfectionist, but since having a large family, a large house and a lot of pets, I have had to release my high standards. In truth, nobody else in the family is motivated to keep things even remotely neat- so just to keep things sort of in their places on my own is a challenge. I have heard of flylady- I will check her out! And it is good to know I am not alone in this struggle.

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