Friday, December 22, 2006

And To All: A Good, Neat Night...and a Happy New Year!

[posted by dinah]
....blogger won't let me post a pic

I am off shortly for a few days of 'relative' festivities (no blood to be shed) and then a week of real vacation. In case I don't post while away:

Season's Greetings to All!

This post is dedicated to Roy, with affection.

From the
New York Times , Penelope Green writes in "Say Yes to Mess" about how clutter is good, organization over-rated. January is Get Organized Month, but we're told their's a counter movement of people fighting the Get Organized trend, people who shun Staples and The Container Store, organizing items and the pursuit of neatness.

Mess tells a story: you can learn a lot about people from their detritus,
whereas neat — well, neat is a closed book. Neat has no narrative and no
personality (as any cover of Real Simple magazine will demonstrate).

So why on our Psychiatry blog? I can't tell you how much time people spend in psychotherapy talking about how they wish they were more organized, how they have all these household chores to do, how they regret the time they spend in front of the TV or computer (blogging, no doubt), sleeping, gaming, doing other non-organizing things. It's the funny dilemma: they want things changed, but they don't want to change them. Do you realize, I never say, that in the space of this therapy session, an entire closet could be dealt with? And if it's not enough to loathe ones self for all drawers-not-organized, yet even more hours in psychotherapy are spent talking about the spouse/partner/roommate whose sense of neatness is mismatched. There's the "Can You Believe What A Slob She Is?" side and the "What a Neurotic Freak Who Can Never Be Pleased" Side. So, yes, "Say Yes To Mess" fits right in with psychiatry themes.

So I am "pretty neat." I love The Container Store. I only like planned clutter. Everything has a place, my children's doors are kept closed and I mentally write those rooms off. I stock decorative boxes and ottomans with removable tops so mess can be scooped, dumped, and lidded. Throwing things out makes me happy. Sorting is the key to the good life. With kids and a dog with a social life, neighbors with keys, and more remote controls and sports equipment than Sports Authority, it's really more idea than fact, but I am "pretty neat" but not as neat as

It’s a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along:
really neat people are not avatars of the good life; they are humorless and
inflexible prigs, and have way too much time on their hands.

Umm, gee thanks.
Time to clear out the 2006 psychiatric journals.

Be well, eat well, love well, and don't worry about the clutter.


Sarebear said...
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ClinkShrink said...

Yes I'm the cat person; and I have it on good faith that Max has shed his antlers.

Regarding clutter, you'd think the medical publishers would figure out that they should offer annual end-of-the-year disks that store all their journals for that year. I'd get one of those and throw out the journals in a flash.


My boyfriend and I have a comfortably established routine: I clear a space, and he thinks, "Great, now I can bring home that big ol' (insert obtrusive and pointy object here) I've been keeping in my locker all year and put it right there. Thanks!"

Anonymous said...

My mother-in-law needs to read this post.

HP said...

I have surface neatness. Neat unless you open that strangely bulging cupboard!

We've got less than 7.5 hours to go to Dec 25th are already tracking Santa via So, happy holidays to all and best wishes for the New Year.

Sarebear said...
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Fat Doctor said...

I find it unacceptable that you may not post for a week. Unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

HI FD: Family visit before the "vacation" part begins: Hi from the Simsbury Inn lobby.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dinah said...

...and, Fat Doctor, I do want to point out that I've left two board-certified physicians covering the blog for me...

Gerbil said...

I used to be vaguely embarrassed that I'd inherited the anal-retentiveness gene from my father.

Then I learned that the opposite of anal retentiveness is anal expulsiveness.

Oh, and I'm an appropriately cautious Capricorn whose other half is an appropriately impulsive Leo. Ain't life grand?

Patient Anonymous said...

My mother was a "neat freak" (no, no, I mean OCD crazy, plus other stuff, dragon lady, germophobe, health nut, you name it...) yeah, you get the picture. My mom just kept elevating crazy to new heights as a kid.

Anyway, after my parents got divorced, it was like, "Woo hoo!" I could live like a pig (well, not like a pig but I could stop making my bed and have stuff strewn all over my room.)

Now as an adult, (and perhaps things coincidentally just started to "happen" as an adolescent--I don't remember "losing" things as a kid.) I'm a disaster.

We have a great arrangement, my partner and I: she cleans up; I make a mess. Well, I still try and do my part so it's not utter chaos but compared to her, I'm really bad.

And if I'm not using something in the immediate moment, it may as well be gone into an abyss forever. Very frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Camel speaking; I think most of my friends and enemies would agree that I am not a humorless prig; at times, I can be positively hedonistic- just a neat hedonist. Anyway, when I hear what those personal orgainsers make per hour, without office rent, malpractice, needing to be on call 24/7 etc., I start to see a real retirement opportunity.....Camel the organiser, anyone?