Coming clean: I like an organized closet

Not really my closet.
Not really my closet.

Maybe it’s because of my German ancestry, but clean closets rock.

Orderly. Organized. Clutter-free.

Yes, it’s a stereotype, but Germans are known for their appreciation for organization — trains running on time and the like. So, in memory of my German immigrant great-grandfather, Frank, I cleaned my closet Monday night. It was another rainy night in Iowa when it was difficult to do much of anything else. (This lesson was passed on by my dad, who would often make us clean the shop on the farm where I grew up, on rainy days when we couldn’t do anything else. Dad was German, too, after all.)

So, I tackled the closet while also doing some laundry. This morning, I have a bag of clothes to give away and just a little more precision in my life.

To  be honest, this doesn’t carry over to every part of my life. I’m not a regular practitioner, for example, of vacuuming or dusting. I will clean the bathroom when I have to. But I like everything to have a place and for things to be put away.

I don’t know what any of this means. And I’m not going to waste much time on self-analysis. It’s  not a surprise, though. During a session earlier this month at a training workshop at Mt. Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, the presenter posed a list of questions that identified me as someone who likes organization.

For many years, my home life wasn’t very organized, which drove me a bit nuts. And I compensated by keeping my space at work orderly. I’ve generally never had trash in my car.

This made me a bit of an anomaly at the newspapers where I worked because newsrooms are usually several steps beyond being merely cluttered.  And many of my former colleagues drove around in cars that were filled with detritus — old notebooks, fast-food wrappers, empty coffee cups, clothes and the like. At one of those long-ago newspapers, the publisher once conducted an inspection in the newsroom he viewed as too messy and gave a silver dollar to anyone whose desk was clean and orderly. I was one of the few recipients and the publisher soon gave up.

Keeping this kind of order makes me feel more productive. I work more efficiently than I would if I was surrounded by piles of stuff.

Having a cleaner closet is a great way to start the morning today. I feel more prepared to tackle other duties, which are starting to seek my attention.

Thank you for stopping by. I’ll be back tomorrow.


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