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Neatness Hurts – No I Am Not A Hoarder I Just Love Books

I am so sore this morning and it isn’t even my fault. Well it sort of is, but not really. The fault lies with that woman on the television who was sitting at her dining room table typing on her computer. The table has a lace cloth on it and a flower arrangement in the center, and nothing else.

There were no bills piled up. No pens. No candy. No Christmas ornaments. No baskets of stuff. No glasses. No keys. No sunglasses. No lipstick. No books. No bowls. No trivets. No notebooks. No purses. No books. Did I already say that? Oh well. You get the gist. There was nothing on the table except neatness. She could sit at the end of the table working on her computer and not have to spend days clearing the table first. I wanted that to be my table. Well, I wanted it to be my table without all the work that would be involved clearing the table.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those hoarders you see on television. I am just a person with too many ideas and not enough space. My projects seem to expand as the space in my home decreases. And books. I just love books and want them everywhere. They seem to want to be everywhere too. I don’t believe there is a single surface in my house that doesn’t have at least one book on it.

Anyway, this vision of a neat table with the woman sitting at it typing her, well I don’t know what she was typing and it doesn’t really matter. The seed of that vision was planted so this past weekend I set about to create something close to her neatness in my home.

It began simple enough. I had errands to run to get a few things first. I had to go to the local office supply store to get a new computer. While there I saw the perfect bookcase of sorts that would help me organize the home office. The store I was at didn’t have the computer, but it did have the bookcase. But there was another store just 30 minutes away that had the computer. Off I went to store number two. I secured the computer but found out they didn’t have the bookcase. As luck would have it, the store I just left had the very bookcase I sought. Back to store number one. With the van loaded I began the trip home so the cleaning could begin.

I had just one stop at the phone store on the way home to get a new case for my cell phone. Two hours and one new phone later I was on my way again. I passed the turn to my home when I realized that I needed to go to the grocery store. In the same shopping center was a Radio Shack. I now also needed a data transfer cable to get my info from my old computer to my new computer.

Once home I set up the computers and the data transfer. I tried to figure out my new phone but no luck. My son and his family showed up so we visited a while. Then it was back to the computers. Everything was still a mess in the house but the computers would soon be done. At 11 p.m. I wandered off to be with the computers still talking to each other and without a clean house.

The next morning I was up early and off to Wally World to get some of those suckem down storage bags to store the things I would be taking out of the closest. Now I know it sounds like I was just moving my things from one room to another, and in a way that is true. But I was cleaning, so the wheres don’t really matter.

I cleaned my bedroom including polishing the doors and furniture. I vacuumed. I dusted. I even arranged the books on the shelves where they looked orderly. I moved to the next room.

I cleaned. I moved furniture. I cleaned out closets. I sucked down 5 of those storage bags full of stuff. I put clean linen on the bed. I hauled stuff out to the trash. I pulled, and straightened, and strained, and stooped, and stuffed, and struggled, and, well eventually the room was clean and I was just plain tired. Two rooms down and the worst room had not even been touched.

The bookcase storage thing for the home office still had to be assembled. The bookcase was step one in cleaning that room. Screwdriver and hammer in hand the assembling began. 4:30 p.m. came and went. I’m not sure what time it was but sometime before today I was done. My back hurt. My hands hurt. My legs hurt. My toes hurt. My eyelashes hurt.

I took a pain killer and lay down on the couch.

It is now Monday. The office is not clean. The table is not clean. My house in no way resembles that %**#@’$  home on the television. Tonight I go home to attack the office. That’s my project for the next two weeks. I figure at the speed I am moving it will take at least that long to put any sense of order to the room. I plan on hurting the entire time.


From the life and mind of:

Wanda M. Argersinger

© 2010 All Rights Reserved


About Wanda Argersinger


  1. The rule for ‘neatness’ is: neatness=stuff/room. In other words, neatness is inversely proportional to how much stuff you have to how much room you have. The more room, the less stuff, more stuff, lesss room and neatness takes the hit.

    I can prove it. I just put two shelves up in this computer/bed room. I have less room now than before I moved ‘stuff’ up to the shelves.

    Good article. Love your humor (I rite the stuff (humor), also).

  2. Mess expans to fit the space available for it. On the same principle, if you do all the laundry, except for a handkerchief and a sheet – they will mate overnight and produce 5 pairs of jeans and three shirts.

  3. Loved it. I don’t even try with my office. In fact, my new computer is a laptop so that whever the mess is, I can just take the laptop and move to where the mess isn’t.

  4. My clutter follows me like an over-eager puppy. I haven’t seen the surface of my desk in a year. I don’t remember the last time I dusted.

    And yet… I realized not long ago that all my friends with picture-perfect houses are also the most boring people I know. They don’t dance in the grocery store. They don’t sing in the shower. They don’t do anything but clean.

    I’d rather be an interesting Pigpen than a paper doll Martha any day. My kids will remember the dancing and the singing. They won’t remember, or even care about, a sparkling kitchen counter.

  5. When did you say you are coming to WI? With all of that experience under your belt, I might just as well leave the office until you arrive. I can handle the rest of the place just fine.
    Janet Elaine SMith, multi-genre author

  6. Loved it but I needed a nap by the end of the third paragraph!

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