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On the search for organization after Christmas

I'm not one of those neat freaks who has to have everything just perfect in her house. But I do need an order to my own chaos, and I have a loose system of everything having its place, even if it only makes sense to me.

That's why every year, by the time Christmas is done, I am ready to set my hair on fire if I can't get all that stuff put away and back in the attic. Indeed, today is the day the disassembling begins.

But there's more to it than that. Forget spring cleaning. Spring is for flowers and bunnies, sunscreen and cold drinks. The time after Christmas is the time to tear up your house. Last year it was the spice rack. I got a spice rack for Christmas, which set off a construction project in the kitchen that involved a thinning out and taking stock of life in general.

This year I was looking for an old photo album. I knew it was here somewhere, and over the weekend I looked around the normal places and I didn't find it. That's when I went into War Mode.

First I had to clean the tiny spare bedroom, which on the best of days is difficult to maneuver, but over the Christmas Holidays is where everything gets thrown and is Grand Central for empty boxes, wrapping paper, bows and tags. By Christmas day it is a carpet of a tangled mess of all those things.

All that had to be cleared out so I could get into the closet in the spare room. Then came a pulling out of extra blankets that had been used for football games and thrown recklessly back in when no one was looking.

After that, party dresses. Man, can two teenage Material Girls ever compile a pile of party dresses. And for whatever reason, once they're worn, they are like Cinderella and her shoe  they just leave them any which where.

Once both kids are out of the nest, I have a plan to sell all those dresses online. I am counting on that income for my early retirement, which is also part of the plan. Meanwhile, however, I will continue to buy the occasional lottery ticket.

Speaking of plans, while some people dream of travel and adventure, I dream of the day that my house thins out by half and I can walk from the bedroom to the kitchen without tripping over four pairs of shoes, AND those two bedrooms are practically screaming for a makeover. The girls' protest that they plan to return home from time to time, but since they camp out on the couch half the time anyway, I'm not worried. It will all work out in the end.

Anyway. I didn't find the photo album, so I moved over to the storage closet under the stairs. Now that's a scary place. It's shaped like a wedge of cheese, and even though I know better, I can't ever climb in there without knocking myself senseless.

So I pulled everything out of that space. Apparently that's where I decided to store all my plastic bags that come with the dry cleaning, a few garment bags for all those party dresses, dozens of old dance costumes, lots of scrapbooking toys for the day when I quit buying scrapbooking toys and finally decide to scrapbook, old luggage and, lo and behold, the old photo album I was looking for.

Even though anyone entering my home might still be tempted to nominate me for a reality TV show, there was progress made. I can now enter my spare room, the closet there, and even though I don't want to, the closet under the stairs. And I found what I was looking for.

Next to go  the Christmas tree. Only 80 days left until spring!

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