Striving for order in all-girl world

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I like an orderly house.

I’m not a neat freak by any means, but I believe that things have certain places.

I also think that those certain things should be put back into their certain places once you’re finished with them.

Towels should be folded a certain way – creases out.

Canned goods should be organized and stacked by type – peas with the peas and so on – with labels facing out. Same thing with boxed goods. Don’t you dare put the au gratin potatoes in with the sour cream ones. That drives me crazy.

I’m not certain, but I may be a little OCD – which is probably not a bad thing. It’s not so bad that I’m counting floor tiles or anything like that. I just happen to like things just so.

For the life of me, I cannot get my children to understand the whole concept of “put things back where you got them from.”

Shoes are the worst. Fellow columnist Nancy Blackmon wrote today about the wonderful invention of shoes. Living in a house full of females, I can attest that no truer statement has ever been written. Shoes are fabulous, but do you know how many shoes four females can have in their closets at one given time? A lot, which would be fine – if those shoes lived in the closet when they weren’t one someone’s feet. In the Nelson household, they don’t. Those shoes live under the end tables in the living room. I even found one wedged between the toilet and the wall in the second bathroom.

When I was growing up, my mother had the same philosophy about orderliness. The front half of Saturday was always spent cleaning our rooms. Under the bed checks had to be clear before we could leave to buy groceries. A clean room in a timely fashion meant French fries from McDonalds, and maybe, just maybe, a movie from the video store.

Of my three children, only one – the youngest – has inherited that need for orderliness. It makes me so proud to see her shoes all in a line; her bed neatly made, and her books just so on the bookshelf. (Spines out, and placed neatly in a row, of course.)

Her sisters, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. Since this is our “Newspapers in Education” edition, I won’t go into detail about it, lest they be embarrassed – as they well should be.

Of course, if one comes to look at my house now, you’d never guess about my need for neatness. Isn’t that always the case? No one ever comes to visit when your house is clean. I guess it’s kind of like how if you don’t put on makeup for a Wal-Mart run you see everyone and their brother? Anyway, pardon me while I straighten my desk. This mess is driving me crazy.