In Writing

Okay, let’s get this out of the way: I’m messy. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that messiness promotes creativity (don’t believe me? Link to the article below), so it’s all good, peeps. Seriously. Except, here’s the catch: I only ever seem to find organized men to pair up with. So, you know, hilarity ensues.

Recently, my boyfriend was going to sleep over. This is a man who wraps his every garment with perfect, military precision, unless he hangs it wrinklelessly in his Real Housewives of New York-worthy closet. In contrast, I let laundry pile up for weeks, scraping bottom on the essentials, until it just can’t be put off any longer. So, coincidentally and not at all related, I did all of my laundry a few days before he came to spend the night. I stacked it up flat, one on top of the other, in order to drag it up two floors to my room, where it awaited the inspiration for hanging.

But, here’s the thing. I’m not just messy. I’m lazy. There are few things I hate more than hanging all my clothes. So there the pile sat, made messier every morning when I picked out a T-shirt from the middle. “I should hang these up,” I thought with my every pile interaction. “Nah, I’ve got an article to read.” And so the pile sat, getting ragged around the edges.

Until the day that he came to sleep over, the pile sat. My hope sprang eternal that I’d get just the right combination of inspiration and energy just in time to get it all done before he arrived. No such luck. With him pulling into the driveway, I gathered up the now-balled-up pile, and ran with it into the only other available closet, that temple of mayhem and all-things-placeless, the one in my office. I shoved it all inside, barely able to scrape the door closed as he walked up my steps.

Discovery averted. Sort of. (He will read this. Hi, babe).

It was fully intended as an interim solution, one designed to not scare off this man with the Better Homes and Gardens sock drawer.  But, here’s the thing: I hadn’t liked to look at the pile either, so it was nice to have it out of sight. And out of sight is totally out of mind for me. Once it was behind a closed door, it magically stopped existing. It was wonderful. Except in the mornings, when I needed to find something to wear. Then I’d go to my clean but increasingly rumpled pile, and increase my overall time spent on dealing with clothes by having to iron absolutely everything. Still, then I closed the door again and – poof! – the problem was gone again.


I wanted to end this post with a happy ending, like “I finally hung up the pile!” or a lesson learned, like “Do laundry more often.” And yet the pile sits, too daunting to face, too necessary to ignore. I can see it now as I write this post, the Pile that Will Live in Infamy.

I should go close that closet door.

Resources for the judgy:

“It’s Not Mess, It’s Creativity,” New York Times, click here.

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