The Day I Found Clutter That Didn’t Need to Be Organized

I’ve been on an organizing kick lately. Actually, that’s not true, I’ve been on an organizing kick since I was born. Believe it or not, going through a bookcase or drawer is exhilarating to me.

I, Lexi Kelson, am addicted to organizing.

Yesterday, I tasked myself with going through a few shelves of one of my closets. There were things in there that I hadn’t thought about (let alone picked up) in years. Dust mite by dust mite, I wrangled the billions of pieces out of their boxes and bags and went through every bit.

I found so many things in those piles. Keychains, rocks, coins, bracelets. Toys that are way too amusing no matter what your age. Postcards from places I never visited. Others from places I did visit. Ribbons from my days of swim team glory. Old T-shirts that are so attached to their musty smell that no amount of detergent or perfume could break their bond.

I found a lot of things… a lot of stuff.

The Monica Geller/clean freak in me screamed to throw it all in the trash just to feel a sense of progress & productivity. The whole “fresh start” concept was pretty tempting. But then again, with every token I picked up, I picked up a memory. I touched a place in my brain/heart/soul that I’d forgotten about until that moment. That feeling? It 100% overrides the need to “clean up.”

When I was younger, I acquired this sort of box. I felt pretty legit since my fancy new box had a lock and a nifty & comfortable handle. I decked it out with glittery but tasteful stickers to add a bit of personalization. I called it my treasure box. Events (special or ordinary) would pass, and I would find myself placing tiny trinkets in my box.

My brain stored the memory, & my box stored the trigger.

Finding it during my organization session was truly like discovering a hidden treasure. Turns out I gave it a fitting name.

I stared at it for a minute or two. Over the years, I’d changed, but my box hadn’t. It still looked the same. How comforting to see something you’ve held so dear for so long simply stay as it has always been. It’s like smelling your home’s distinct scent or wrapping yourself in a burrito made of the softest comforter.

Even though every bone in my body & pathway in my brain is programmed to organize, I didn’t want to organize my box. I went through each token I’d carefully stored away, but I always put it right back in its unofficial but very official place before picking up the next item.

I didn’t want to jostle the memories.

I was MORE than okay leaving that box unorganized. To me, it didn’t need to be organized (NOT a phrase I thought would ever come from yours truly). Some things are meant to be left the way they are. Rearranging isn’t always necessary. Sometimes the clutter is utterly perfect.

I like to call it “clutterly perfect.” (Mashing up random words is my favorite pastime… don’t judge.)

We can’t always organize memories because they don’t always fit in the boxes we make for them. We force them inside, and they just sit there awkwardly & uncomfortably like a middle schooler placed at a new lunch table. They just don’t fit in.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that memories have minds of their own. Sometimes they alter & readjust themselves leaving us more than a bit confused – at least that’s what happens in my brain. They like to be free. Free to pop up whenever & wherever. At the sight of a color or animal. After catching a whiff of a candle. At the taste of a sandwich.

At the sight of a box.

Memories like to be left unorganized. In fact, even if you do organize them, chances are they won’t stay where they’re supposed to stay. Free spirits will be free spirits. Trying to lock them down is pointless – you’ll be the one inside the cage without the key.

I like my treasure box just the way it is. Why would I try to change a treasure?

It’s already beautiful.

 

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