I moved it with me over two years ago.
It sat in a corner of the upstairs hallway, and I added to it occasionally. It became a fixture of the upstairs hallway and no one even noticed it. I moved it around once in a while; when I needed to get into the attic, or was cleaning for company. Then I moved it into my bedroom, out of sight. I covered it up occasionally, putting clean folded sheets on top, or rolled towels that needed to go into the bathroom.
I didn’t want to deal with it, and the longer I put it off, the worse it got.
Two and a half years after I’d moved a basket of unmatched socks with me to this house, I dumped it out in the living room and faced the pile before me.
How did I get to the point that I could face it? I’d spent most of the day cleaning my office/schoolroom; organizing, sorting, and going through things I hadn’t looked at in years: college papers, photos, magazine articles I’d clipped for some reason, old essays and rough drafts of articles that had never seen the light of day. I filled two boxes of things to sell at my sister’s shop, a big box of papers to recycle, two boxes of books to take to Half Price Books. The office looks great, and even my desk is neat.
I love organization. I revel in the orderly. I feel so much more productive when everything around me is neat and organized.
And feeling productive after a day of accomplishment, I decided it was finally time to face my nemesis; that basket of socks.
Last night the little girls and I dumped three, yes THREE, baskets of socks and wash cloths in the middle of the floor, took a deep breath, and dived right in, a large garbage bag next to us.
Dirty and holey was easy; those went right into the garbage bag. Surprisingly, some of those were Michael’s, and he hasn’t lived with us for three years. The rest was divided into four piles: Daddy, Mommy, Katie, and Abby. (Emily and Matt do their own laundry, and the few we found of Emily’s no longer fit her so those went either into Katie’s pile or the garbage bag) Then there were the dozens of stray dish cloths or wash cloths that had ended up in the basket; a nice folded stack that either went into the bathroom or in the kitchen drawer, or, in the case of several of the older dish cloths~ into the garbage bag that was rapidly filling.
An hour later, we had the manageable piles that we proceeded to match. Even Abby, age 7, got in on the action after I showed her how to roll the two socks together as a pair. The biggest disappointment was how many of the “pretty” socks didn’t seem to have a pair; the Gap and Gymboree patterned ones particularly. Only one leopard print sock? One Easter, one Christmas, one Halloween. It took some wheedling on my part to get the girls to add those to the garbage.
After two hours and four Everybody Loves Raymond episodes playing on the television in front of us, we ended up with a gigantic pile of socks for Katie, a large pile for Daddy, smaller for Mommy, and a disappointing five or six pairs for Abby. And one big garbage bag full of socks and dish cloths:
It took two hours to deal with something I’d put off for more than two years.
Isn’t that the way it is with so many things in our life? The problem or situation seems like too much to deal with, so we put it off,shrug it aside. Then it builds up and builds up until it seems completely insurmountable, and we think to ourselves, I can’t deal with this. So we don’t. But at some point, we have to deal with it. And in doing so, often find that it isn’t nearly as bad as what we thought it would be. Or it was bad, but in dealing with it, we became stronger.
Whatever it is in your life that you haven’t been dealing with, maybe today is the day to face it.
Start right now.