What's Your Crime Scene?

Though I’ve never been arrested (and for that I am grateful because I know our faithful readers love the Patch Police Log) my experience in church last month made me feel criminal.

We’ve all got at least one — some of us a lot more — and if we don’t take the time to finally do something about them, not only will they continually cause us angst and waste our precious time, ultimately they can cost us thousands of dollars! 

Oh for heaven’s sake, I’m not referring to our in-laws (really!) I’m talking about good intentions, which will get you nowhere if your don't do something about them. My biggest intention is getting organized.

In September, when my kids went back to school, I was hell bent on organizing every square inch of my life. This included everything from my bins of 10-year-old Mary Kay cosmetics to the seat pockets in my car that were still harboring miscellaneous doo dads such as empty juice box cartons, a flattened roll of toilet paper (a must-have for road trips!) and, shamefully, a broken corkscrew.  

With eight kids in school all day long, there was no reason I couldn’t make it happen. We all know about good intentions, and I’d like to think mine are not only good, they are awesome! We also know where good intentions get us if we don’t take action — nowhere! 

With me, however, it usually takes a defining moment to move me into action mode, and although I did manage to organize our master bedroom and laundry room to near perfection this winter (please, hold your applause until the end of the performance), I somehow fell off the wagon and stopped there. 

And then it happened. The mother of all humiliating experiences — which not only turned me near purple with embarrassment, it also kicked me in the butt to get back on my organizing game: I spilled my pocketbook, in church, when it was time for everyone to go to Communion.

Normally, this wouldn’t have been too bad a scenario. With eight kids in the pew, I have lots of help gathering up the sundry of crap (did I say that?) that I carry in my oversized bag. This time, however, I was alone because I was away and visiting a church I’d never been to before.

When you have kids in tow, it’s so easy to shift the blame to them when something goes awry in a public place. (Don’t tell me you haven’t done this before — it’s our right as parents!) But in the rare instance you are alone like I was, there’s no way out except to own the situation and rectify it ASAP.

In my case, I had left my pocketbook open to give money during the collection. When it was time to go to Communion (did I mention I was sitting in the middle of the pew?), I quickly got up and caught my foot on the strap of my Dooney and Burke (yes, I’m brand dropping) and thank God (that was why I was at church after all), I was able to save myself from falling by grabbing the bench in front of me and kick my pocketbook free. 

There was nothing “free” about that process, though, because that is when the contents went spilling from my pew, up the center aisle and at least 3 pews in front of me. 

I wouldn’t have minded so much if it were items like pens, loose change, a few Wal-Mart receipts and even a dried up tube of lipstick, but in addition to those things, I had a few more “discretionary” items that were now on display as well, one being an extra pair of my big mama underwear (my bathing suit was underneath my clothing, I swear!), the other being the novel I was reading at the time — 50 Shades of Grey, a bit controversial for the Catholic Church, I’m sure. 

The clincher was when the elderly women sitting beside me smirked and said, “That’s quite a crime scene you’ve got there!” (You’ve no idea how grateful I am my handcuffs didn’t come tumbling out!)

Once I was safely back in my car, I vowed that I would NEVER be caught with Granny Pants (sorry, I hate the word panty!) on my person again, and once I got home, I’d get back on the organizational wagon and would start with all my pocketbooks!

I stumbled across an interesting article about how much being disorganized can literally cost you. If you want to figure it out yourself, have a look at this.

On average, how many hours a week do you spend being disorganized? Maybe it’s half an hour looking for files; maybe it’s another hour searching through your phone records or email inbox.

* What is your hourly billing rate (i.e., how much do you earn or charge clients per hour at your job)?

* Multiply your hourly billing rate by the number of hours per week you’re spending being disorganized. That’s how much being disorganized is costing you per week.

* Now take that number and multiply it by 52: That’s how much disorganization is costing you over the entire year. It’s probably a pretty scary number! Whatever the amount, wouldn’t you rather spend your time with family and friends or generating income rather than losing it by being disorganized?

Another indulgence of mine is blogging. I personally love to blog and also enjoy searching for blogs that could have a positive influence on my family or I. I Heart Organizing is a terrific resource for those who would love to get their homes or workspaces into tip-top shape.

If you’re brave enough, take a little glance around your home, office, car, garage, and don’t forget your purse or briefcase. Spring is the perfect time to get motivated to do a little sorting, purging and de-cluttering before you end up with a crime scene of your own.

CBA May 01, 2012 at 04:45 PM
The brand dropping was unnecessary and pretentious.
glenna Stolzberg May 01, 2012 at 06:30 PM
what a grouch! What's happening to people's manners these days? I enjoy your column Cheryl.
Cheryl Butler May 02, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Thank you CBA and Glenna! :) Hope you both have wonderful Wednesdays. :)
Stephanie May 02, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I love your columns. I look forward to reading them here and in the NK View :)


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