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The Gift

Spring-cleaning may leave you feeling pretty good, but it’s the summertime version that results in real satisfaction. Remember how good it felt at the end of the school year when you returned textbooks, tossed homework and chucked those stubby pencils? It was the result of a job well done, another school year under your belt. Even now, years after my last school semester ended, I practice those same rituals, disposing past work from completed projects.

Last week my sister Jackie and I spent a morning at our parent’s Cape Cod home where we grew up. We had been waiting for summer to tackle her childhood bedroom closet and the day was at hand. Unlike me, Jackie hadn’t been blessed with the “the gift” of being organized, but she has gotten better.

That afternoon we went to my nephew’s elementary school. Jackie had volunteered to read to her son’s class. As the second-graders listened to the story, I looked around the room. It was obvious it was the end of the year as the walls usually covered with kid’s drawings and posters of maps had bare spots and the recycle bin was full.

andrews desk

When the bell rang the kids sprung into action. Schoolwork put away, lunchboxes stuffed into backpacks, and books returned to shelves. During the chaos I glimpsed inside many of the desks. Most were a mess, as you can imagine a seven-year-old’s desk to be, but there was one that stood out. It looked like it could have been mine. Papers piled neatly to one side, books to the other, with pencils gathered together.

Over the years I’ve been asked how one pursues becoming a professional organizer. Sure you can learn how to utilize containers, but the drive to being organized has to come from within.

As the students lined up by the door, my smiling nephew proudly held open the lid of his desk while I reached for my cell phone. The girl next to him, watching us, said, “Sometimes my desk is as neat as Andrew’s, but it doesn’t last. His desk is always neat.”

I winked at my nephew. He has the gift.

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