Just as I'm getting used to the idea that December is here, the January issue of Family Circle showed up in my mailbox. (Yes, I know, it's hardly the New Yorker, but can you say "middle school magazine drive"? and the cookie recipes are great….) Between the January hiatus and now lie a myriad of projects: grading, new kitchen cabinets, one more column to write (Christmas). I should have tucked it away for a cold grey afternoon break with a cup of tea.
Alas, I'm a sucker for anything that promises to help me tame the chaos in my house. And right there on the cover, hovering over the cinnamon buns in a cast iron pan is the line: NO MORE CLUTTER.
"Shelves crammed end to end with books usually look cluttered." I'm excited, maybe they will have some advice for the aspiring-to-well-ordered academic household. We have bookshelves, plural, in the dining room. And every other room in the house (ok, except the bathrooms -- too steamy!). And they are all crammed end to end with books. Personally, I've never counted books on actual shelves (as opposed to on desks, floors and chairs) as clutter, but I'm willing to learn!
I eagerly turn the page to find this suggestion: "Group books by color or size so that they work well together visually." Somehow I suspect this person and I don't quite have the same idea about the function of books in a household. On second thought, reorganizing my shelves upstairs (Psalms has just outgrown it's original spot and had to get pushy to find a shelf to occupy) I discovered that it might not be such a bad idea. My desert fathers tomes are all appropriately desert toned, and my Rahner collection tends to shades of blue and white….maybe it could work.
What do I really need? Even more than a full time housekeeper and cook or house elf? A house librarian.
Photo is of the books I took with me - and artfully arranged, with flowers! - in the hotel on my last trip to Southern University to talk about contemplative practices.