The final frontier. Exploring the stuff that men hold dear.

Well, my  man anyway.

Joe, sadly, is not an organized person.  He is a messy person.  As long as he keeps his messes from taking over the house I can deal with it.  He has tried to take over the house.  Leaving bits and pieces of his “Stuff” in every room we have.

Joe has a tendency to just drop whatever he has in his hands in any convenient place he finds.  He, like most men, only looks at the top of his piles and determines he does not have the tool or the hardware to fix what he sets out to fix.  Drives me crazy, I tell you.  I know he has little packets of screws and other hardware.  I’ve seen them.  They are buried under all the CRAP!  Yet he goes to the store to purchase more!

I’ve relegated his sprawling to the hallway.

The much dreaded hallway

His stuff lies in wait to attack the unsuspecting passerby.

Piles of stuff

I’ve had old coffee cans jump out at me and toss the contents on my feet as I walk past to the laundry room.  I don’t have nice things to say about Joe and his stuff in those moments.

Teetering coffee cans

Joe is a collector of things.  He found some old Weiss scissors at a store in Wichita, Kansas that he just HAD to have.  They sit on the shelf, underneath an odd assortment of other things.

Collection of stuff

I tried to organize his stuff several winters ago but gave up on it.  Springs?  Really?  A box full of springs?!


I took pictures of the stuff that was contained in each of his storage vessels.  That way he would know what is inside them.  Didn’t work.  He’s lamented many times to me that he needs wire.  He can’t find his spools of wire.  I’ve pointed out the box to him, shown him the photo on the box, and he stills says he doesn’t have any wire for the project he is working on.  So he goes to the store to buy more wire.  Funny thing is…..the wire looks the same to me.  Same gauge, same color, same everything.  It has to be a guy thing.

Box marked wire

In his sorting work of today he has added more wire to the box.

Box opened to show the wire

Getting that shelf unit emptied and moved out of the way left me with a surprise I was not very thrilled with.  The wall has dust marks and dirt leaving an impression of the shelf and its contents.

Wall marked by the shelf with dust and dirt

I got the wall vacuumed and washed off.  I took a few moments to enjoy the sight of the floor space.  Then we got back to work.

This is Joe.  See his big smile.  He is stoked and really enjoying the process of getting his stuff organized.  He’s finding things he didn’t know he had.  This is a treasure hunt for him.

Joe at the beginning of organizing

This is Joe midway through the organizing.  The huge smile is gone.  He is making noises to the effect that this was a whole lot harder than he had imagined.

Not so happy Joe

He still has quite a lot to sort through and find a place for these things to live.

Stuff to be sorted still

I’ll give the man his kudos.  He slogged through the stuff of his.  He deserves a break.  He found a bubble blowing child’s toy and he was trying to shoot bubbles at me.  The thing doesn’t work any longer.  Boo!

Joe taking a break

Everything is cleaned, sorted, stacked, and neatly organized.  I’m really happy.

Hallway cleaned

Nothing to jump out and attack me when I leave my craft room.  Yippee Skippy!

Attacking cans and stuff are gone

Nothing to grab hold of me on my way to the laundry room.  Joe knows where his stuff is.  He also now knows how much he doesn’t have to purchase to complete a project he has been thinking about taking on.  YES!  SUCCESS!

Organized hallway

Cleaning my house has been a massive chore.  It started on December 6th and continued through to December 23rd.  When our neighbors came for Christmas dinner Joe had a bounce in his step as he took them, PROUDLY, from room to room to show all the work we did.  He spent extra time in the hallway extolling the virtues of organization.  How a simple thing can turn a man’s world to spinning the right way instead of out of control.


  1. Working along side an unorganized person can be a challenge.  This can be applied to children as well when they have to clean their rooms.
  2. Let the person go through the process of deciding what to keep and what to toss.  The things you might think are trash worthy are not trash to the other person.  Just keep your thoughts to yourself.
  3. Working with someone else to clean up their mess does require a lot of praise, atta boy’s (or atta girl’s), and you will need to let them know that the progress made is AMAZING.  You may have to say that about a gazillion times.
  4. When the person hits that wall, and this is no longer fun, you will need to amp up the praise and the “Look how much you have accomplished so far”.
  5. If you mutter, or say, anything negative about the person dragging things out for too long you will lose them and you will have a massive mess to take care of.  Just grit your teeth, put on a big smile, and run through your brain all the adjectives that can be used to say “Amazing!”.
  6. If you are desperate, really desperate, you can bust out the “Supercalifragilisticexpealladocias” (or however it is spelled since my spell checker thinks I’ve lost my mind).
  7. Now is not the time to tell this person that you know how hard this work is and that they need to get a grip.  (I had to leave the area a number of times to control myself)
  8. When the job is finished you will be so very proud of the other person, as well as yourself.
  9. Lastly, make sure to wrap your arms around that person (child, spouse, friend, whomever) and give them a big hug.  Tell them one final time how much you appreciate all their hard work.

About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

10 responses to “The final frontier. Exploring the stuff that men hold dear.

  • gardenpinks

    Oh I do know all about men and their stuff Leslie! I also know about the tools and other things left here, there and everywhere and the “I can’t find ??? do you know where it is” Drives me insane as we spend more time looking for A,B or C than doing any job. Funniest thing was last summer I spent an age hunting for the garden spade, wondering where on earth it had been hidden this time. This hunting carried on for some considerable time spread over weeks, I did have a smaller spade to use. Then one day towards the end of summer I discovered the spade in the tunnel greenhouse hidden under something only it didn’t have a handle – I had completely forgotten that the handle snapped the summer before last and there was a new handle waiting to be fitted 😀 And no it still doesn’t have its new handle!!!!!!!!!!!!
    So mission accomplished and yo have a lovely sparkling clean and organised home – well done. Hope you both have a happy New Year with good health, wealth and happiness. No trucks playing you up or causing you grief and plenty of time to craft en route.
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      Oh crapazoid! Finding the lost spade when it is no longer needed, then to find the handle was broken beyond repair.

      Joe has two questions that are on a loop. First is “What’s for supper?”. Second is “I can’t find my ______ (fill in the blank). Do you know where it is?” These two questions are repeated often enough that he just has to utter the first two words and I know what is coming next.

      I am so very glad this ordeal is over….until next winter when I get to do it all over again. Mission accomplished indeed! Come spring you will get the handle on that spade and be making up for the lost time while it rested in its hiding place 😀

      Love you – Leslie

  • gardenpinks

    PS Rod said only men who don’t properly use their tools have them well organised 🙂
    Lynn xx

  • Jann Gray

    Yeah YOU and YEAH JOE! That is FANTABULOUS! Such a great sense of accomplishment! I have a project that needs some serious attention and all of your posts have helped inspire me to get with it – and GET IT DONE!

    Happy New Year!

    Love you!

    • Message In A Fold

      Jann, that project of yours will get smacked down and put into shape. Give yourself permission to work in small amounts of time and in small areas. You will be rewarded immensely 😀 I promise! Thank you for letting me know that you have been inspired by my messy house 😉

      May you and Royce enjoy perfect health in 2013; you both will fall in love with each other all over again; hopes and aspirations for your business or personal life will bloom this year and grow as the year lengthens. In short, I wish you health, happiness, and love.

      Love you – Leslie

  • JasmineKyleSings

    It is SUCH a challenge to work with someone who is not organized! How quickly husbands can become ENEMY NUMBER ONE!!! LOL I just organize it and get the HONEY!!!! WHERE IS THE ROOM!!!! 6 years he still can’t figure out where the broom is!!! OY

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