2 Crazy Places I’ve Found Condoms (Confessions Of An Organizer)

Sex, Self

Your professional organizer knows your dirty little secret hiding spots.

I encounter some pretty odd items when organizing someone's environment.

It's amazing how much stuff people keep and where they often keep it. Typically, when I am de-cluttering a space I see all kinds of interesting things that a person has acquired and, for some reason, held onto.

Much of these things they don’t even know they have, which is why when I find common items that show up in random places, I just have to chuckle—to myself, of course.

One of my specialties is setting up filing systems. This involves going through the papers that are either in the file cabinet, or those all over a desk and the floor that a client planned to put in a file cabinet but hadn't quite made it there yet.

In working with a client who had this exact situation—papers stacked about two feet high on over half the surface area of the desk—I unearthed the usual unrelated objects, such as wrappers from lunch weeks ago, bottle caps, assorted pens and highlighters, money, etc.

The filing cabinet contained some file folders filled with disorganized papers and in the bottom drawer, a variety of non-paper related items.

Upon pulling all the existing file folders out of the file cabinet in order to re-design an efficient system, I discovered a condom packet inside one of the files and another on the bottom of the filing cabinet drawer.

Okay, so office sex in the Graduate Department was alive and kicking, but really, if he had any hope of finding male birth control when he needed it, he'd be hard-pressed to locate it. It wasn't like they were in a file labeled "sex" or anything. 

Perhaps I should have brought them to his attention and asked if we should file them under "entertainment," "extracurricular" or simply "sex?"

Since he had no actual desk drawer, he really didn't have anywhere else to store condoms, at least not in his desk area. And I certainly wasn't going to suggest he put them in his wallet. 

What to do? This guy was a quiet, kind of shy person, so I decided not to potentially embarrass him, and left them in the bottom of the file drawer. I figured that by the time I put newly labeled and organized files back in position there, he wouldn't notice. 

In a couple of years when he moves out of this office, he will find the condoms and maybe won't know I had seen them too.

Not two weeks later, I organized the home/office of another man who had moved into a space and hadn't had the time or ability to get it organized; he had me get him jump-started to purging and organizing the entire space.

Part of the need here was in the kitchen area, which would double as a work area on one side. I was going through the drawers and cabinets and putting items together, categorically taking into account how one uses or needs the items. 

This is the best way to organize a kitchen actually. Keep like items together so it's easy to remember where things are: Things that measure, things that cut, things that serve, etc. 

Imagine my surprise when opening the drawer containing plastic baggies and aluminum foil when I found a bag filled with condoms. Okay, I have to give the guy credit—he categorized them with "Things that wrap or contain."

In this particular case, the client was right there as I was going through the drawer, and he either forgot where he had stored these, or didn't realize I would be uncovering them, so the moment I found them he started to chuckle and simply said, "Oops."

I replied, "No worries, not the first time I have found those, and it won't be the last. I'm like a doctor, I get to know everything about a person in this line of work."

Fortunately, he was cool with it and my making light of it, and making him laugh dissipated the issue so we continued on our path of de-cluttering and organizing.

But I had to think, seriously, dude?  The back of the "plastic wrap" drawer?

Not in the night-table drawer which is actually near the bed? Then again, perhaps he likes using the kitchen counters or table instead. I didn't bother to advise him on where to put his "baggie."

He decided to figure that one out on his own and promptly placed them in, yes, you guessed it, his night-table.

Perhaps this has inspired you to do some de-cluttering or purging of your home or work areas on your own.

While bringing in a professional is faster, more effective and generally more efficient, be prepared for what he or she will uncover in your world, but, don't be embarrassed.

We have all seen it before; it comes with the territory, and as a professional, our work is confidential and done with respect and patience. After all, everything needs to have its own place, and that goes for condoms too!

Since I have been able to organize via Skype for those too far away or on a tighter budget, a benefit is that a client can get to something before I may see it, if they can turn the camera away in time. 

Many people like to do their own purging, and simply want guidance and advice on how and what to clear and put away. 

The use of technology is the perfect solution for those individuals, plus it is very green! No fuel used, no wasted time or resources traveling to one another. 

It works for this as well as for the coaching I do for organizing and time management.

If you're motivated to get some organizing done, here is a quick, doable strategy you can start tomorrow or even today!

  1. Schedule a time each day in your calendar to de-clutter: Even just 15 to 30 minutes a day consistently will make a huge difference.
  2. Set a timer when you begin so that you stay within the allotted time: When the timer goes off, stop! Chances are, the area is more time consuming than initially expected, and you won't be able to clear it in a reasonable amount of time that day anyway. If you stick to the schedule you have set ahead of time, you will have more success.
  3. Don't give yourself the pressure of saying you won't stop until a specific area is clear: Most often, since it will take way more time than available and you need to leave it undone, this creates failure associated with the task and you may not come back to it the next time. Commit to finishing the time goal, not the project goal, and you will see real progress!

Now, I didn't tell you about the drawer I opened in a home office storage dresser only to discover a forgotten collection of vibrators and sex toys. Hmmmm, guess those go inthe same place as the condoms?!


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