The unusual order in our daily chaos

Often, as I’m walking around the house, I see something that must be taken care of, must be fixed, must be straightened immediately. 

By that, I mean the placement of the salt and pepper shakers that are always present beside our cooktop. If they’re askew, then they must be put back into their proper spot forthwith.

There can be dishes stacked in the sink, mail piled on the washing machine, clothes on the couch waiting to be folded – and all those things can remain stationary for what many folks would consider an inappropriate period of time. But if those salt and pepper shakers are out of whack, then so is my life.

Curious to see if others shared my sentiment, I turned to my Facebook friends and posed the question: “What is the one thing (or two) that must be in place in your house even if everything else is out of place?” 

It seems my theory was right. Twenty-six friends shared their thoughts, with 22 different items listed that must be in place for lives to function normally – although I must admit, I was initially taken aback. The first response was: “LOL! That’s funny. Everything in my house has to be in place.” Which was quickly followed by “Same here” and “Mine too” from additional friends. 

Soon, however, other friends bared their souls, and I didn’t feel so alone in the universe. 

It seems the most common item that people can’t stand to be out of place is … drum roll, please … their keys. This came in No. 1 with five votes. I must say that I can go along with that. Our keys are always deposited on a countertop that’s near the doorway to the garage. If they’re not, then, well, that’s worse than the salt and pepper shakers.

Coming in second with four votes were kitchen utensils. “If I’m busy cooking, that particular whisk or spoon better be where I expect it to be,” one friend penned. I’d never realized that about myself, but who better than friends to point out the truth about ourselves?

With two votes each, scissors and having the bed made came in third. Feelings run strong here as well. One friend confessed, “Scissors have to be in the drawer where I expect to find them or I go nuts. We have a dozen pairs of scissors, but I want ONE to be in this particular drawer because all the others can never be found.”

Again, I can see the logic. I, too, have a favorite pair of scissors, and if they’re not in their place inside the handmade magnetic pouch that began as a potholder, then an all-out search often ensues, even if another pair is nestled there in their stead.

The remainder of the votes came in at one each (hey, I never said this was equivalent to a Gallup Poll): flashlight, glasses, phone, purse, medications, TV remote, extra rolls of toilet paper (!), clothes, fingernail clippers, towels (both bath and dish), throw pillows, favorite coffee cup, makeup and books being read. Plus, there’s not tolerating crumbs on the counter even when those dishes are stacked in the sink (I hear ya). 

And there’s the brave friend with twin teenage boys who said this about my question of which one thing being out of place bugging her: “Nothing. Literally nothing. It’s chaos here.” 

I’ll close with the response that touched my heart the most: “My Bible … it’s the one thing that helps to keep my life in place no matter how much a mess everything else may be.” 

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