I'm pretty decent at housekeeping - beds get made, dishes washed, counters wiped, tables and TVs dusted, floors vacuumed. But I'm constantly battling clutter. Living with small children means living with clutter, but my husband is a clutter bug by nature. He leaves shoes lying and clothing lying around; piles of papers everywhere; bags propped on radiators for weeks; things stuffed nonsensically into shelves and vases and bowls. He must have three bowls of loose change spread throughout the house. That just seems to me like an excessive number of loose change receptacles.
I like things in their place. Coats hung up on the coat rack; shoes in the shoe cubby or the closet; clothing in the hamper; papers filed; bags stowed away in closets; junk mail shredded and bills filed; DVDs in cases. We are so opposite in this way it is almost comical. Surprisingly, this is not a huge source of consternation in our marriage. We accept that we are different in this way.
I supposed it could pretty easily drive me crazy that my husband leaves his bathrobe on the radiator of the kitchen instead of hanging it on the back of our bedroom door upstairs, or that he leaves his work shirts draped over the arm of the living room couch instead of putting them in the hamper. The same way it could drive him crazy that his shoes are never where he leaves them and I'm constantly putting his stuff away in the wrong places and what the heck did I do with his keys (hung them on the key hook, you're welcome.)
But, as I said, we both accept that this is a way in which we are different. Neither of us is going to change. He likes stuff lying about, easy to locate with a glance; and I like things organized and put away. If I were to say to him, "Nelson, I really wish you'd hang your coat up on the coat rack," he'd say, "Yes, you're right, I know I should do that." This statement, however does not mean is is going to hang is coat on the coat rack. It just means he acknowledges that understands that coat racks are the right place for unworn coats.
I realize that it may sound like in reality I am annoyed by Nelson's errant shoes and coats and bathrobes, and okay, when I trip on the shoes that does annoy me, but really I feel like this silly stuff is just part of the collage of our marriage. They are the background noise of our life together. You know, those little bits and pieces of life together that add up to your relationship. There is a rhythm to it that I find immensely pleasing and I have to say that this feeling, while welcome, is somewhat unexpected.