There was this little closet. Locked and ignored. Possibly for years. Each time the orphanage received an extra bag of donations not immediately needed--trucks for Christmas, craft supplies, Christmas decorations, hair bands, stuffed animals—the bag got thrown into this closet.
When Group B was assigned to cut the grass and weed the many flower beds, Mrs. W asked for an alternative project because of her weed and pollen allergies.
“Well, there is this closet,” she was told.
It was the perfect storm for Mrs. W’s organizational skills, her gusto for completion, and a miserable forgotten chaotic closet.
Without hesitation, she set to work.
I didn’t see the closet before hand, but I did see the students hauling bags and bags out of it. I saw one of our students washing a seven foot metal shelf, and other boys moving a wood cabinet. So many goods, they had to be moved to a conference room where the items took up every bench and table. I did see the dead mouse in the bottom of a laundry basket, I saw the many spiders rushing from opened boxes and bags.
Mrs. W persisted.
Throughout the afternoon, I’d visit her in the conference room and marvel at the progress she was actually making. She’d sorted the goods into garbage sacks, into give-away boxes, piled up the keepers—and then sorted the keepers into designated categories. Before my group left for the city, Mrs. W was planning a trip to the grocery-hardware store where she planned to buy storage containers.
It was dark when we returned to OSSO. I looked for Mrs. W and the first question was, “Did you finish?” Her face lit up in the way that Mrs. W’s face always lights up.
“Yes, do you want to see it? It’s a thing of beauty.”
We hustled down to the closet. She turned on the light and it indeed was a thing of organization beauty and genius. Everything in its place~ a place for everything.
But it wasn’t just about organized goods. There was more to the story as there always is.
“I spent so much time,” Mrs. W explains, “measuring, thinking out, planning , how I would stack, and as I stood in line waiting to purchase the storage bins, I started to worry about money—whether or not I’d have enough. I had only brought cash and there was only $127.”
She pauses. “The bill came to $126.90.”