My favorite way to tackle housekeeping or organizing tasks is to
start a DVD, get about 15 minutes into it, then pause it and work
like crazy on my chore for half an hour. I grab a caffeinated
beverage, press play and repeat until the project and the movie are
finished. Some projects are double features.
Certain movies are better for organizing than others. I like
something light-hearted and a bit fairy tale-ish (think Cinderella)
with a killer soundtrack. The following are some of my favorites
that make a chunk of chores a whole lot more fun.
“Party Girl”: Parker Posey in one of her career defining roles
as an eccentric life-of-the-party type whose dismal finances force
her to get it together. We’re given a hint that she’s got what it
takes because her wardrobe, though wacky, is, nevertheless, highly
organized. By the end of the movie she categorizes her DJ friend’s
record albums using the Dewey Decimal system and becomes the
world’s coolest librarian.
“Something’s Gotta Give”: Diane Keaton inspires as Erica Barry,
a successful playwright with amazing discipline and a house in the
Hamptons that is full of light and free of clutter. The only things
she collects are smooth white pebbles. This totally controlled
woman learns to let loose, but she still — and this is key —
finishes her play, makes another boatload of money, and spends her
birthday in Paris.
“Working Girl”: Brooklyn babe Melanie Griffith organizes her
personal and work style by patterning herself somewhat after her
boss, the elegant Sigourney Weaver. You can’t picture Weaver laying
on the couch eating Doritos, can you? The scene in which Griffith
is practicing her diction while exercising on a stationary bike is
pure organizing inspiration. She fits in to the couture dress and
impresses the client. Sometimes multi-tasking does make sense.
“Inside Man”: How to organize the perfect heist. There are lots
of these types of movies (such as “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Twelve” and
“Thirteen”), but this Spike Lee Joint is my favorite. Clive Owen
and Denzel Washington play the leads. Yum and yum!
“Under the Tuscan Sun”: How Diane Lane (playing author Frances
Mayes) takes an abandoned Tuscan villa and creates a Tuscan
fantasy: all melted Crayola colors (Mayes’ image), food, wine, a
quirky but loveable community and olive trees for miles. It’s not a
great film by any stretch, but when my husband and I were
remodeling, I watched it over and over to help me keep my eyes on
“Overboard”: There is a sweet scene in which Kurt Russell’s
character designs shoe storage for rich girl Goldie Hawn’s yacht
closets, but what I love most about this movie is how later in the
story Hawn’s character reorganizes her new hillbilly family and
whips a dilapidated bachelor pad into shape.
“Private Benjamin”: Another classic Hawn flick, and like
“Overboard,” a reverse-Cinderella story. This time she is spoiled
Jewish princess Judy Benjamin who learns discipline and some
amazing skills in the Army. My favorite scene: when Judy polishes
the troop’s bathroom with her electric toothbrush.
“The Guitar”: Saffron Burrows lets everything go and starts from
scratch in this unusual film by Amy Redford, Robert’s daughter. A
story of loss and gain on lots of levels, I really enjoyed the
reminder that sometimes letting go in a big way brings in something
new that you couldn’t have imagined. It’s a fairy tale, but no
prince rescues Saffron’s character — it’s her focus and practice
that give her the life of her dreams.