Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Organizing Myself

I found the professional organizer'Things To Do pad right where she left it, in the mesh container. I've done none of the things on the list, proving my theory that most problems, if left alone, resolve themselves over time.  It also proved the organizer's theory - she really didn't want me to put anything in that box.  She predicted that I would ignore its contents, and I did.  The box and the article from the NYTimes Book Review, and notes from a Cornell Leadership Seminar, and an accessory for electronics we no longer own hadn't moved. The chaos was created around it.  

One problem which cannot resolve itself if left alone is a messy desk. 

Patty tried to dust around it, but I quickly disabused her of the notion that anyone would notice.  It was an eyesore, an embarrassment, an area to be avoided.... which was really a shame because the library is a beautiful room with a welcoming vibe...when it's not overwhelmed by the tornado that is my life.

Yes, I accept full responsibility for the situation.  I can try to rationalize it away but the facts are the facts.  It's my mess and I had to clean it up.  Knowing it didn't make it happen.  Again, I could list the reasons, but those pesky facts keep reappearing.  I set myself a deadline.  My desk top tower was on its way back from my Brother-computer-repair-genius-in-Maryland.  I promised myself that I would not connect it if the desk were still a mess.

Delivery was scheduled via UPS for Monday.  Knowing that ours is the last street on the driver's route, I spent most of the day reminding myself that I had to do something about the stuff on the top of the desk.  The truck wouldn't arrive until after 6; I had plenty of time.

The hours passed and I made no progress.  Abashed, needing to take action, I went shopping.  I roamed the aisles of Office Max, located conveniently next to the pool supply store.  We assassinated our skimmer's head while clearing organic detritus, both flora and fauna, from the pool.  It was a two-fer, meant to be, guaranteed to make me smile.  I entered stationary heaven and blissed out.

Up and down the aisles I wandered, Stopping for way-longer-than-I-should-have at the endcap with the decorated Duck Tape.  Had it been packing tape, the Cuters would have been giggling at their mailboxes for months to come.  I bypassed the file folders (still carrying them, unopened, from Chicago) and the pads of paper (ditto) and forgot to buy legal sized envelopes because I was captivated by the pens and pencils.

True to the mission of the day, I bought wire mesh desk accessories.  I really was thinking about the problem of the day while I was browsing.  Honest.  I was.

Back at home after the library and the grocery store, I unpacked the trunk and swept into the library.  I turned on the overhead light, grabbed the top layer of crap and placed it in the middle of the leather ottoman.  Layer after layer, I balanced the envelopes and old photographs and crossword puzzles and briefcases and necklaces one atop the other. Everything that managed to stay put was considered part of the finished for today pile.

If something fell off, I made a decision: trash/recycle; to the car for distribution; to the bedroom closet. Ticket stubs and bathrobes fall into the last category.  Yes, bathrobes.  Feel free to judge.

I hooked up the computer and it couldn't find the internet so I turned it all off and left it alone and went to Pilates.  When I came home, it was happy to log on with the proper  password and user identification number... which I had at my fingertips.  I proved something else to myself: when the systems are in place, I am very organized.

So, that is my next task.  I am going to create a system.  It has something to do with emptying the top wire mesh basket before I leave the house in the morning. It has some content relating to incoming snail mail which requires attention.  It will, no doubt, result in a change in behavior.

I'm up for the challenge. I know it will be a self-reinforcing activity.  I'll find all sorts of extra time and less stress and rediscovered notes with little gems like this, from Hannibal via Risa M. Mish, who spoke at that Cornell conference in 2012:
Aut viam invenium, aut faciam
As the man said, I will either find a way, or make one.


  1. OK, imagine your office coupled with three kids and all their paperwork. At least school is out right now; so I'm able to stay on top of the paperwork. When school is in session, it's a nightmare. I have wall bins for each child and try my best to sort everything out, but it still gets out of hand.

    I love stationery stores. I've always loved office supplies--even as a kid. I was giddy with new school supplies every year.

    One thing that has helped me out immensely is switching over all of our bills to e-bills. It really has cut down on the paper coming in. I also don't buy magazines anymore and by them on Zinio. Much less clutter.

    Hopefully, it's not too much now.

    Sending hugs,

    Megan xxx

    1. My dad loved hardware stores. I loved stationary stores. I could spend my day there. To my immense sorrow, there isn't a specialty office supply store here in Tucson... nothing with all the wonders that Ideal Stationers in Marin had.

  2. Have you ever read A Perfect Mess by Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman? It helped me figure out my desk was always cluttered... and why (within reason) that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    1. I am buying it right now.... if YOUR desk is cluttered and you are still able to be so wonderful maybe it's not such a bad thing at all.
      ps. I miss BlogHer Book Club....


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