Intro to Organizing -101
I have a sign that says “Dreams…do come true” casually propped up on a bookshelf in my library/office/dining room/really, really messy, messy room. Over the doorway of the same room is a quilted homespun sign with this message: “A clean house is the sign of a life misspent.” Suffice to say that I have not misspent my life, at least in the clean house category.
My decades old dream is to become organized. And the fact that I may live for another 40 years, it is a worth pursuing. (Mind you I will be really close to 100 years of age, but they are predicting that we will live longer these days.) I also would like to have a clean house, and finally take down the quilted sign which is brown with age, and curling at one corner in a most unattractive manner.
Let me introduce you to my office, which is one of the rooms in my house that needs to be organized (this is the understatement of all understatements.) It is where I write and meet deadlines for the weekly newspaper I work for, as well as articles for magazines and a variety of other venues (who am I kidding here, I write for whoever will pay me). I am also supposed to be the office manager for my husband’s contracting/kitchen remodelling business. I am not a really good office manager. I really dislike paperwork, which may sound odd for someone who writes, but paperwork and writing are diametrically opposed. I do some minor bookkeeping, which I do not altogether understand, but our accountant walks me through it. He speaks to me in short sentences and words I mostly understand. I have a decent education, but all the courses I took in Shakespeare do not help me with rudimentary math.
The whole song and dance about bookwork explains why this room is so messy, as my filing system is remarkable (I know this as my husband John remarks on it all the time). In a nutshell, I am afraid to file things away. I am an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of girl. I am an “outie” not an “innie” when it comes to filing, and I am not referring to any parts of my anatomy. There have been studies done that prove that some people can file things away and actually find them again, and others need everything out in a jumble, to sift through every month in order to keep their books, and every year to do their income tax returns. (I will tell you the Christmas cake story later to prove my point that I should not put things “away”).
My office consists of two longs desks (which are really flat doors that my husband framed) set on a number of filing cabinets. There is a lot of stuff in the filing cabinets, some of it well over twenty years old that I have been meaning to throw out or re-file. The desks form a kind of L-shape against two walls. Right now one desk shares my writing work files with John’s business files and financial files, plus piles of newspapers I still have to clip my column out of. ( I write a weekly column, which you can partake of in this blog–called coincidentally– On The Homefront and Beyond.)
The other desk has a phone, a printer/copier, a dictionary the size of a small house, and more files and papers destined at some stage to be put away, plus a myriad of bills, and important papers that I must look at–someday for some reason.
In the middle of the room is our dining room table with my laptop, surrounded by (you guessed it) more papers and receipts, and right now Christmas cards and last night’s copy of the Agenda for the municipal Council meeting I attended and have to write up. My day book is laying there forlorn, almost forgotten, and a calculator sits at the ready for me to finish this month’s bookwork (as well as the last 12 months). There is a lace tablecloth on the table to remind me that this is a multi-tasking room and not just an office. There are occasions (though few and far between) when I actually clean off the table, and we eat glorious and festive meals gathered around it. I believe Thanksgiving was the last time in recent memory.
As this blog entry is getting a bit long, I will continue later, but I think you are getting the point–the success of the rest of my life really does depend on me getting organized. I have a number of books I will be calling on to point me down the right path, and will tell you more tomorrow (or the next day, remember I am just getting organized, I am nowhere close to reaching my goal yet.) Oh, in case you were wondering, that is a minus sign in front of organizing–this is not like Economics 101 or Psych 101–it is me learning how to be organized, not teaching. I am just taking you along on the journey.
Hope you stick with me–