I Better Live a Long Time

I must possess at least 6-7 books about how to be organized.  If I ever purge, sort and organize my books into  categories, I’ll know for sure and be able to list the titles and authors.  Hasn’t happened yet.

I worked on my office this afternoon.  I emptied two big baskets (left from another attempt to organize) full of books and magazines and paper.  Don’t use baskets.  As my organizer-friend, Beth, pointed out one time, out of sight is out of mind.  But it’s still there.

I sorted and purged and filed.  I re-shelved books.  And I didn’t move from those baskets to sorting and purging my books.  I controlled my low-grade ADD.

In one of the baskets, I found this book:  Organizing From the Inside Out: The Foolproff System for Organizing Your Home, Your Office, and Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.  She had me at the title.  I flipped through it.  Page corners are turned down.  That means I was reading without a pen to underline with, probably in bed.  A bookmark stuck out of the middle–I guess I never finished studying it.

Believe me when I tell you, I already KNOW this stuff.  All the books come down to the same thing:

Get rid of the majority of my shit.

Find a place for things I love.

Don’t buy anything new unless I give something away.

Put my shit away in its designated place (labeled?) every day.

I get it.

And I also get that it feels good to see my cleaned out corner off to my right and all the paper in my recycling trashcan.  I stacked paper that was only printed on one side on top of my (broken) printer  to use for printing rough drafts.

The problem is what’s left.  I start an organizing project well.  I control my need to do the whole room straight through until it’s done.  I don’t have the desire or the stamina to work that hard anymore. anyway.

Today fear kicked me into gear.  Did those baskets hold something important that I should have taken care of weeks ago?  The paper breathed on me every time i sat down at my desk.  I couldn’t write.  I couldn’t work on a project for church.

Now, my desk is clear.  For me anyway.  The (very) few papers that need attention are in a nice wooden inbox behind my laptop.  So I know they are there, but they’re not breathing so loud anymore.  And I am writing.

I feel good.

The retired man I live with came upstairs,  looked around the room, and said “Doesn’t look any better to me.”

Did I ask?

I think I’ll have a Hershey’s kiss and go down to the basement where piles of laundry wait patiently.  You know, if got rid of some of my clothes, I wouldn’t be able to ignore laundry for so long because I would run out of clothes.  Instead I wear all the stuff I don’t love and then have to wash them before I can get rid of them.

I’ll never be finished.  I’m afraid that when I die my poor daughters will be left to deal with my clutter.  Because I’m damn sure not putting this house on the market and moving.

In July, 2010, I wrote a blog post titled “I’m Workin’ On It”  about my friend’s idea to make buttons for all of us to flash when questioned by others about progress on tasks.  In bright letters big enough to see easily my button would say “I’m workin’ on it.”

So, dear daughters–

I’m workin’ on it. Pray I live a long time.

Published in: on March 21, 2013 at 6:27 pm  Comments (11)  
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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi there…I am workin’ on it ,too. I just moved my office and den and still have piles but I live with piles. Some piles are big, some are small, some are important and some are not but at the moment they are all my piles!!! Will be forever organizing….

    • Misery loves company! There’s always tomorrow, right?

  2. Must be something in the air…. Last week, I finally went through my remaining books–I was down to a mere 500 from a room full after years and moves–I made one donation bookstore quite happy. However, I do have 150 left. Some I will never part with but others as I read them, they, too, will be donated but then that’s what I said when this project started so many years back I can’t remember. So, I’m workin’ on it, still. Great post, Robin!


    • Thanks, Karen. It would probably help if I stopped buying books for a while and read the pile on the office floor.

  3. “I’m workin’ on it” or “I’m working the problem” is universal when the Indian had had enough from the Chief – Great work Rob!

  4. Thanks, FJ. I figured if I went public, it might motivate me to keep at it. We will see.

  5. I read your summary of what organizing books have to say to my husband – ” Get rid of etc,” and we both chuckled having, too, been down this road. It is sobering, though, when we think of our kids having to do something with all our stuff if we die before it’s organized. Sigh. Yes, pray I live long, but in the meantime I had also better start organizing. Thanks for the motivating reminder!

  6. LOL I feel your pain!! As soon as you throw something away you will want it. And my problem is that I put things in a file drawer and then can’t remember is I filed tax stuff under T for Tax, I for IRS or L for legal.

    • All we can do is keep trying, right? You just moved–you must have really purged!

  7. I read and reviewed a cool book called Minimalism for Grandparents and got all inspired to declutter. Hubby and I cleaned out our walk-in closet and gave away four trash bags of clothes. Then we stopped.

    • I love it! Maybe that was enough.

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