Thursday, May 27, 2010
I'm not sure if you can see this or not, but I actually titled, or labeled, this photo Piles To Go Before I Sleep. It seems appropriate, given that this was but one of the piles in my house that's inspired me to clean.
Actually, writing about what inspires me this month really got the organizational juices flowing. I've been thinking about doing this since I completed my travel guide a year ago. It was then when I began piling things up and having no time to put them away. Eventually, the piles took over, and I tried really hard to ignore them. But I found myself just moving to other rooms to get away from them. And guess what? The piles followed me.
They became so hard to miss that I finally had to do something about them.
So I rearranged them.
I don't use that term lightly. I know my bad habit well. My guess is they'll return soon enough--in a different shape and form, with different colors (based on whatever material gets piled wherever the new piles show up). But for now, I've taken them off the furniture, off the floor, off my kitchen table, off the coffee table, off the...Yeah, you get it.
They really have been everywhere--and they were cluttering my thoughts. Not stopping me from writing, mind you, but cluttering the space in my brain that needs room to think about other projects. With piles on the brain, I haven't been working as efficiently as I know I can.
So off they went--into some nifty banker's boxes I found that were still empty, several large plastic bins I've had waiting specifically for this use, and other storage containers.
I've tried to spin my bad habit as being a collector of ephemera. But most people can see right through that.
"Oh, you keep trash?" they might say.
I ignore such insults to my magazines, books, brochures, business cards, fliers, and other wonderful things made of paper. I am a collector, I tell you.
What I'm not is an organizer. If I were, these piles would have a place to go, and I'd know exactly when and where to put them there.
When I daydream about the space, it looks like an entire wall of cubbyholes. Not shoebox-size but the sizes of manuscript boxes, maybe a little wider and deeper. Just enough space to toss in different projects I might be working on, including all the research that goes with them. There are hundreds of these cubby holes on my dream wall--most of them filled, others empty, waiting for new projects.
And all are labeled and alphabetized.
But this is a daydream, and my cubbyhole wall does not exist. In fact, I couldn't afford it. Instead, I have bins and cardboard boxes and baskets and such. And they're now stacked inside my office closet, along a wall, and on top of the shelving unit I do have. The piles have been put away, and I feel good about that.
When I consider how this relates to my BIKE philosophy, I would say it's definitely about being your Best self. It's about taking care of your mental health, feeling good about your surroundings, and realizing that you can do more with less.
I really hope the last part is true, because I just dumped out two large stacks of newspaper clippings. Clippings I'd been saving for good reasons. Good reasons I can no longer remember.
If you have a clutter-clearing experience you'd like to share, jot it down in the comment box.