Posts Tagged With: sorting

 
 

Curing my Paper Addiction

Friday Letter to my Kids ~ 2/13/15 ~

Dear J, J, L and L,

photo 1-6 copy 11My favorite three-year old gifted me these origami cranes a while ago. No, she’s not an origami master, but her mother’s pretty handy in all things crafty. They’ve got a few of these hanging around at their house. Using paper that’s been previously written on adds value to the pieces. I can make out a few words but would have to completely dismantle the crane to read what it actually says. That’s kind of where origami began, as a way of sending a message where the reader would know if it had been read because the folding sequence would be out of whack.

I love paper. Notebooks, book books, notecards, drawings, sticky notes, envelopes. (Not so much a fan of mail though, bills, advertisements, newspapers.) You probably knew that.

I’ve always liked the idea of handcrafted papers, I love their textures and the uniqueness of each page. It’s as if the blank paper is already art and whatever you write on them enhances or is enhanced by the medium it’s written on.

Did you know paper once was a very rare commodity? I learned that recently. Kind of made me want to hoard a few notebooks.

Oh, wait. I already have a paper stash. Actually more like a used paper warehouse. But you know that. You lived with it all your growing up years. And it’s not really a stash, it’s more of a paper monster.

Not sure if this is the paper monster or me afraid of the thing.

Not sure if this is the paper monster or me afraid of the thing.

I’m slowly getting it tamed. Pulling such a beast into a submissive state takes willpower and courage and a few other gifts I’m rather sketchy on.

Several weeks ago I finally cleared my desk. By clearing I mean that I took everything off the desk and made a ginormous pile behind me to sort through. I’m hoping most of it ends up in the recycle bin. A few too many papers have migrated back to the desk already, in no particular order. And a smaller “to be sorted” pile emerged from the first gigantic “to be sorted” pile.

Your dad says he can see progress. He’s so kind to me. I’m not so sure there’s any improvement.

Also, in the garage, I plan condense a shelf of ten boxes of random papers into one or two file boxes of organized documents, and then fill the recycle bin to the top two or three times. I think I have twenty years worth of Christmas cards among those boxes. Pretty certain I don’t need them all.

Do you ever wonder if a hundred years from now paper documents will appear on Antique Roadshow as something stunningly rare and worth zillions. If future archeologists uncover my garage or my office they’d feel like they found the mother lode of paper.

Here’s the thing, which probably sounds like justification or excuses to you, but it’s the truth. Bunches of those papers have this magical power over me because they’re from one of you. I could probably part just fine with the school papers and class assignments. But the notes you’ve written to me or your dad, the pictures you drew, those snippets of “who you were” need organizing and special care. Does that sound dumb? I’m sure it sounds so stupid.

Simply letting all those papers go into the recycle bin somehow feels as if I’m letting parts of you slip through my fingers. Nonsense, yes, I know that.

If I could approach the task as a museum curator perhaps I could finally succeed in whittling away the amount of papers I have squirreled away.

cu·rate
ˌkyo͝oˈrāt  verb
  • select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition)
  • select the performers or performances that will feature in (an arts event or program).
  • select, organize, and present (content, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge

Perhaps, with that sort of thinking I could manage the task of taming the paper monster. Maybe my kid museum could be one binder per child. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

I’d classify my interaction with paper as a love/hate relationship. As I attempt to tame the monstrous paper fiend that hides in the garage (and the smaller but equally tenacious paper boogie man in my office) I hope to find some balance and health in the process.

Photo By Ron whisky (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

My paper monster could someday look just like this, ya think? Photo By Ron whisky (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I could whip that paper monster into shape until it’s a warm, fuzzy, unthreatening thing in my life.
It could happen.
I think I’ll hang the cranes over my desk as a message and a symbolic reminder that I’m a curator and not a hoarder. Wish me luck!
Hugs and Love to you each,
Mom

 ~~~*~~~

 

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Categories: Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stuff in the Closet Sees the Light of Day

My to-do list resembles my junk drawer. Do you have a junk drawer? Mine seems related to Mary Poppins’ purse, bottomless and full of fascinating things.

Mary's magical bag of tricks.

Mary’s magical bag of tricks.

For instance, I received, quite by accident and through no fault of my own, a duplicate package of a birthday gift I had ordered back in December. It’s now May and I have not yet repackaged and mailed back the duplicate. It’s reached embarrassment stage. In fact it’s gone beyond embarrassment to silliness.

And two dresses I ordered online also need returning to two separate vendors but still sit gathering dust, getting buried under more recent things I’ll get to later. My bank account will even get credited when those go back, but even a cash bonus doesn’t seem provide enough incentive for some tasks.

What I need is a good dose of inspiration and follow-through. I wonder if I can order that through Amazon prime? No shipping charges that way.

I did get my bedroom closet cleaned up and organized after only four years of procrastination. That was accidental though. A couple of weeks ago I was leaving for the day and left a note for MSH…

photo-22 copy 4I really didn’t think he’d choose the closet option. He’d always rather get dinner and go to a movie than almost anything else. But when I arrived home six hours later he had emptied out the entire contents of our closet, every box, every single item, into the bedroom and on the bed. We would not be getting any decent sleep until we dealt with the deranged mess.

Halfway through the process I reminded him I’d only been joking about cleaning out the closet, then I suggested we stop and finish on Monday morning first thing. But he persisted, thank goodness. We went to bed by eleven that night with an orderly, clean closet, clothes sorted by color and type on my side and his by whatever method he functions by.

In all honesty seven or eight of those boxes from the closet ended up in the spare bedroom. Papers. Boxes of papers and stuff. Like giant junk drawers with papers added. Ninety percent of each box will end up in the recycle bin. But ten percent will be something priceless, a photo, a critical document, memorabilia.

So I’m going to deal with those by setting a timer for thirty minutes each day. I only have to deal with the contents of those boxes for thirty minutes. Not a box a day, not a box per week. Just thirty minutes every day. In a week or two the boxes would be all sorted and organized and that room could be useful again. I could do that, couldn’t I?

Sometimes I think we just play box roulette. A box starts out in the garage, gets moved inside to find something, ends up in a closet, moves from closet to bedroom, from bedroom to another bedroom, and then in a fit of panic ends up in the garage again. Sigh.

Silliness.

postage

The post office in only two miles away…

But, not the funny, haha, this’ll make you laugh kind of silliness. Nope, not that.

Honestly, if I can write a decent blog post for the day I feel pretty dang good about my accomplishments. If I cook dinner, I feel even better. Dishes done afterwards? I’m a rock star!

Maybe my bar’s set to low. Maybe not, maybe right now I’m reaching as far as I can. And dagnabit! That’s good enough. Some days, heck, some weeks and months, are like that, and I’m learning to roll with it.

Will today be the day the packages finally go to the post office?

It could happen.

To be honest, more than likely it’ll be tomorrow.

 

 

Categories: Humor, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Garage Nirvana

I did it.

Yup, finally and unequivocally I succeeded. It’s been a dream of mine for years now. And it happened.

I know to many of you it will seem silly and inconsequential. To me it is the first major accomplishment in a long list of successes to follow. At least I hope so.

What, pray tell, is this amazing feat I’ve managed?

20130828-114858.jpg

Look, it fits!! Hurrah!

My truck now fits inside the garage.

Ta da!!

I’m sorry if you feel let down. Maybe I can explain why this is so amazing to me and why I’m so happy about it. Then, you too, can celebrate and feel the wonder and peace that I now feel.

I have always been a person who thrives on order and predictability. As a kid I couldn’t fall asleep at night if my room were messy. Some nights I’d turn on the light and sort, organize, dust, sweep and mop for several hours before I could finally and blissfully fall into a well-ordered sleep.

To a child the world screams chaos and lack of control. Everyone else holds the puppet strings of your life, everything else dictates your every waking moment. Planning ahead yields little results when you’re young. Keeping my bedroom orderly and neat gave me one aspect of life that I could control.

I suppose I could have inflicted my own chaos into my bedroom, like so many children do, as a way of saying “this is my space, my life, don’t mess with this.” I see messy children’s bedrooms as just such a ploy to have some control in their lives. Chaotic control. Odd, but effective. Most parents are powerless to keep their children’s rooms clean.

I was the opposite. I cleaned, shined, tucked, folded and sorted. I loved the sense of calm a well-organized room brought with it. Honestly, with all the siblings I had, it was the one area in my life that was peaceful.

I always dreamed I’d have a clean and orderly home. A predictable world, a calm life.

Then I got married to a man who owned STUFF. He already had a 5 x 7 storage unit full of boxes of stuff. Me? I owned two boxes, one of which was books. And then we had children who need all kinds of stuff, beyond belief amounts of stuff.

And, it turns out, real life as an adult runs differently than the one a person fantasizes about as a youth.

Sigh.

Organize

Secret handbook I missed out on getting??  (Photo credit: alborzshawn)

We seemed to spontaneously produce STUFF like rabbits reproduce. I’m still not sure how that happens, the stuff, not the rabbits. I feel like I missed an important lecture day at school once in fifth or sixth grade. Maybe they taught “How STUFF replicates and how to prevent it.” Wish I’d been there that day.

Anyway, fast forward to life beyond apartments to life with a garage to store all the stuff. Not many people realize it, but garages were originally invented to house vehicles, not boxes of miscellaneous crap and treasures.

So while our not so pricey and not so shiny vehicles have spent summers and winters, rain and dust storms outside in the elements, our cardboard treasure trove has baked and frozen season after season in the garage.

About once a year we attempt to deal with it all. We vow to downsize, we garage sale, we donate, we sort, we give away, we send kids home with boxes, we fill up the trash bin, we recycle, we even bring things into the house. But the stuff seems to continue to take up just enough space in the garage that a car, even a small one, just can’t squeeze in. (I chronicle this event in an earlier post here.)

I admit to coveting those garages with cabinets with doors and a pristine finish on the cement floor. Oh, and no oil leak puddles.

But no more.

A few months ago, after sending children and their own boxes out into the world on their own adventures, I squished and scrunched, sorted and tossed and made room for my truck to fit inside the garage. The door even closes! It sounds easier than it was, but I’ll spare you the details.

Why is this such a big deal?

Because it gives me hope that the inside of my house, especially the closets and cabinets, can also reach garage nirvana. One day I’ll be able to open a cabinet door and, voilà, what I need will be exactly where I knew it would be.

“A place for everything and everything in its place.” Peace will finally be mine.

Someday, soon.

Of course, there’s an awful loud quietness about the house now that the kids have moved on. Apparently that’s the price of order.

Perhaps I’ll leave a bit of chaos about the house after all.

Maybe I’ll just stand in the garage doorway and admire my handiwork. The rest of the house can wait for a bit.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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