Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making Strides Against Clutter

Don’t forget that we have a guest speaker this evening to talk to us about Time and Paper Management. The program is free (thanks to the Friends of the Library) and starts at 7:00 in the Meeting Room. I hope to see you all there.

I have just found a good quote in the book Simplify Your Space by Marcia Ramsland (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007). It is a Finnish proverb that says, “Happiness is a place between too little and too much.” How do you react to that? Does that ring true to you? It is interesting that every book about de-cluttering tells us we have too much and I guess if we don’t have a place to put everything away, then we have too much. So I guess our goal is to reduce ourselves and our lives to that place between too much and too little and strive to stay right there. A report on the Today Show this morning from an editor of Prevention Magazine said that having a positive attitude and leading as stress-free a life as possible could give us as much as another 17 years of quality life! There’s an incentive!

I have actually made some headway, in little increments, this summer. Yesterday I employed the trick of taking photographs of things I want to remember and keep the photograph, rather than the object. I have for years kept some t-shirts that I have picked-up along the way from vacations, conferences, fairs and the like. They are all practically brand new because the fact of the matter is, I don’t wear t-shirts with writing on them. I find I really don’t like being a billboard. So, I laid each one out on the bed and took a digital picture of each one, front, and back if needed. I have put them all (well, almost all) of them either in my pile of clothes to give away to a good cause or in the drawer that we keep for gifts we have bought for others. I have a few nieces and nephews that wear t-shirts that may appreciate a few of them. One of my personal favorites is a black shirt with the sentiment, “What if the hokey-pokey is really what it’s all about?” That one is very hard to part with, but I can use the sentiment without having the t-shirt take up room in storage. I have a nephew that I am sure will appreciate the sentiment! These t-shirts have taken up over half of a large Rubbermaid tub that I use for swapping out-of-season clothes. I now have room to get another few sweaters put away in the summer or more of my summer clothes once the weather turns cold.

I also started a “system” that was recommended in one of the books on organizing for the chronically cluttered. It suggested that instead of making lists upon lists of things to do, make a to-do list out of sticky notes that can be added to, removed and rearranged. They recommended laying these notes out in the inside of a file folder, but I have a friend who also does this successfully in her calendar. I am really working hard on avoiding little scraps of paper everywhere. At work, I have a steno book always handy where I record all of the phone calls I get, including the date, the phone number and any pertinent information I think I may need. In order to get my work done, I have been trying to let my calls go to voicemail so I don’t get distracted from the task at hand. I have the steno book ready when I retrieve my messages so that all of the information is available should I need to refer to it in the future.

These little tasks are not much, but they feel like a big hurdle to me! I am at least starting to do something more than gather resources! See you all either tonight or next week for our September meeting.

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