Organize, Shmorganize

October 1, 2009

Moo and I attacked my mostly-unused office today.  I dream of it becoming this lovely, quiet purple space where I write books and articles and blog posts, but mostly I sit at the laptop in the family room, as detritus piles up in the office.  Yes, it’s back in bad shape. 

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But Moo and I both slept in until 9:30 (I spawned a night owl like myself, it seems), and finished breakfast at noon, so it seemed like a good day to just putter around the house.

I told Moo I wanted to organize my office, and since Herbie has conned Moo into believing that organizing is a fun game, she agreed to help.  By which I mean make the office an even bigger mess than it was when we started.

No, that’s not quite true.  I found a box to stuff all the ribbon in – and then Moo took it all out and draped it all over herself, but that was adorable so I didn’t mind.  And then we paused to have a tea party with some ceramic pots I unearthed, and then we played magnet games with the magnets I found, and then we laid on our tummies and riffled through old pictures of Mommy, but somehow in all that I did manage to clear some space and see the path to TOTAL ORGANIZATION.  It’s going to be beautiful! ….Someday.

But first, I have to sort through all that STUFF.  I have a very hard time throwing away things that bring back memories, like pictures my niece and nephew have drawn, notes my dad wrote me, cards my mom sent me, and even random doodles and lists I’ve made in notebooks.

Stuff like this:

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And this, which my Mom sent me in anticipation of my trip home from New York for Thanksgiving, 14 years ago:

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How can I possibly throw that away?  I don’t want to lose that rush of love I feel for my family and my friends when I come across things like this.

But then there’s stuff like the random piece of paper on which I seem to have performed some sort of What Color is Your Parachute-style writing exercise.  It must have been from my I’m-in-Waitress-Hell phase.  I’ve listed all the things I would never want in a job (working with people who “like to talk about meaningless things”), and then I describe my “job from heaven,” in which I detail, HOUR TO HOUR, what I would do Monday through Friday.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday – write (brilliant novels, I guess) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., then “run errands or possible nap” until 5 p.m., and then a dance class, but Friday night is “social night.”  Tuesdays and Thursdays, apparently, I take a pilates class and then come home and write more brilliant novels.

Huh.  Actually, that does still sound pretty good.

And then I was supposed to list my “escape dreams,” the things I fantasize about (no, not those things), which would apparently lead to some incredible insight.  My list reads (and I quote): 

  • Winning a Tony
  • Being interviewed on Conan
  • Being like Madonna, making sexy videos, cool clothes, etc.
  • Stripping 

I mean they were just fantasies.  But all this soul-searching and fantasizing led me to this conclusion, which I printed carefully:  “I need attention and approval.”

Well, duh.

And yet I was still too chicken to go out and audition for anything. 

So why do I keep stuff like that?  I think I like the internal checking-in that occurs when I read through my past hopes and anxieties – it’s a nice way to see how far I’ve come and if I’m still on track.  But maybe now is the time to shed some of those old ghosts of past-me and try to live in the present a little more.  I don’t know.

What about you?  Are you a saver, or are you like Rosalind, who never ever has more than five emails in her inbox.  I currently have 58… pages.


7 Responses to “Organize, Shmorganize”

  1. Beth H. Says:

    I am definitely a saver of cool notes, cards, drawings, etc. but I am also extremely anti-clutter! A cluttered house is a cluttered mind, or whatever that saying is, really holds true for me. I feel paralyzed when my work space is too messy. And I try to keep my email inbox below 40. Right now I’m at 41 – must go archive some!

    • mamarose Says:

      You are a conundrum, wrapped in an enigma! So if you’re nice and tidy, what do you doooo with all your staved stuff? I need help!

      • Beth H. Says:

        like Sonia & Pam, I just keep my keepsakes & can’t-part-with stuff in boxes. pretty boxes, so you don’t mind if they are visible. one box is on my bookshelf, others in my closet, one is even in the garage (in a plastic tote). i keep telling myself i will go through them someday & organize into albums or scrapbooks, but even if i don’t, it’s no biggie. the boxes are just as fun to look through!

  2. soniar07 Says:

    Another Saver here. I have boxes simply labeled “Keepsakes” that I haven’t even attempted to organize but have all those little things you talk about. Pics of the girls, drawing, 3 year plans I outlined years ago. Not to mention all my old journals. I’d never be able to bring myself to get rid of’em. Definitely get the internal “check-in” you talk about. Sometimes they even keep me from having pity parties and motivate me to get off my arse and do something.

  3. pam b Says:

    i am a hybrid! i have boxes in the closet that literally say “random shit i cant part with” and believe me – its RANDOM! at the same point, if i have to scroll to see all the emails in my inbox, then i start deleting unnecessaries and responding. i was the same way when i was working – if i received a request that took 5 min to answer, i would stop what i was doing. answer the email and then delete.

    • mamarose Says:

      I keep intending to tackle that inbox – it’s totally out of control.

      I used to have a box called “Random Junk” – ha! Herbie really loved that box when moving time came around.

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