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Friday, August 26, 2011

clutter and clarity


I’m awake early these days, my to-do list making it impossible for me to sleep past a certain (still-dark) hour. So I get up, make some tea, and sit down at my desk, which is once again cluttered beyond recognition.

Here I sit, thinking about the weekend (a couple of birthday parties, housework, back-to-school shopping) and the fact that Stella starts school on Monday, which seems impossible. A second-grader? Already? Little Z will also be back to her school-year schedule at her pre-school beginning on Monday. And though I will miss my girls and the slower pace of our summer mornings, I am looking forward to getting back into a routine. I lost my groove this summer. I haven’t been to the coffee shop for ages; I haven’t been writing.

I think I need to purge—spend a day cleaning and organizing my desk (again), going through the girls’ clothes, packing up Stella’s too-small items and storing them, giving away the items that Z has outgrown or refuses to wear (basically all pants that aren’t “jammy” pants). I also need to do something with all my books. They are stacked in my office, stacked on top of the already-full bookshelves throughout the house, ready to topple. I need to get rid of some of them.

And I hope that when all of this purging is complete, I will be able to breathe easier, think more clearly. I know the house and my desk will become cluttered again before long, but perhaps I can develop some systems to help? Anyone have any ideas how to do that with two small children in the house? 

9 comments:

Cecilia said...

Oh my goodness Kate, I could have written the exact same post, down to the specific items on your to-do list! I hear you and I feel for you. I recently did some desk-purging and my desk IS cluttered up once again, but I have somewhat of a system now. This is what I did: I hired my 7 year old to help me. (Stella is the same age, yes?) What I did was move the mountain of papers off my desk and onto the floor. While I was sorting my papers I had my son wipe and dust my desk and rearrange the little trinkets. He then helped me shred and sort my trash (coming from my documents/paper sorting), and once we were done, I taught him how to file my things into the appropriate folders. I was motivated to do this because I looked at it more as a project to help my son learn some organizational skills (not me, ha ha). I am going to do this on a regular basis and I will be paying him for it (I haven't decided the pay yet, but my husband suggests to start small in case his duties increase, LOL). My little guy's extremely motivated (geez he loves money), which forces me to move forward. The other bonus is that decluttering's a lot more fun with a partner! Don't know if you want to try this but it's a thought! Good luck!

Sara said...

I am longing to do a good purge/clean. I'm starting this weekend by getting maternity clothes and newborn stuff out of the attic and delivering to friends. I'm trying to transform my office into a playroom, which means purging a lot of stuff from my office. It has made getting rid of (some) books and paper clutter easier. I'm trying to downsize from 5 file drawers to 3. I'd love to get rid of a bookcase too (or get rid of one enormous one and replace it with a smaller, nicer looking one). Ah, but sometimes these dreams get in the way of actually doing anything.

I agree that being able to really delve into the purge/reorganizing phase really helps (it's hard to do it in little tiny chunks). I wish school weren't starting back up—I'd get a babysitter just to be able to get those things done.

I wish I had a good system for keeping things organized. Having places for things (take the time/spend a little money if need be) to get the storage you need) helps, and once you get decluttered/better organized, doing 15 minutes a day (make it 5 if its a long and horrible day) can help keep things in check longer. Build it into your daily plan—before I leave the office, I have to clear my desk. (Ha, so easy to say.)

Good luck. (Now I don't want to work on this editing project, I want to go clean my office!)

Andrea said...

Ooh, decluttering feels so good. I've been systematically (and sooo slowly) going through my whole house. Last month I did our books, and even encouraged my husband to look through his books to see if there were any he wanted to get rid of (basically, I left them in a pile on the stairs and said, "do you want to keep any of these?" He actually let go of a surprising number!). We got the shelves to the point where they hold all of the books in normal shelf-like fashion (withough teetering piles on the edge, the floor or double-parked books). Yea! My goal has been to get the house so clean it stays that way. So far, I haven't gotten there, but I haven't given up either! (I've found some inspiration from the FlyLady, who has some good ideas if you can stomach her cutesy little phrases--one idea is to spend five mintues each day on "hot spots"--places junk piles up; another is what I call my "house bewitching" (she calls it "blessing") where you spend 10 minutes on each house-cleaning chore and get the place in decent (though not grandma-approved) shape in an hour or so. Good luck!

gillian said...

Yep, here too. I haven't been writing, the house is sheer chaos. I ache for quiet mornings where all I here is outdoor happenings and the quiet tapping of my stubby fingers on the keys. Soon, soon.

Elizabeth said...

I need to do some purging, too. It's amazing how it jump-starts one out of dolor and torpor, no?

I miss your regular posts -- somehow came to this one a few days late!

christen thompson said...

Wow, can't believe it's just me that feels this way. I agree, I'll miss the slow mornings but I'm craving routine, predictable "space" to think.

ninabadzin.com said...

School starts tomorrow! woo-hoo! The magic solution. ;) I did the clothes purge this past week too. I sort of love it--it's the anti-hoarder in me.

Did you go the fair? We went twice. Completely gross and delightful all at the same time.

Monika said...

The state of your desk & the image of the piles of books sounds a bit too familiar, however I won't part with mine I just need a proper library in my home to store them all : ) Hope the purge was successful.

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