Clean House

Today I learned why my desk never seems to get cleaned: I keep finding stuff I don’t want to lose, so I put it in piles of “don’t lose this stuff”, and then my desk ends up covered in the piles.

Now, I could file this stuff. That’s actually what I do with the stuff I want to be able to find later. It’s the other stuff that ends up in piles. Things like an invitation to a wedding I can’t attend. The wedding isn’t for a few more weeks, and I feel as if I have to hold onto the invitation until after the wedding. I don’t think it’s a superstition or anything, just this vague sense that I’m throwing away the marriage before it starts. (It’s not my marriage and the couple in question has lived together for a few years, so this really doesn’t make any sense. But there you go anyway.)

I got pretty ruthless with cards, too. I could pretty much paper my office with cards I’ve received. If I ever looked at them again, it would make sense to keep them. That’s why I keep books, after all: because I know I’ll read them again. But I don’t re-read cards. Well, except for a few from my sisters. And some from my friends, the ones that feel like getting hugged all over again.

A lot of stuff ends up on my desk because I don’t know what else to do with it. A lot of it I’m afraid I’ll forget about if it’s out of sight. So I keep it…and then it disappears under all the drifts of stuff I want to keep in plain sight.

It’s easy to say “Get organized.” I say it to myself every time. This time, like every other time, I told myself I’d organize my desk so that it works for me. It is getting better, but at this pace, I’ll get organized just in time to keel over dead.

And that’s just senseless. So maybe I’ll really think about how I really am, and stop organizing things for this unrealistic, ideal me, the one who has time to file, who pays attention to these things long before they threaten to fall over on her. (Okay, I am exaggerating the size of the piles, but there are really piles and piles.)

Maybe that file drawer where I keep all my notepads and journals and things should be my “I don’t know what to do with this, but…” drawer. And maybe once a quarter, I’ll go through the drawer and decide what goes and what stays. I can use the old Celtic holidays–Feb. 1, May 1, Aug. 1 and Nov. 1–as my quarter days. (Why those days? Mainly because my birthday falls very near one of them.)

It sounds like a plan. Even better, it sounds like a plan I haven’t tried yet…

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