Thursday, November 17, 2016

And You May Find Yourself In A Beautiful House

I sorta breezed over this point in yesterday's post, but I'm a little bit of a disorganized mess right now. Most of the time I blame it on having too little space. Or too little time.

Truth is I'm just plain overwhelmed.

Now don't misunderstand, I watch Hoarders and the like and realize my house is put together AF in comparison. But the bottom line is that the way I have always done things does not work anymore.

My name is Michelle and I'm a piler.

A little pile here, one over there, and neatly separated piles for each person in the dump zone because everybody puts there stuff here and it needs some semblance of order (and it is assumed to all belong to me otherwise). And if I need something from my piles, rest assured I know which pile it is filed among.

And here's where I probably ought to admit: I also have a paper problem.

It's no wonder I went into law. I mean, have you seen how much paper those people go through? And have to keep for a stipulated period of time if not in perpituity?! Swoon.

So piles worked when I lived alone or didn't have to commingle personalty. You know what it doesn't jive with?

Grown-up living spaces (and, you know, minimalist design aesthetics).

You know what else it really doesn't jive with?

Fucking kids.

They touch everything. Every. Fucking. Thing.

So one take away that I don't get from watching Hoarders is actual advice that translates to my (totally normal, not at all hoarding, I swear) situation. So a long time back I bought Peter Walsh's book: It's All Too Much.

The title is dead accurate because apparently it's too much to even read the damned thing, which I still haven't done.

But with everybody going and KonMari-ing the crap out of their, well, crap, I took the plunge and checked out her book from the library. And read it. Well, most of it, before my loan ended (but I am back on the wait list and determined to finish it). I have already started to use her clothes-folding method, which I thought was ridiculous in theory, but in practice it's kinda life-changing.

So I've gotten to the step where I can admit: I probably have too much stuff in general, let alone paper specifically.

I also attended a seminar with a local pro-organizer called De-Clutter to De-Stress.

I took away a few good points from her presentation:

1. Strive for excellence, rather than perfection. Sometimes I forget that the two are actually different standards. So instead of needing the perfect solution, I merely need an excellent one (or, let's face it, the one that works right now).

2. On a scale of 1 to 10, love your clothes between 7 and 10. This is a tricky one. I have clothes that definitely fall outside of this range, but because replacing them is not an option, I hold them. At least I don't have clothes I hold onto in hopes that they will fit me someday anymore.

3. Paper [insert dramatic music here] Most paper of mere mortals, such as myself, only needs to be retained for 3 years, including taxes. Hold if it pertains to a pending dispute. You guys, I just yesterday ditched some old medical records that were more than 3 years old. Boss!

4. Tips on how to sort and organize. Honestly, I'm looking at my notes and don't know exactly the context. I'll update if it come back to me.

5. More paper tips. Use three folders: a) To Do Now, within 30 days; b) To Pay, actionable items; and c) To Do, whenevs. I realize that last one is a slippery slope, but that's what my notes say. Regardless, this was a light bulb moment during which I could imagine all those papers and bills in the drop zone lining up and marching into their appropriate folders. This might be the next system that I implement.

So now that I have permission to lower my expectations of myself, perhaps I can figure out what the fuck sparks my joy and make some headway in this whole living like a grown-up business. And maybe, just maybe, my kids will follow suit. Because they certainly do now.

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