The Joy of Organization, Or Not


In my very big house, I have a great and outdated kitchen. My kitchen is the most often featured Before Kitchen on HGTV. I still love it, because it is very efficient, and I am not a fan of islands because they get in the way of the work path. I believe the day will come when American is tired of islands and stainless steel appliances, but I digress. (I do know and understand that it is highly unlikely that almond cabinets and counter tops will ever come back.)

Just outside of my kitchen is an area we have called ‘the hub.’ It is an extremely long counter with bar stools which served as a great area to put all the food for about 500 potlucks. Lately, instead of hosting potluck dishes, it has been a dumping area for mail, miscellany, empty cookie tins which did not make it to their storage area in the basement, books, my work bag, various coupons, catalogs, Weight Watcher handouts, insurance mail of various kinds which needed attention, thank you note reminders, the bank statement, and just about anything else that I was procrastinating on.

Yesterday was the day of reckoning for the hub. I spent hours handing all of the mail etc. It is still not all done, but the trash of it is actually in the trash. The part the needs to be filed is in a big stack in the basement waiting for a lease in my file cabinet, and the to-do part of it is much more manageable.

Why do I do that? Why do I let things go until they are so unmanageable that it requires a huge amount of my time to get them into good enough shape to even think about doing anything that brings organization to it? I think it has to do with my lifestyle.

When I was a home school mom, I had to stay on top of everything all the time because life was completely unmanageable if I did not. However, my schedule was my own, and it followed a predictable pattern for the most part, so I could just make sure that there was a reasonable amount of time to handle things quickly. Things, except for the mending pile which the kids referred to as the Mending Mortuary, “where clothes go to die,” did not pile up. I hated mending. By the time I got around to it, it was replaced or outgrown. Maybe that was my strategy of not mending.

Now my life is dictated by my work schedule. I know that I will have to work two weekends a month and I will be working six- twelve hour night shifts every two weeks. I just do not know which days it will be. I have a little input, but I do not get to make the final decision, and I do not work the same days of the week each week.

When I am working a lot of consecutive shifts, I have time to shower and dress and read my Bible and pray and make and pack my lunch (No cafeteria when you work nights.), and hopefully, make and eat supper. Sometimes we have to get takeout. I usually grab the mail and check my email. I do not have time to deal with the mail, I just get it out of the mailbox.

It appears that I need to come up with a system to handle the mail once I open it because not dealing with it immediately means that it turns into its own sort of Mending Mortuary. The problem is that you cannot do that with financial things or it will bite you. Even if you do manage to deal with it before it bites you, it now require an entire day of your days off to fix it.

I have not figured this out yet. I am still filing and cleaning up/catching up from the last disaster. Somehow this year will be different. I don’t know how yet, but somehow.

I think I need a list of rules or guidelines to deal with the paper and a place to put it when it first comes in the house via meetings, shopping, church or mail. I also need some discipline to actually do something before it gets to epic proportions. I also need to dump quite a bit of false guilt/anxiety over what I save and what I throw out. I have to believe that there actually is a way to make this weird lifestyle work for me, Virginia.




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