Only Child by bookcase in her home-based office
My late mother used to let the dust bunnies collect under the fridge, tables and other pieces of furniture. When company was coming, she’d whisk out the upright vacuum cleaner, the mop, Pledge, and dust cloth and get to work. Not exactly Good Housekeeping spotless house material. However, she had another setup for clutter. I call it her Organized Clutter System. For example, she filed bills and other business-personal stuff in a draw in her bedroom bureau and her sewing paraphernalia, including the machine, were somewhat organized on the dining room table for easy access for her constant sewing projects. Of course, all that table-top “clutter” had to be moved away when we had company.
I’ve inherited some of her modus operandi here for both my home-based writing and editing business and for the rest of the house, although I’ve long ago sold my sewing machine at a garage sale. My sewing is limited to mending and hem-shortening by hand – the latter always necessary when you are only 5’1″ even when buying petite. But my basement closets (many built by the previous owners in the laundry room of all places) are cluttered with old photograph albums, some of my son’s stuff and the biggest shelf hogs – outdated computers and printers.) I do have a weekly housecleaning ritual- very basic to keep the dust bunnies away (well 80 per cent of them) and have clean laundry. But I’m right on Mom’s tracks with my organized clutter. Trouble is, when the drawers get stuck or overflow, something must be done.
I did something about this over the weekend. In the laundry room I sorted/cleared and pitched out some stuff from my large gardening workbench and some of those closet shelves. Most of the electronic stuff is too heavy for me to move (my “invisible, mythical brother” would come in handy here). The City of Toronto now lets you move this stuff to the end of your driveway on garbage day so any I can move I will do – when it isn’t snowing or raining outside. I also phoned a friend and she said she would help me get some of these curmudgeons to the city drop-off depot in the new year. We’ll see how that plays out.
Then I moved upstairs but only managed to find time to clear out one kitchen drawer and file some current papers in my office. Next weekend it will be my office desk drawers. I’m tired of having them get stuck when I try to open them. (And the “blue air” from my swearing isn’t healthy.) I had already started tackling the files (the hard copy ones) in my office previously – like in the last couple of years, so that progresses – slowly.
All this sorting and purging takes time. I find once I get into it I get interested and can keep going. The key seems to be to do a little at a time. One of my cousins, Anita, has an interesting practice which she uses to renovate her farmhouse – she calls it picking away at it a bit at a time. Nobody likes to face a huge mass of books, paper, computer equipment, etc. and have to dive in and do it all at once. Following Anita’s modus operandi may be just the way to go.
Then, you have the satisfaction of actually doing something to clear your business and personal clutter. And you know, when you walk into the de-cluttered room, even when it is partially finished, you can feel the energy moving around. The stale block of clutter has disappeared.
And that opens up more energy in you to go about your business – whether it is the self-employed home-based kind or personal sewing projects.
Only Child Writes