Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Small Success: Diminishing Desk Pile

First, a little moment of silence and sympathy for the Chicago couple who was almost done in by their own garbage. (It's admittedly a big reminder that however daunting my clutter, my problems are piddling in comparison.) One of them fell through a pile, and the other also got stuck trying to rescue them. Weeks later, a neighbor got a little concerned. They were rescued, but in terrible condition. Sending out a little prayer of support to all the hoarders of the world. Take care of yourselves. You can get help.

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So I do follow Flylady, I do. But I've fallen off the wagon in terms of following the daily notes (take 15 min to clear your hotspot, vacuum the middle of the floors in 10 min, etc). I note the zone cleaning reminders and the quick challenges, but I don't actually go DO them, usually. Other than a few swish n swipes, I don't follow along.

I'm also pitiful about using the timer to help keep myself focused while I tackle tasks. It just seems like too much bother to make an effort when I have such little concentrated time to begin with. Too many right now kinds of demands to worry about the backlog.

But today and recently, I've been re-encouraged.

I go around clearing areas that have gotten swallowed in miscellaneous junk (i.e. "hotspots"), and then polishing those areas once they are clear. I've been collecting Items To Give Away in a box in the front hall. (It's so freeing when I make that decision and put something in there. Decision done!) The kitchen sideboard has benefited from this, also the kitchen counter closest to the sink. Slowly I am clearing, rearranging cleaning. Sometimes all it takes is clearing space to make way for a new piece of household scenery, and the space is transformed. I like being able to see the soft shine of my cherrywood china cabinet.

Today while the baby napped, I convinced myself to start on the monstrous pile that my desk has become.

In addition to the usual papers and leftover projects, and the ukulele sob!, it's been accumulating new papers, piles of baby clothing to sort, incomplete Christmas gifts, new checks, batteries, and odds and ends that I must suddenly put out of reach of my daughter. She stands up these days, you know, and often uses a hand or two to see what trinket or hazard she might grab. Sometimes I can distract her with a book or toy that lives here, but I'm still constantly throwing little things on the desk to get them out of her reach. When I sit at my computer, the desk pile reached nearly as high as the top of my head. Nothing I did seemed to make a dent. Plus more things kept getting added.

Today I told myself I was going to get below the first layer, yes, I was. I set my timer and started sorting.

Stuff to file, stuff to toss, stuff to give away.

In not too long, I could see the rest of my poor ukulele's case. And a blouse I meant to donate, and a travel list I'm going to need next month, and the baby monitor that we need to give back, and... Lots of things that really needed to be put elsewhere, many of them into the circular file under my desk *ahem* or in another room entirely, although most of my findings would still be useful if only I could find them.

After two or three fifteen-minute sessions, the average height of my desk pile is now only chest high when I'm sitting down. I can see, if not the end, the beginning of the end of the pile. Oh, yay! Just by making a dent in the clutter, I feel that it's actually possible to shrink it to nothing.

And then I can tackle all the other nagging areas of the house!

I still need to finish sorting out my new filing system, but now that I have my timer back in hand, life is so much more hopeful. A big yay! for getting back on the FlyLady timer bandwagon.

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