Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cleaning House and other Hard Things

One of the things on my to do list was cleaning the office. This may not sound like much to people who keep their rooms neat and tidy by default. The problem is really that my "office" has become the room equivalent of a junk drawer.

When company was coming over we'd pick up all the stuff that was out and shove it in the office and close the door. Something doesn't quite suit the decor of the living room? Shove it in the office. Don't have room for this? Shove it in the office. Just got back from a trip and have a bag you haven't unpacked but have company coming over soon? Shove it in the office.

When we first moved into this house 11 years ago, the office had three filing cabinets and one bookcase in it. The desk moved in shortly thereafter plus a rocking chair. It was a mostly empty room. However, my husband and I are avid readers and obsessive collectors. Also we are both researchers so paperwork/filing can get quite complex. More and more stuff moved into the office. It now has 6 bookcases, 4 filing cabinets, one table, one steamer trunk, one rocking chair, one desk and chair, a quilt rack, a shelving unit of boxes, three filing carts, and a microfilm machine. All of this "fits" into a 10x10 room.

Add to this the stuff we've shoved into the room and you have piles on the floor everywhere so that you can't walk around the table and trunk in the middle of the room to get to other parts of the room.

I've tried cleaning it before but every time I get close to finishing, something happens and more stuff gets shoved in there.

So here I am again, with a huge office cleanup facing me today. I'm going to pull everything on the floor out of the office (leaving behind the furniture and anything that is "in its place." Then I will start finding places for this stuff. I will need to do more than that to get the room figured out but first I just have to be able to walk around the room. It seems like a place to start.

It is always hard to start a project that seems overwhelming, especially one that you have tried to do several times but always ended up as a failure.

I'm going to try to analyze what went wrong the last times I tried this project as I clean out the room today and see what I can change about how we relate to this room. It's the only chance I have of making real progress.

Real progress--that's what I'm looking for, starting today!

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