Thursday, November 03, 2016

One clutter at a time - strike one

Well, that turned out to be an exercise in futility. I started with a drawer in my nightstand that is basically my repository for all things. Detritus. Clutter in the purest sense of the word. I have anything and everything in the drawer, and that was the problem from the start. None of the things have ever had a home before. Where would they go? What would be appropriate? What would be the 'structure' I would want to employ as far as keeping track of these things, and determining where they should go? What about cigar stuff, that has never lived anywhere else? What about extra digital cameras? I can't throw them away until I check them to see if they have any files on them that need to be downloaded. What about pocket tools? What about the card items? Surely they should eventually end up in the fireproof box, but for now they continue to live in the top drawer. What I need to think about first, it is clear, is structure. So what would that structure look like? Taking the idea of a memory palace and instead looking at the actual layout of a given physical space and all the storage options (or lacks of options), where would things go? More importantly, and perhaps a fundamental question in the process, how many things should be the limit? Is there a limit? Is the limit a total number, or a particular number of items in a given location? What would this look like if we categorized everything? What would the categories be? Would each category of things live in one place? Would they not mix? It seems to me that one of the biggest problems is overlap, and it speaks to a need to go back through the KonMari method. I remember she mentioned containers and organizing things a particular way, basically of imposing a filing system over a given physical space. I also recall this being mentioned as being problematic. Why? Well, as was evident by my relatively short and frustrating exercise, having too many different things in one place means there is a risk for sprawl. It is the whole idea of not even knowing what you have because it is all over the place. Nothing has its home. Because any place is its home. I found four pocket combs. The last time I checked, I only had one head of hair. I found four lighters that don't work. I found old receipts. So was it productive? In a sense. But more frustrating, in that the drawer is still cluttered (minus a bit of trash) and I came away with more projects to add to the to do list. Namely organizing personal materials and keepsakes, and going through the electronic devices to see if there's anything that needs to be kept before I get rid of the devices. So, a failure for now, but a success in that the process really underlined the importance of everything having its place. I wonder if I begin the process with that in mind, if I can truly succeed at doing it one drawer/shelf/closet/box/cabinet/space at a time. I don't have the luxury of being able to just organizing one area because it creates a domino effect. All the areas need to be addressed. I need to identify the collections, and then figure out what to do with them. This is turning out to be quite an investment of effort.

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