Wednesday, January 6, 2016

It Gets Worse Before it Gets Better

This cart, formerly parked under the counter in my office
as a storage center, now holds a combination of displaced
items (top shelf) and potential storage solutions (bottom
shelf). When I have just a few minutes to spare, I can make
progress by sorting the things on the cart. 
I've been joking with my friends that my house, especially my office, is currently in the "it gets worse before it gets better" stage of organizing. If I doubted this, my daughter offered me verification when she came into my office on Saturday, looked around and said "It doesn't look any better in here."

No. No it doesn't.

A busy fall semester that crashed right into the week of Christmas has left much of my house in need of serious attention. And, while I began this project with high hopes during the last week in December, it's turning into an even bigger project than I thought it would be.

When you live and work in a small space over a long period of time (two decades in this house), organization is always a domino effect. Retiring and bringing my business home and into a small office that was once a side patio has pushed already overwhelmed systems to the breaking point, making it necessary to re-envision and re-vamp my office. That takes time and creates a mess -- one that is creeping into other parts of my house as one storage system impacts another.

When I'm finished, I'll have purged a lot of unnecessary things, tweaked my style-specific systems so that they have room to accommodate the inevitable influx of new papers and projects and improved other spaces in my home as well.

If organizing my office was the only thing I had planned for the time between December 26 and the
start of the semester in two weeks, this ugly duckling stage would be long gone my now. But vacation is filled with many wonderful things that bite into our most productive times of day and, in so doing,  lengthen the process. Even as much as I love to organize (and I do, though it currently doesn't look that way), I also love reading, writing and spending time with family. Achieving a balance among these activities does not, unfortunately, lend itself to keeping clutter to a minimum.

What's replacing the cart.
As an "I Need to See it" person, I need
to label anything that's not see-through.
The other drawers will get their labels
when I decide what goes inside.
If you, like me, have chosen to tackle a big project to get the new year off to an organized start, be patient with yourself. Take steps toward your goal each day, but don't expect miracles or a sudden appearance from the organization fairy. Try to keep the detritus of the process from creeping into other areas of your living space and thus creating more work for yourself, but understand that this might happen, especially if you're working in a small space.

When you set out to organize in a way that's compatible with your styles, and therefore workable for you in the long run, embracing the process is just as important as reaching the finish line.

And organizing for the long haul is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint.

Special thanks to Cerella Sechrist, who encouraged me to post before and after photos, despite my hesitation to do so. 

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