:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Inside Out and San Francisco Serendipity (Holly)

When we last met, I was going to go on a massive cleanse and by next post, due tomorrow, I was to come up with a plan.  A schedule.  Attack time!!  Well, I don’t exactly have that, but what I do have, I think, is better.  I found a book I had been looking for since last post and have chosen to implement my cleansing project around said book.  And, in fact, what my project actually will be is organizing. My home.  My office.  My life.  Yes, it will include cleansing, but really what I need to do is organize.  Which includes  an element of purge.  But purging is just an element of the overall goal.  This book, called Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgensterm, details a plan to get organized and stay organized.  That’s the good news.  Bad news is that it will take time.  And, a lot of it.  It’s time to do it though.  My excuses have run out.  Essentially, it’s a fail to plan, plan to fail philosophy.  And taking a close look at what’s keeping one from being organized right now.  She organizes this into three areas: Technical Errors, External Realities, and Psychological Obstacles.   For example, one of my four technical errors is that many of my items “don’t have a home”.  One of my external realities is that I’m bordering on an “unrealistic workload” being a full-time employee, two kiddos, decent sized house with a big yard, exercise goals, blogging projects, group leader for a small group, etc.  One of my psychological obstacles is “sentimental attachment”.  My dad died in 1992 and I still have sooooo much of his stuff, including clothes.   I’ve hung on to quite a few memorabilia from high school, backpacking trips to Europe, notes and emails from 1995 and 96! I found these recently in a 3-ring binder.  What was I thinking?? But, yet, I can’t bring myself to throw them out.  Oh, and what do I do with the huge bag of love letters from my ex-husband?  Anyway….this is just a sampling of things that need to be addressed to become a more organized person.  
The next step is to analyze and “take stock” in the area you are about to organize by asking yourself five questions:
1)      What’s working?
2)      What’s not working?
3)      What items are most essential to you?
4)      Why do you want to get organized?
5)      What’s causing the problems?
Room for improvement!
Note the piles, triple clock
(Des Moines, London, and Dushanbe),
a phone book (why?),
 a Russian Dictionary (why?), and
of course, a picture of a Llama. And,
some bug spray I bought on sale.
In August.

The author says you CANNOT skip any of these steps and warns vehemently against giving into the temptation of diving in and starting purging and cleansing.  Exactly what I was going to do! And, I was going to start in the basement.  She also says to start with a smaller project in a highly utilized area so that you can really see the results and reap the rewards.  Consequently, I have chosen to start with the “Household Information Center”.    I have what should be in this area scattered all over the desk it’s supposed to be in and all across the kitchen.  I have answered the five questions as it pertains to the information center, and have to tell you…..I’m not proud of the level of disorganization I operate under and the periodic results of said disorganization. 
So on the plane to San Francisco, I took time to analyze my “household info center” by answering the five questions.  As I was on the plane I couldn’t see the area and so I’m going to take a second look now that I’m home.  It has been a good process to really examine what is working and what isn’t.  And, I suppose good to look at what’s causing the problem.  Julie lists “organizing is boring” under technical errors.  I definitely have this problem. I would much rather be blogging  than trying to figure out where my Runner’s World, Women’s Health, the Writer, and Food Network magazines should go.  I have a subscription to each of these.  What if I need to reference one someday? What if ummmm……why is it I can’t toss these? I even have some Veggie Times from 1998 and 1999.  There were some great recipes in there!! When was the last time I pulled one out and made something from one of them?  Well, why would I do that? I get Food Network now! And, I have about 20 cookbooks in my kitchen and I cook out of those.  Oh, and a 3-ring binder with recipes I pull from the internet.  The way I’m talking, you’d think I’m cooking all the time! Ha! See external reality referenced above.  Too much going on to cook the way I love to cook.  Half the time it’s pasta with a side of vegetables or frozen chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs.  With a side of broccoli, of course!  Anyway, if I can’t even bring myself to organize something as fun as great magazines, why would I want to address bills and 529 and 401k and deferred comp and car registration notifications????? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Well, that’s exactly why you have to answer the WHY do you want to get organized.  For the information center it’s important that I get organized for several reasons.  One biggy is that it will save me a lot of money.  I’m not as bad as I used to be, but I still get the occasional late fee or penalty.  I’ve been ticketed more than one year for not getting my car registration done on time. Hey! When was that due? Oh, October? Okay…..listen COFFEE mates, I’m in danger of it happening RIGHT NOW! And guess what? My driver’s license expires on my birthday this year.  In TWO WEEKS.  Ok, you get the picture.  Another main reason I need to do this area, as well as the other areas in my home, is to feel a sense of calm and control.  When I’m organized, I feel so much more free and light.  A big challenge after getting organized is staying organized.  For the information center this requires 5-10 minutes of daily attention.  Zzzzzzzzzz  And, periodic “tune-ups” zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Information Center clutter in the kitchen.
Children's art, pasta with Cauliflower
recipe, Christmas CD, BRMC CD, 
Wilco CD, magazines, and lots of bills. And,
Puffs Plus with Lotion. And my keys.
And, a knife.
So, next on the path to creating an organized information center is to strategize and create a plan of action.  This is where you think about the area’s activity zones, the supplies used in each zone, and then the corresponding storage unit.  I have started this activity and the zones are things like Mail and Paper flow, Bill paying, Meal Planning, kids’ school papers, etc…..
By next time I write in two weeks or so, I will be done with strategizing and plan creation and most likely moving in to ATTACK! Getting the job done through SPACE!
Sort       Purge   Assign a home  Containerize      Equalize
Again, Julie insists on doing all of the steps and they must be in order.   Tune in next time to see how it goes for the information center SPACE. 
But before I sign off, I must tell you about San Francisco serendipity.  As you may recall, I wrote a lot about serendipity last year.  Though the serendipitous events have waned a bit, I’ve noticed a resurgence recently.  Last week fellow COFFE mate, Becky Johnson, and I were in San Francisco for work.  I posted something about being there on Facebook and fellow COFFEE mate, Angie Ryan, saw the post and we arranged to meet in North Beach area for a drink Friday at 5:30.  Neither Becky nor I had met Angie before and we were both very excited to get together and talk about COFFEE whilst having a cocktail.  During our lunch break on Friday, in an ENTIRELY different part of town, Becky and I were walking to a restaurant for lunch.   We both saw a woman that looked a heck of a lot like Angie walking up a brutal San Francisco hill.  I thought to myself, nah, couldn’t be her.  Becky said, out loud, HI! Is your name Angie??  And, yup! You guessed it.  IT WAS!! Don’t tell me that was just a coincidence! We chatted for about 10 minutes and agreed to meet later as previously arranged.  And, we did. And, it was fun! And, why we didn’t get a picture is beyond me!  Then, I could post it here, now.  Here’s to hoping that I get to meet the rest of you that I haven’t yet!


Corey ♪ Linstrom said...

You are hanging on to all the things you think you need in order to be HOLLY, but we both know that you'd still be the same great girl with or without any of that stuff.

The pivotal question I ask myself when organizing is: Have I actually used this within the last 12 month? If not, it's tagged for removal. I then look at how much more space I'd like to have and then I start bagging things for departure.

I bet you could sell some of your stuff on ebay, craig list, yahoo, and so on. Those Love Letters would be a hot item!

John said...

Holy Hannah that's a big job! I've always had trouble getting rid of stuff, beccause I can see potential in almost everything. Reduce, reuse, recycle and all that. Makes getting rid of stuff, especially sentimental stuff, really, really hard.

Good luck! You can do it!