Friday, April 23, 2010

A Peek Inside My Drawers

For Christmas, C got me One Year to an Organized Work Life by Regina Leeds, and I've actually been following along (it is organized in a month-by-month, week-by-week format), organizing my cubicle drawers, setting up a filing system, etc. Admittedly, it's almost cheating for me, since I changed jobs in December and had already jettisoned 12 years of accumulated crap. However, it's nice to start out nice and fresh, with an actual filing system. Funny, but a liberal arts education doesn't teach you anything useful, like how to organize and store files. The only task I have had a hard time with is getting out the door and to work on time in the morning (the author only devotes one week to this exercise, when I need about six months of individualized steps...probably doesn't help that I get up early to blog when I should probably be showering and fixing lunches!).

Anyway, all that cleaning and organizing of drawers at work, got me itching to tackle my drawers at home. So finally, this weekend, with cloudy/snowy/rainy weather, I had time to tackle them.

This is what I had to face:

The computer desk. (This is the desk I freed up for writing a couple of years ago, only weeks before our laptop crashed and C bought a desktop, and my "room of my own" became his office!)

My sewing table. The drawer on the right wasn't too bad--it got cleaned out a little when I got my sewing cabinet. The drawer on the left was crammed full of tutorials and patterns printed off the Internet--not stapled and completely mixed up and out of order.

My "writing table." This is just a tiny table crammed in my bedroom between my sewing corner and the Big Ugly Chair (you can see it in the last picture here), at which I rarely sit to write.

And, finally, not a drawer, but my "writing shelf." This is a shelf in my closed where I cram my writing notebooks, back issues of zines, sketchbooks and, apparently, all the other crap I own and don't know what to do with. It's the one shelf I did not deal with when I did my major closet clean-out.

Scary, huh?

Where to begin? On Saturday afternoon, I emptied the contents of all five drawers and the shelf onto the living room floor and began sorting things into piles and categories (the biggest pile being "recycle"). I dusted out each drawer and only put back what I actually wanted in each one. Here's how they look "after":

Better, no? However I still had a gigantic mountain of homeless crap in the middle of the floor (my children were not pleased with me a. taking up all the play space and b. not cleaning up my stuff--except that they wanted me to play with them so that I couldn't clean up my stuff. You can't win, I tell you!).

Sunday morning, I emptied out my drawer in the filing cabinet (we have a four-drawer filing cabinet, with two of the drawers for C's work, one for our family financial stuff, like taxes--which I'm sure should be next on my list of cleaning, sorting, organizing and dumping--and one just for me). I went through each and every file folder, with the recycling box by my side. My goal was to free up most of the cabinet for writing, with files dedicated to works in progress, submission guidelines, my zine, etc.
I did keep some items strictly out of sentimentality--does anyone else have a hard time tossing the papers you wrote in college? And I have a file of poetry dating back to when I was in third grade, which consists mainly of a vast body of melodramatic work from the tween years, including one poem that begins, "Have you ever had a broken heart?/Have you ever cried like I have?" Yikes. Maybe I'm relieved I don't have any daughters (not that men don't write their share of broken-heart poetry--which is a good thing for the pop music industry--and not that my boys don't engage in their share of melodrama). I also saved my seventh-grade diary and an entire file on the Southern Methodist University Swim Team circa 1991-1992 (hey, I covered the team for the college paper!).
By Sunday night, still ankle-deep in papers and piles, I was starting to whimper a bit, and C asked me why I hadn't just tackled one drawer at a time (clearly he does not know me very well--hello! I gave birth to twins, remember? I don't do things by halves.). But I got the floor cleared and the filing cabinet refilled (with not as much free space as I'd been hoping for, and with a system probably not up to the standards of Regina Leeds, but much improved no less)


  1. LSM--I think you meant to say, "You are a slob," didn't you?

  2. Hi Andrea,
    Looks just like my drawers. Just stopping by to say hello. Nice blog!

  3. You know I love your declutterathon posts. :) As I sit in my hopelessly untidy "home office" (aka corner of the basement with a desk and some bookshelves next to it), I covet your newly organized drawers. Maybe this will have to be my next big project. We'll see...

  4. It must be hereditary; we just spent hours looking for your brother's ACT scores and I finally ordered them online (today) for a cost of $9.00. Then he needed the codes for the universal remote. We still haven't found them, but I did buy a cheap binder and some clear inserts to put all appliance and electronic info in. Now I just have to find more than the VCR's and the TV's that is in storage.


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