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More Baby Steps on housework and packratism 
4th-Jul-2008 12:47 pm
Any normal person will find this foolish, but I'm struggling to clean out the spare bedroom. Before October. I've been working on it for a few months already.

I'd been using the futon, opened into a bed, as a sorting-place for stuff. But it seems if I have 20 items, I'll have at least 18 categories to put them in, so that's kind of tough to make sorting progress.

But I've now put everything from the top of the futon into about a dozen boxes each of which contains "similar" things. "Similar" is in quotes, because I've decided that maps are "similar to" recipes.

I've also gone through 2 or 3 boxes of "stuff" that had been next to the futon -- most of them old mail -- some of which is bills and statements that I'll want to file, some of them begs, some of them thanks for donations to said begs, emptying them into the dozen boxes atop the futon.

It's pretty easy to recycle old begs, but then there are the free gifts they sent to induce me to pay them. (That sort of guilt doesn't work on me; I happily use mailing labels from people I've not sent money to.) Then there are the calendars from the Ark. I saved them for a long time, and I really hate throwing them away, but I have just too bloody much paper, and it's not like I'm likely to ever wonder who was playing there on March 14th, 1998. (Of course, I kick myself mightily when I recycle a calendar, and then one of the people who'd been pictured on it dies.)

Recently, though, I took what was actually a big step for me. I "always" staple all my receipts to the credit card statements they belong to. I came across a huge stack of unprocessed receipts from 2004. AND DECIDED TO RECYCLE THEM. UNSTAPLED! *gulp*
4th-Jul-2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
As someone facing a similar task, I salute you.

And remember, "similar" is whatever the mental tags are that work for you to keep track of things. It could be Dewey Decimal for everyone else, but if it doesn't help your own busy memory to find it when you need it, it ain't functional.
5th-Jul-2008 03:09 am (UTC)
And these are really just temporary bins -- the statement will need to be divided out by type, etc. I connected maps and recipes by putting menus in the same box.

Good luck on your tasks
4th-Jul-2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
I know the problem. My goal is to get the garage cleared out sometime in the next decade (since we'll almost certainly have to sell the house when I retire).

Those piles of magazines I've been saving for the last 30 years?...
5th-Jul-2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Oh man... magazines I have too. I'm hoping the library will have a desire for them... Of course, the Sing Out! I will keep.
5th-Jul-2008 03:52 am (UTC)
I used to love reading my parents' old back issues of Scientific American and National Geographic. My kids, unfortunately, didn't inherit that characteristic.

I still have most of the magazines, though.
5th-Jul-2008 03:04 am (UTC)
4th-Jul-2008 10:46 pm (UTC)
You and I have had this conversation before. I think we decided that it's a good thing we don't live together because one of us would end up killing the other. ;)

I save all sorts of things that I probably shouldn't, but I've gotten much better at classifying things as "dumpster bait."

Good luck. I know this is difficult for you in the same way that some things that I'm sure are easy for you would drive me up the wall.
5th-Jul-2008 03:07 am (UTC)
*g* Thanks. I _will_ get there. One of the things I do NOT lack for is stubborn.

I just tossed an ad I'd ripped out of a magazine to save back in '01 or '02... Probably took me 30 seconds. But I figure the next one will be easier.
5th-Jul-2008 04:14 am (UTC)
I am so feeling your "pain". There is too much stuff I think I want to take with me, but there just isn't room. I have been throwing out paid bills from 1995. I've gotten to the point where I am fed up with my own packratism and have been tossing miscellaneous stuff either into the nearest box until it's full or in a garbage bag which then goes into the dumpster.

6th-Jul-2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
Man, and I know you're need is so much more current than mine. All the best in your endeavours... and sorry we didn't have much of a chance to chat yesterday -- I was fighting (with help) with the puter, or tired (I did crash for a bit over an hour upstairs) and then I realized I needed to leave SOON if I was going to make it home while still awake.
5th-Jul-2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
Aren't spare bedrooms like attics (unless you have guests regularly)? Of course cleaning them out is a chore, if you'd known where to put that stuff away it wouldn't have gone there!
6th-Jul-2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
Yep. And when another room needed to be cleaned and/or emptied now (workers installing windows or repairing the wall) all the extra junk went there. *sigh* I am stubborn and I WILL gain the upper hand!
5th-Jul-2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
a huge stack of unprocessed receipts from 2004. AND DECIDED TO RECYCLE THEM. UNSTAPLED!

FWIW, I'm proud of you.
6th-Jul-2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I think most people wouldn't understand what a jump that is for my twisty little brain... It's just not RIGHT... I should have done more/better/sooner. All I need is a few extra days in the week and hours in the day when I don't need to work or sleep...
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