Saturday, September 05, 2009

Sometimes it's Just the Litte Things

The other day we helped a friend with the tail end of a move. It reminded me of our own move about a year ago.

Although I knew for a couple of months that we were moving, I had no time to pack. I had only recently begun a new job. So, I was working; I was homeschooling; I was talking with our adult children on the phone. I had to take a nap - or get on the computer - to de-stress. Always, I had some reason that I didn't have enough time to pack up all the clutter that I wanted to hang onto (that was stacked on every kind of table) into boxes.

But I had a plan. I would take an extra day off from work to pack, and that should do it. But our moving plan got changed and the "extra" day turned into our first moving day...and I hadn't packed much of anything (fortunately, my husband had, but he couldn't be expected to pack up all my personal papers and "stuff"). If I had had that one day that I had planned to have, would that it have been enough? I kinda' doubt it now, looking back, but I never had a chance to know. We and our three boys (in Baltimore) moved ourselves...with moral support from a dear friend, and moving help from a friend who helped bail us out on our third and last day...but I'm getting ahead of myself. On the second day, when I was surely going to finally pack all those little odds and ends up into boxes while the guys got more of the furniture, I ended up (unexpectedly) stuck on the phone all morning with utilities people, then waiting in the afternoon for the cable guy to come.

Long story short: I never did get to pack up the odds and ends. They came over in bits and pieces, or were thrown into boxes by my patient husband, bless his heart.

I watched our generous, manly boys - who had offered to do the moving instead of us hiring someone - haul all those odds and ends into our apartment, along with huge "storage units" for all our stuff - including two four-drawer-file cabinets and three nearly-to-the-ceiling bookcases. And I said to myself: No more moves like this. We are going to get rid of some of this stuff! Beginning now. Next time I will be organized. We are not going to live with clutter stacked on the computer table, and the coffee table, and the telephone table, and, worst of all, the unoccupied end of the dining room table (where our three oldest used to sit). I am going to get rid of enough papers to get rid of one file cabinet. I am going to get rid of binders full of old papers. We are going to find good homes for some of our books.

Fast-forward a year. I have given away a few books (and accumulated a few more). I do think I'm a tad-bit better about the odds and ends on tables (except for the dining room table, and I do whittle it down to size frequently). But I realized yesterday that the project of sorting through papers in the file cabinets and binders had come to a halt...not a screeching halt that one would notice, but a meandering halt. I realized something while I was sharing this discovery with my husband. I discovered that this is what happened:

I stopped sorting through papers because I stopped shredding.
I stopped shredding because I didn't want to empty the shredder.
I didn't want to empty the shredder because it was surrounded by odds and ends.

If someone had asked me why I'm not sorting anymore, I would probably have said, "Procrastination" (but I'm not the procrastinating type; it's always more about priorities). Or I might have said, "I'm too busy with work and school" (which would be partially true but I've adjusted to working outside the home enough now to make some time for household organization).

In reality, the only thing that was standing between me and sorting through the papers were a few coins, paper clips, bookmarks, and out-of-date coupons.

Are there "odds and ends" of life, that you're not even aware of anymore, that keep you from reaching your goals, too? Sometimes we don't even notice. At least I hadn't until yesterday.

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