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Office SpaceAugust 18, 2008

My office is just about done. Even before I was given the surprise desk, I spent a full day cleaning out the yarn/writing room. I wanted more writing, less yarn. After hours and hours of crawling around and swearing, I got rid of four garbage bags of trash. Not even donate-able stuff, just junk. Where did it come from? I was ruthless this time, throwing out broken-down memorabilia and ugly picture frames. I even got rid of the love letters. I'd always saved them, thinking, awwww, it'll be nice to reread these someday. Nope. Not so much. I glanced at some and got all wooodgy and squirmy about it. Fifty years from now, I bet I'd feel the way. I'm not in those relationships for good reasons, and while love is a great thing to find and have, once it's gone, there's no reason to revisit it, except in memory. And if I personally didn't write it down, I won't remember it. Someone else's writing, even directed to me, doesn't prompt anything in my memory, I've found.

[Speaking of memory-lapses: I argued with Lala last night. She said I'd been to Yoshi's for dinner. I said I hadn't, not ever, but I wanted to go. She said I was just plain wrong. I stuck to my guns until she called my sister-in-law, who was at this alleged dinner. She agreed with Lala! She said I was there! I gave up and ate my ice cream in sullen defeat, but I still wonder if they're just thinking of someone who looked like me.]

During the cleaning-spree, I went through paperwork. Now, people. I haven't filed in two and a half years, not since before we moved to this house. I'd just been stacking paper horizontally in boxes. And I had a very full filing cabinet that moved along with me that hadn't even been looked at for more years than I care to remember. So I cleaned it all out, only saving the important stuff, the taxes, house paperwork, and the like. I'm down to one small filing box from Ikea which is only half-full. Oh, the feeling of power!

I shredded a garbage bag full of paper (which creates a LOT of shredded paper, I tell ya). That was fun. I like to shred things, especially papers from the 90s. Found a three-dollar BART card. Whoopee!

This paper dilemma won't happen again, and I actually mean this (I'm really pretty darn sure. Mostly). I've had great success this year with a new filing system. I know I read about it on a GTD site somewhere: I got an expandable file folder (like THIS one), with 13 pockets. I labeled each pocket with a month, and I have one pocket for miscellaneous stuff that needs to be dealt with soon, but not immediately. Once I pay a bill or process something, it goes into the relevant month's pocket.

So far so good, right? The REALLY fun part happens when you've been using this system for a year (I'm almost there! Come on, October!). Then you pull out everything in that pocket from last year and get rid of almost all of it. Shred it all. Keep tax stuff and health stuff, obviously. Anything you might actually need again. But a year later, you're probably never going to need to reference your water bill again. You know? I can't wait for that part. Then you perma-file the long-term stuff, and keep on rolling along. This actually gives me a thrill to think about.

This all might be really boring if you're not one of THOSE people. But I'm one of those people. I can read for days about what pen people think is best. Me, I'm a Pilot G-2 .5 kind of girl, to the point that I carry my pen to work and take it home with me at night.

Oh, and by the way, I AM NEVER ALLOWED TO BUY FIBER AGAIN. Yarn, maybe. But no fiber, until I spin at least half of the obscene amount I now have tucked away in the bedroom closet (tucked away sounds so cute. Like I just popped it in there and closed the door, instead of the truth: that I forced it all into an enormous contractor bag and then used all my strength to push it in and then shut the door by dint of sheer brute force). Must spin more. And must read more. Really, I have no need to buy any more yarn/fiber/books for a very long time. While I'm sure I'll forget this (and quickly), it makes me feel good to know. When the revolution comes, I'll have enough to read and knit and spin.

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Comments

Yay, good for you!

These days my pen of choice is the Lamy Safari, yellow with EF point, ink cartridge, Pelikan black ink. It's a cheerful, semi-disposable little fountain pen, not at all pretentious.

Dontcha wish you could take some of your print books and trade them in for the Kindle version?! I sure do.

My current pen of choice is whatever I can wrestle away from the dog! Bic I think. I have had the bug to clean out the last little while too, I am working on my guest room/fabric/fiber storage area. I will be actually having a guest this December so I thought better get a start now. So far I have turned up a lot things I thought I got rid of already!! As for old love letters...the best thing I did was send them through the shredder!

Maybe we need a fall Spin-a-Go-Go sorta like Run-a-Go-Go. And maybe a Read-a-Go-Go. I think we do!

I wish I could file like that! Our citizenship application requires paperwork including 5 years of mortgage statements. That's the monthly statements, not the end of year ones, and five years of tax returns too. I have a serious mound of paper to wade through!

I am also on a yarn/fiber/book ban )c:

Yeah! Organization is a good thing; however I would caution shredding everything. When I was in college I was one of those people randomly audited!?!?!! It was an awful process and they wanted my water bill...believe it or not.

I am typing this with a blue Pilot G2 next to me. Love them. Of course, I am promiscuous and have many pen loves and notebook loves, and bag obsessions.

Wow, it sounds like going to the Romance Writers Conference and getting representation (congratulations) really motivated you. I am amazed at the amount of junk I've hauled out of my place, with no discernable effect. The secret to that filing system is to keep that file folder easily accessible -- I tried a version of the system with envelopes instead of a folder and I'd space out on my new system and just stack the receipts etc 'temporarily' in huge tottering mass. I feel a junk purge urge coming on thanks to your example!

Great job on the paperwork! My husband thought I was the only one who 'filed' papers horizontally in boxes. And now maybe he's right...

OK, you motivated me. I will now file. And add up tax deductible receipts. Can you beat that boredom?

You shredded your love letters? Man, your biographer is going to be pissed!

Or ... you can switch your water (and everything else) bills to electronic! That's what I did and it's been a big help. I still print my Visa bills, but I only print the pertinent pages and don't have to deal with the envelope, summary/cover page, etc.

And my house seemed to get bigger, too! A nice added benefit....

laughing...I finally threw away the water bills from a house I no longer own in a place I'll never see again! I like the save it for a year then shred it plan.

Perhaps ye need some SpaceBags!

W. :o)

Perhaps ye need some SpaceBags!

W. :o)

Doesn't decluttering your space feel great? I did a bit of that this weekend and I was able to breathe easier without all that junk beside my bed.

When the revolution comes, I will be up the creek! I get all my reading material from the library and most of my other entertainment from the internet. With my luck, the revolution will start right after I've turned in all my books and internet access will only be for the elite :-).

a) you didn't tell me about the love letters!! You should have read them to me whilst we mocked your failed suitors.
b) She's my sister in law too! In fact, I found her first!
c) You really should give Merlin Mann a shout out on the decluttering. Not to say you weren't tidy before, but he inspired you to new heights of throwing out things I think you should keep, like your old love letters. Based on what I've heard, they can only enhance my reputation.

That filing idea is absolutely brilliant. I am so starting this right away.

You want pens? Try this post: http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2007/10/16/the_gel_dilemma.html

At the hospital we have a giant confidential shred bin. My little shredder can't keep up when I haven't shredded in awhile. So I'm hoping to just dump some of my old papers into those bins. Hopefully no one minds!

I thought I was the only weird one who took my pen back and forth to work with me so that I'm never without it. My current obsession is the Pilot Dr. Grip, but I used to be a Pilot G-2 girl all the way.
And although I know I could just buy a few more, one for the purse, one for the desk, one for home - but somehow I'm stuck on just having one.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.

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