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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sort This Later (Feb. 15, 2012)

I’m on a ten-minute break. I don’t need coffee and I don’t smoke, so my break means rushing to the computer to write about how crazy the situation is in my art studio. Is this procrastination? Possibly. But it works for me. And wasn’t there a study somewhere about how taking breaks makes you more efficient?

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to reorganize the studio, and it’s not the first time I’ve blogged about the avalanche (of art supplies as well as emotions) that accompanies such a goal. Blogging about it helps me to laugh about the craziness, so it’s therapeutic. And a little funny.
(Unless you’re me, in which case you’re trying to take deep, soothing breaths
instead of hyper-ventilating about how much stuff is in there).

“Reorganize studio” has been on my to do list for…a while.
It’s often on it, but it gets put onto back burner because feeding the gang and
other such things take priority.

So the studio waits. It collects more things, and it waits.
Today was the day for the studio makeover. I decided I’d consolidate my
painting stuff and I’d carve out a more usable space for my sewing stuff.

It’s an extra-daunting task because the studio is the
holding area for a lot of things in this house. It’s where the clean laundry
gets dumped. It’s also doubling as a bedroom right now! It’s where I bring
stuff when company is coming and I really need to clean off the kitchen table.
So it’s not a matter of simply sorting MY stuff into boxes. I’m sorting stuff
that belongs to everyone who lives here.

But here’s the thing. In order to shuffle what’s in some
boxes into others so as to maximize space and efficiency, I have to see what’s
in the boxes. Therein lies the problem.

Some of the boxes have a mish-mash of stuff in them: kids’
toys, mismatched socks, puzzle pieces, art supplies, a cup (?), things to mend,
pens, important papers, financial and medical stuff, school papers, coupons,
sewing stuff, a packet of seed to plant outside, and a few magazines.
Ironically, I’d kept the magazines in order to read articles like “The Secret
to De-cluttering and Simplifying your Life,” because clearly I need help with
that! Of course, the magazines holding these secrets contribute to the clutter
issue and this irony is not lost on me! Opening these containers is like
opening Pandora’s box. Stuff starts flying out and you instantly remember why you’ve put off sorting it. It’s not a two-hour job, as you’d hoped.

What to do? I should’ve started with three empty boxes, so I could have a trash, donate and keep/”sort this later” box. But I didn’t have any empty boxes, which is why I had to examine the boxes in order to see which could be emptied to create new, organized boxes! (See, I did have a plan.) Now the floor is a jumble of stuff to throw out, donate and keep/sort later. Yes,
the famous Sort This Later Box. You know you want to keep it but you don’t have time to sort it now, and it’s not Urgent stuff.

Okay, it’s probably been ten minutes so I should take a deep
breath, and go confront the stuff in the studio right now. I’m kind of dreading
it. Maybe I should think of worse things to deal with, so this doesn’t seem so
bad. Is this better than having a root canal without Novocain? Yes, but only marginally.

I’ll be back.

(Twenty minutes later.)

Miraculously, things are at a manageable level again in the studio. That is to say, the carpet is visible again. All the stuff emptied from boxes has been picked up. Things have been thrown out, recycled, and put in the Goodwill donation bag. Other things have been put into “Sort This Later” boxes, yes. Hey, Rome wasn’t organized in a day, right? At least the studio is somewhat more organized. It’s enough for today, because I have to go pick people up and do at least a few chores.

Honestly, I am planning to sort those boxes. Later.

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