Tuesday, October 28, 2008

30-Day Organizing Challenge: Day 1

Today's Goal: Get your priorities straight.

As I look around my office, here's what I see:

* A pile of magazines (all for work!) tumbled in with the baby books I need to send to my nephew in Germany. Naturally, this is under a table. Of course.
* A three-tray stackable system with a bunch of stuff to shred, a bunch of stuff to file and/or scan and then shred, and clean paper for the printer (so I can add to the other two piles).
* Piles of papers to the right and the left of the monitor I'm staring at right now. One contains tons of story ideas, articles clipped from newspapers, Post-It multicolor tags, a disposable camera, my keys, the container for my makeup brushes (of course), my keys and an iPod case. The other contains a magazine from a friend, the TV remote, an envelope containing a contract for a story I'm filing today (Gee, maybe it's time to mail that), two copies of a magazine with my story in it, letters from my student loans and files for stories I'm currently working on.
* A monitor riser that holds notes for a new story, my planner, a timer, magazine renewal notifications, an iPod dock, my vitamins and my giant calculator.

In my bedroom, under the bed is crammed with old New Yorkers I haven't read but can't bear to part with. My bedside table holds books, copies of yoga kriyas for insomnia I got for an article and promise myself I will one day use, Kleenex, Advil, Chapstick and moisturizer.

There are shoes all over the floor.

Yeah, you could say I need an organizing challenge.

The ironic thing is that this is a vast improvement for me. As a child, there was a strict close-your-door policy for my bedroom. As I previously mentioned. I was quite a dramatic child. Part of that drama was a flamboyant disregard for order or cleanliness. No one was going to tell me how to keep my own room. There was literally a path from my door to my bed, and often things crunched under my feet as I traversed it.

Over the years, pride curbed my messy ways. There are only so many dirty looks I could get from my dorm roommate. Only so many fights I could have with roommates over dirty dishes. I recall a wooden cutting board that broke in half under the weight of all the neglected cutlery and dishes.

Today, I wash dishes to calm my nerves and file to distract myself when my energy has left me. I actually like to organize. But I don't always do it.

I'm gladdened by the number of people who have shared similar challenges. I have found my (messy) people!

So as we get started, I'm excited about what we're about to do. I've lined up some great professional organizers to answer questions I can't, and plan to share the organizing tips that have made a difference in my life.

But first, it's time to figure out what I want to get out of this. I suggest you do the same, if you're following along at home. My priorities:

* Revisit the organizing strategies that have worked in the past.
* Carve out time for incremental improvements in my organizing.
* Find a system that fits with my organizational style.
* Find some techniques to deal with clutter/organizing overwhelm.
* Reflect on why I resist organizing.
* Learn some new tricks to keep clutter in control.
* Optimize my desk for productivity and profitability.
* Have some fun with it!

I do believe that last one is possible. After all, it's a new challenge, literally. It's a chance to direct my creativity into a realm I think is utterly uncreative.

What are your priorities?


Naomi Pollack said...

What a great idea! I'm a professional organizer in Bellingham, WA. I'd love to post a link to your blog on my website - would that be ok with you?

Heather Boerner said...

Hi Naomi,

Great! I'd love for you to. Feel free!