I’ve always been a fairly organized person. It’s still a running family joke about “Stefani and her clipboard, with lists in triplicate”. Yes, the joke goes back that far – to triplicates with carbon paper. In my defense, I never made lists in triplicate. Owned a clipboard with a giant yellow Rickie Tickie Stickie on it? For sure!
Side note for people of a certain age – ever wonder about the origination of Rickie Tickie Stickies?
Somewhere in 2011-2012, I lost my organizational juju. I blame it squarely on my former day job, where I worked mega hours and still couldn’t get all the work required completed. (It was the typical corporate scenario, not replacing a lost employee, relying on remaining staff to get the same amount of work done.) I was in constant stress-filled scramble mode and didn’t have time to be organized. I know. That’s ridiculous but sometimes, when you’re in impossible circumstances, the unimaginable happens.
I still thought of myself as organized, because that’s how I’d been my whole life. But my work life and home life didn’t represent that part of me anymore. My home filing was 3 years behind. That’s shocking to me, even now. I recently spent about 2 days shredding old files and records. I get on people about keeping paperwork longer than required. Then I realized I still had every tax return I ever filed: that’s 40ish years. For other stuff, I just had about 3 years of records that could be discarded.
Using boxes we purchased at Home Depot for another purpose, I filled 2 large boxes and 1 medium box, packed tightly with shredding. Turns out I kind of like to shred so I offered to go through some of Steve’s paperwork that belonged to his mom and shred anything appropriate. “Okay if I shred all these cancelled checks, older than 7 years? So do you think these checks from 1954 qualify?” That kind of put my own paperwork in perspective and reinforced how super-happy I am to live in and embrace the digital age! (Three years of filing ain’t what it used to be.)
Going through Steve’s mom’s stuff was like an archaeological dig. His dad died on the day Steve was born, so to find stuff with his handwriting on it was cool. Finding his mom’s mortgage for the purchase of the home Steve grew up in, for $20,000, with monthly payments of $86.40, further strengthened my resolve to steamroll through the payments remaining on our mortgage. I set aside a box full of stuff that I knew Steve would want to keep or would at least get a kick out of reading. The remaining shredding filled the same 2 large boxes and 1 medium box. I’m sure the recycling guys are dreading our house next week, “Surely, she can’t have anything left to shred in that house!” (And don’t call me Shirley.)
I also spent the last week giving away a lot of craft supplies I know I won’t use anymore. I posted it all on the Facebook group I started earlier this year, Art Excess. (Feel free to join – you can ask for stuff, you can get rid of stuff (free, barter or sell) – all art related.) Anything remaining, I took to Craft Bits & Pieces in Fairport. The store is built on an outstanding concept – they sell craft supplies of all types, priced very reasonably, with proceeds going to the local Senior Living Council.
Getting rid of so much stuff has lightened my mental load significantly! I realized I had been semi-avoiding going in to my studio. I am still mildly surprised when I walk into my studio now and see a clean floor!
I’m so happy to let my organizational light shine again! And my creativity is at such a peak, I hardly know where to begin. (Staying off Pinterest would an excellent start!)
Alyson Stanfield of Art Biz Coach wrote a great article on her blog today, How to Find Anything When You Need It. She lists 5 naming tips to help with consistency and ease of finding what you need, when you need it. I’m pretty good at about 4 of them, I’d say. My weakness is titling my artworks. Any time I’ve had to do that, I’ve turned to Google and quite often find myself naming my framed art, for instance, after cities in the US. I did a series of pieces in warm tones and named them after cities in New Mexico. That wasn’t really that helpful because it really didn’t differentiate enough between pieces. I’ll have to work on this one!