Thursday, July 31, 2008

De Clutter, de clutter! by DL Larson

Okay, I know it's time to clean my office. I can barely get the doors open. They're beautiful French doors, but unfortunately they don't hide the mess within the walls of my writing space. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure folks think, 'wow, what a pig; why doesn't she do something creative with that room!'

I could blame my untidiness on my family, rather my daughter and her family. They are still living with us, their house coming dangerously close to being complete. A big YA-HOO. It's only been nine months they have been with us. And yes, I do have a cupboard saved just for my granddaughters, I could easily blame them for having boxes of manuscripts on the floor rather behind cupboard doors. But, I had that space saved for them long before they moved in. So I can't point a finger in that direction.

If only I didn't love to collect books, writing magazines, and, and paper! It accumulates in my office at an alarming rate. On this corner of a desk there sits unread books, rather books yet to be read that I gathered from a writing conference nearly two years ago. Another stack from last spring fills a large spot beneath my feet. And the ones I've already read, well lets just say the dozen shelves I have are over-fed and bulging over the edges. Some hang at precarious angles that have on occasion intrigued my cat. And the magazines are simply out of control. Messy doesn't begin to describe this area. Towering, toppling and tipsy, yes, those are good descriptions of my magazine section.

Yes, I've decided to declutter! My husband stopped by my office and groaned when I told him of my plans. His question, and a valid one I might add, was, "where do I have to carry those boxes? There's no room in the basement."

Oh, yes. Hmmm, maybe I can blame my daughter after all. My basement is over-flowing with her household stuff. Not that I'd b l a m e her for my untidiness, just the fact that I have no place to store several neatly packed boxs of books and magazines with wonderful articles on writing that I might need someday.

The truth is, I don't need these books or periodicals at all. I'm a librarian. I can get any book I want at a moment's notice. All I have to do is wander through the stacks til I find what I'm looking for. It sounds so easy. But it's not that simple. I like owning my own books. Why is that? Does anyone else have this problem letting go of well loved books? I know I must keep the resource books, the how-to get it right helpers I've purchased over the years.

Even some of them could go bye-bye. I just glanced at the resource shelf above me, some hidden behind a couple manilla folders. A 2003 Writer's Market, 2003 Writer's Market for novel and short story, 2004 Christian Writer's Market Guide, sit there collecting dust and taking up precious room. Okay, time for action!

I just ran downstairs for an empty box. We have several for packing. That empty box is no longer waiting to be filled. And I have a free corner on my shelf. I didn't even look to see about the markers sticking out from the pages. Those market guides are old, with antique information. They are now one step closer to the door.

Okay, I'm feeling the power, here. I can do this. I also have a box that can hold more. I'm going to be ruthless. Just like at the library; if I haven't read it in the last couple of years, it's going. Yikes. I think I'm hyperventilating. I'm quite attached to many of these books. Maybe I should rethink this. James Patterson, Diana Gabaldon, Jude Deveraux, Janet Evanovich, Nicholas Sparks. Mary Higgons Clark. Jan Karon. J.K. Rowlings!

No, I can't go there. I can't let go of my children's books. I can't, can't can't. I must draw the line somewhere. I'm a children's librarian. How could I be so cruel? Yet, I discard children's books at work on a regular basis. I replace them with newer, brighter books.

I could do that. But what about the decluttering? I need to make space, unclog my office shelves, not buy more to replace the ones gone. The box in the middle of my floor is starting to look pretty lonely with only three old books in it. There must be something else I can throw away.

I look at my wastebasket. It's pretty full. I could save the plastic liner and dump the shredded stuff in the box.

There. I feel so much better. Another corner clean. Progress is sometimes slow. As a writer I understand this. We can't always go rushing into projects without careful thought. Those old market guides are really buried now. My fingers are tapping the keys and I'm wondering, thinking about those markers I had stuck in those books. It could have been something important. Maybe I should take a peek just to be sure it's okay to ...

No. I'm ruthless. I'm a take charge kind of gal. Decluttering is the purpose of this day. The old books will remain in the trash. They'll be fine.

You know, if you dust old books off, they look pretty good. As for the trash, guess I better get that out of here. I've decluttered enough for one day.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

1 comment:

Morgan Mandel said...

It's hopeless. I keep decluttering and cluttering back up again.

Paper is part of being a writer I guess.

Morgan Mandel