Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shedding of Innocent Stuff: The Dreaded Room, Take 2

It’s rare for me to post a Shedding entry two days in a row, but I figured it was time to give an update. Yesterday, I wrote about how I was up at 3:00 AM trying to get a handle on this. Well, yesterday when I got home, I decided to keep doing what I was in the process of doing.

I am one who finds that the best way to bring order to chaos is to jump in and go for the jugular. To that end, I decided to pull out all of the items in the closets (and I mean all of the items). Christina was overjoyed to see the office in the state it was in this morning, so she was noticeably dismayed when she say everything spread out on the family room floor and futon once again.

What were items found? Here’s some of the gems:

• a large set of videotapes from the Standard Deviants that covered mathematics from Algebra through Calculus (out of date and now available in their entirety through the San Bruno Library)
• some DVD’s covering “Learning to Skateboard” Volumes 1 and 2
• some old VCR tapes of "Snowboard Porn" (no, not really... that's what all of us snowboarders call the videos where riders are doing insane tricks and leaping off of massive cornices and riding sheer cliffs... it's all of the stuff of snowboarding fantasies, and us everyday guys just staring... and drooling.... and wishing we could be doing what we are seeing... OK, maybe porn is the correct term (LOL!) ). Anyway, I decided to keep my three favorite videos, and I let the others go.
• several music VCR collections that I had not seen since we moved into our house back in 1999 (obviously not all that important (LOL!) )
• about 50 cassette tapes that I really want to make sure I keep… and about 300 that I have not listened to in any meaningful way in 15-25 years. Seriously.
• two large format coffee table books that I’d read cover to cover, and really didn’t see myself reading or referencing again
• some clothes that I had decided had seen their day in my wardrobe, and was time to let someone else have a crack at them
• items associated with the dance team regalia making process. There’s a dedicated cabinet in the garage for all of these items now, thus they were easily relocated.
• lots and Lots and LOTS and ***LOTS*** of PAPER, from just about every imaginable source.

The paper is, without a doubt, the number 1 biggest challenge to keeping any semblance or order in this room. All of the financial transactions that relate to our house, our retirement and any investments we make is stored in here. Likewise, anything having to do with Scouting is also kept here. I confess, I’m paranoid about any financial transactions falling through the cracks, and I want to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to Scouting activities and responsibilities, so these are my all time worst offenders when it comes to “pack rat” tendencies. Still, I have found that there are good ways of tackling this stuff, and here’s what I’m currently doing.

I have a bunch of “Red” file folders. This translates to “Hot” or “This needs to be acted upon and soon". I have a large accordion folder in my office on a side table, and this is the landing area for all papers (well, ideally it is; sadly, that doesn’t happen as neatly and nicely as I’d like it to), and the Red folders stand out and get a daily perusing to see what I need to do “that day”.

I have a bunch of standard Manila colored folders, and these are my general purpose folders, i.e. active accounts and stuff that’s happening soon, but not urgent.

Finally, I have a bunch of “Blue” folders. These are my reference and my “pack rat” folders, where any data that is historical that I may need someday (perish the thought I should ever have to have an audit), they are there. My ultimate goal with the blue folders is to scan them and store off the contents onto a DVD (save the files that require a signature or otherwise).

Net result… I was up until 2:00 AM clearing all of this stuff out, and I have a cloth shopping bag full of papers that need to be sorted and dealt with. The good news is that I have an hour each day on the train to dig through these and junk the stuff that I don’t need (and though my paranoia is rampant, I am getting better about what to throw away).

Oh, one other cool thing I discovered through this process… the monster of an armoire desk that I have, while it is very nice and elaborate and closes off everything terrifically… is an absolute beast for the size of the room. What’s more, with the changes I’ve made, all that’s being used in it is the top surface to hold the laptop, an external drive and a wireless mouse and keyboard. In short, the humongous armoire desk may itself be a candidate for finding a new home.

Pictures coming soon :).

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