Today, I marched into the corner of a multi-purpose room that houses my desk and my files and waged a little war. A war on paper; a war on bill confusion; a war on accumulation.The war is by no means over, but I won a couple of battles.
Why now, you may ask?
Well, this room is being partially re-purposed so that when we have guests, it can serve as a guest room. (The former guest room has already been repurposed to serve as my Massage Room - and there are rumors afoot that my parents will be coming to visit in the not so distant future) This room is also being adapted so that the large television can actualy be used to watch, well, television. And possibly even movies.
To this end, I must remove some of the furniture that has lived in the room for a long time. One desk was moved into the "new" massage room, so that I would have a place to write SOAP notes, and put the books and records and oils and such that I need to use there. This left one computer desk that houses the last desk top in the house (used intermittenlty by the kids, and serving double duty as a storage place for random stuff), one little corner computer desk that houses the very computer upon which I'm writing this blog, and the big desk that seems to serve as much as a repository for all the paper I don't know what to do with as it does a place to do work.
The big desk has to go. Sure, I could wait until the next guest's arrival is imminent -- but I've just learned that the first four weeks of my summer classes are going to be HARD and intense, and leave me no time for whole days spent flailing at my "office" stuff. The time is now.
Alas, the big desk also serves(d) as the filing cabinet for all those files I use (or file things into) every month when I pay the bills. Thus - the first battle - ShadowDancer vs. the Paper Monster.
In my office corner, I have what amounts to six mini-file drawers full of files. In the closet, I had another two mini-file drawers full of files. Two of these drawers are in the pedestal legs of the Big Desk. My task -- empty those drawers so that the desk can be removed.
One solution, of course, is to siimply stuff the papers more tightly into the other drawers. While that seems easy at first, I quickly realized that this would only make my job harder the next time I paid the bills.
Instead, I actually tackled the paper itself. First, I pulled the wee filing cabinet out of the closet, and went through the files. With fierce determination, and an empty paper bag, I mercilessly eliminated file after file. Anything more than ten years old clearly had to have a VERY GOOD REASON to be allowed to stay in the house. The folder full of cards from my wedding -- gets to stay.
I then went through the other six drawers, purging all sorts of paper, and rearranging the way the files were organized until all the stuff I touch often fit into the little two-drawer guy, and the other cabinet got a full organizational over-haul. Finding things will be easier.
With my full bag of useless formerly-filed paper waiting by the door to head down to the recycling bin, I survey a room that looks little different to the casual viewer - but I know that I've won the first battle against the paper monster. I've won the first battle in the war to reclaim this space for a useful purpose.