Living the perfect life?

Yesterday was the twelfth day of Christmas, twelve lords a-leaping and all. The feast is over. Time to get back to work. Time for those New Year’s resolutions.

So I spent a few hours today sorting through a collection of old papers, and did pretty well – for me – in getting rid of them. Maybe a sixth of them will be kept for now (and sorted through again later). About a quarter of the pile – say three inches worth – ought to be shredded, so they’re sitting in an Amazon box, labeled SHRED ME, for the moment. And the rest of them went straight into recycling.

Those of you who are naturally organized will just shrug and say “And?” But for us packrats, this is a huge accomplishment. I really am throwing a lot of stuff out these days.

To get to this point, I had to rethink the whole process and learn to ignore the Official Rules. “Handle every piece of paper just once!” “For every item that comes into your house, something else has to go out!” “If you haven’t used it in the past year, throw it away!” Sorry, we can’t all be that efficient.

Yes, there’s way too much stuff in my house. A lot of it – as much as half of it – needs to go away. But I make bad decisions when I’m shouting at myself “Make up your mind, don’t waste time, when in doubt throw it out, blahblahblahblah!”

The rules of thumb we all know, the ones that are supposed to tell us How To Live Organized Lives, just don’t help. Actually, that’s true of most rules of thumb, for me. I wonder if they help anybody? Think about it. If the Standard Advice really, really worked, first time, every time, for pretty much everyone, what would happen to the market for self-improvement books? Who would buy them once we’ve all been improved?

Then again, maybe I’m just weird.


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