Drownproofing

colourful mindmapsPaper is a bane and bounty in my life.  I love it in the forms of a new journal, a 12 x 12 scrapbook page waiting to tell a story, a note written by someone dear to my heart, a3 year old’s finger painting framed and browning with age.  Ahhhhh—paper!  Filled with memories or full of possibility, I love it.

Then there’s paper.  Bills, scraps of information once noteworthy, directions, magazine articles I thought were important, recipes promising healthy and do-able meals and treats  . . . so many pieces of paper that may or may not be worth keeping.

When “insane” and “crazy busy” are my life’s major adjectives, paper takes over.  It’s everywhere.  Nobody knows the color of my desk at work.  The wood’s grain on my coffee table is a mystery.  Magazines occupy most flat spaces.  I drown in paper.

The last few days have been an exercise in drownproofing my work and living spaces.  At the office, the sorting and tossing was a physical necessity; I needed to move the contents of my office to another part of the building.  At home, drownproofing became an emotional necessity.

When drowning in paper, I don’t do much more than what’s necessary to keep going.  Thinking is difficult when I survey my surroundings.  The bits of emotional energy I’ve regained quickly dissipate when confronted with waves of paper.

As I walked down the stairs this morning, I was struck by the order that returned to a large part of my house yesterday.  My living room is an oasis not the aftermath of a paper tsunami.  It lent me some hope for my new office.

As I unpacked each box this afternoon, I filed—both laterally and circularly.  I gave books a home on the bookshelf.  I made steps to drownproof my office.  There are still those pieces of paper that stymie me, but they are becoming a silent minority.

I’m learning new strategies.  I don’t want to drown.  I need the emotional space the lack of clutter lends.  I think . . . I hope . . .  I’m off to a good start.

photo courtesy of Kelly Power

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5 Responses to “Drownproofing”

  1. Laura WilslonAugust 26, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    I am sending you an e-card as you encourage you in this endeavor!

    love, Laura

  2. CherylAugust 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    Soul, I can totally identify with this. I am working on going through and throwing a lot of old papers and books I left here at M & D’s. It’s excruciating. But I am also amazed at all that I saved. At the time, it seemed so important to me. Today, I just shake my head and throw it in the recycle.
    Anway, blessings on your downproofing. (I never knew that was what it was called…)
    I hope to find a chance to call you soon.
    Love, Soul

  3. SherylAugust 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    Thanks for the warm fuzzies, Laura! And the nice thing is . . . I don’t have to decide what to do with your card! 🙂

    Soul—isn’t it strange why we save some things? I’ve looked at things and thought, “Why in the world did I think this was worth saving?!!?” and then can’t for the life of me figure out why I got rid of other things. Du courage!

  4. SharAugust 26, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    I love and hate paper. One of the best things I have ever purchased is a paper shredder, so once I’ve made up my mind to get rid of something, it gets shredded. GONE. FOREVER. MWHAHAHAHAHAHHA!

  5. SherylAugust 27, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    I love the paper shredder! It’s rather satisfying to hear it destroy paper!

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