Paper 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