Saturday, September 23, 2006

Why these pictures are GOOD!

This was my shipping table early in September, cluttered, with packing materials, remains of previous packing and books to be listed or catalogued.

This was my shipping table a few days ago:
Why this is better is that it's cluttered with SOLD books, books awaiting packing and shipping. Books that have now been sent on their way. My shipping table and I are back in business!

In the other room, where I have a lot of books stored, as well as my main office desk, I also have the most appalling accumulation of personal books, magazines, catalogs, and PAPER. Bills, receipts, notes, bank statements and more. Way more.
But this picture is GOOD:

because what you see is Sorting-in-Progress. The magazines and catalogues in the picture are now in boxes in my car, from which they will be dropped off at the recycling center. The stack of boxes with the blue plastic basket on top is a centralized amassing of the Paper Clutter. I have already shredded a garbage bag full of bank statements and intend to go through these boxes a little bit each day - okay, who snorted and said, "yeah, right!"...???
I am going to do it as planned. Really.

This picture is good, because it used to look like this:

Not much difference?
I beg to differ. From six precariously stacked too-high piles of books placed willy-nilly (NOT good for book health at all) to two much shorter stacks and 3 boxes of books, sorted into my very general first sorting round of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children's.

So. It may not seem like it, but I have definitely made some progress in the last few days, towards reclaiming my bookselling work area and in getting back to work in a small way.
That's good!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I Really Have Started to De-Clutter Again

I think I actually really truly am back to work on getting through the clutter and disorganization of my house and life.

I hesitated to write this earlier, but I think I've broken through my grief malaise. Of course, I had to then break through the bedrock of my congenital malaise/procrastination issues.

And it's extra-hard now. I described it best in a note I wrote to a group of online friends, so I'll just copy that here:

".... I'm dealing with some tough times - 6 months since Patrick's death, he died right before the Spring Equinox, so now to me all the changes, the Equinoxes and Solstices contain a thread to his death. I'm also very close to letting go of my mini-van, which is where Patrick and I spent a huge amount of time together. It's in the shop now and I'll be giving it to Pat's roommate.

I'm also getting back to work, selling books on eBay and soon I may have a chance to sell in an open shop with one of my old colleagues. Getting back to work means I'm trying to make some order in my basement office, work and storage areas. As I've been working down there today, I've been finding so many reminders of Patrick, stray pictures, his old homeschooling journal from 1995....

And the layers and juxtaposition of papers, magazines, notes, receipts, etc., can be read like an archaeological dig -- it's painfully obvious how my life just stopped at certain points in the last 2 and a half years. Patrick's car wreck was November 22, 2004. I came across the Neilsen ratings material I was supposed to use on November 25, the Round Robin letter from my old group of friends in Miami that I initiated in 1992 when I moved here. It came the day of the accident and I forgot about it and I never answered it. The Robin died that day is what I thought when I finally remembered it had come. I hadn't even seen it fron that day until this.

This is work that must be done. This is letting go that must happen.

It's just really hard, though.
thanks for listening..."

What was interesting to me is that my break-through seemed to come with my finally clearing out the mini-van in preparation to give it away. Cleaning out the car is where I started this blog! There wasn't a lot of mess, but the car had boxes of things from cleaning out my mother's apartment months ago....


What I'm thinking now is that for those of us who struggle with clutter, de-cluttering is fraught with meaning, that Things hold inexplicable energies that need to be dealt with, stories that need to be told, if only to one's self, before letting them go. And it's strange which Things have meaning for us.

It took me only a half-second's thought to offer on Freecycle the encyclopedia the kids used a lot when they were younger (of course, that letting go gives me Shelf Space - a prized commodity around here), but I agonized over an old cell phone bill.

Today I shredded that May 2005 could that be hard? But it was - it had pages of calls that Patrick made in May 2005. I stared at the numbers and looked at the times he called mine...and finally put it in the shredder pile.

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da....