Seems I am always trying to organize life's messiness. Yesterday, for the second time this year, I attacked my closet. I cannot bring myself to spend money on a fancy organizer system because the easiest way to keep organized is to have less. Guilt about all the unworn or seldom-worn or just-in-case-I-lose-25-pounds-and-can-wear-again items add to both my closet and mental clutter, but putting that closet in order can make me feel my world is in order. I culled a few more items for the charity bag, and stowed the rest on skinny hangars or in dollar store baskets and lidded boxes. Clean. Organized. For now.
Many studies verify that clutter contributes to stress. I know it does for me, and yet that doesn't seem to stop our paper clutter cycle. Despite doing much of my reading, writing, personal business, and professional work electronically, the paper piles still sprout like weeds near favorite chairs, on the kitchen counter, and around this computer on the dining table. For several years I've been trying to get most of our necessary papers into e-form. The result is flash drives, hard drives, and clouds full of e-files and e-paper. E-clutter.
Procrastination is a major producer of mental messiness. I deal with avoiding things I need to do (which usually involves handling paper) by cleaning something, as if shining faucets and sparkling mirrors will have some impact on papers waiting to be graded. I often start some cleaning project, walk into a different room for some reason and start something else, and maybe even get distracted from that and begin a third activity, all the while mulling over what I really should be doing. Before I know it, hours have passed and I have three unfinished cleaning projects - with all their in-process messes, and papers that still need grading or bills that still need paying. What began as chaos just in my head has expanded into environmental mayhem. I can't be the only person on the planet who re-enacts this scene regularly, but I'm unaware of any 12-step programs for procrastination addicts.
Meanwhile, family members and friends are dealing with all manner of life-altering situations, some of which may cause detours in my own life's journey. I'm looking at my home full of knickknacks, paper piles, and corners that need cleaning. I have papers to grade, a checkbook to balance, recipes to organize, bills to pay. At this point I need a slogan I can live by: Life is messy. Get over it.