Thursday, January 7, 2016

Digging out in January!

I may be the only person who loves January.  I say that honestly even though I am tucked at my desk with giant wool socks and a blanket and a pair of warm dogs to keep me alive. Outside it is minus 15 F. with the wind chill.   Don’t ever let anyone tell you wind chill is not a real thing!

It looks like this from my window.  

But I am inside.  Christmas and New Year (and all the fun that the season brings) are over!  This year it seemed that every person we knew had at least one social event.  I am trying to disguise my four brand new pounds with layers of sweaters. 

Even so, I love January, because it is a clean slate, a time of new beginnings.  January is my one kick at the de-cluttering can.  I love it.  This year our recycle bin will win some kind of quantity prize, I’m sure.   The award for most useless paper pile goes to … MY NAME HERE.

First and most critical stop on the de-cluttering tour is my office. Since last January, every piece of paper and object in my office has either moved around or multiplied. Some have done both. Books have left their regular homes and migrated to the sofa, the floor, the stool and the chairs. Yes, there were some on the desk too.

In fifteen to thirty minutes a day this week, I have already found four missing books, six (!) misplaced memory sticks, hiding in a cute little decorative box and buried under books.  Three treasured recipe clippings and our family cookbook were located in a place they must have walked to, because there’s no other logical explanation. 

My two-pound wrist weights were hiding in the drawer with the small envelopes.  They’re now back where they belong.   And then there were the glass knitting needles … not sure where they should reside, but they’d make a good weapon for a book in future (note to self!). 

I am also still scratching my pointed little head over the discovery of two ‘cat hats’ (made for a particularly silly blog about the princess dachshunds trying to trick the cat next store into letting down its guard “Here Kitty Kitty”). Not sure how the hats ended up in the shelf with the file folders and printer paper.   

All kidding aside, but disorder breeds when there are multiple demands, deadlines and generally rushing about.  Drafts, edits and proof reading take a toll and the edits and page proofs often require very quick turnaround, meaning everything else goes on the back burner!  I have to work from printed paper so have to print things out. I miss too many errors on-screen.  So the mess is all mine and I can’t blame it on anyone else.  Lucky there are tools for the great dig-out.

There’s a shelf of organizing books in this office but the one I find most helpful is Death Loves a Messy Desk, one of my own from my Charlotte Adams series.  This month, I’ll use the tips at the top of each chapter in Death Loves a Messy Desk to help me conquer my own self-induced writer’s clutter.  

I’ll add this new tip: Stop clipping recipes and articles start saving links instead.  Note to self: Really, self, six month old recipes are so not appealing.  

My long-winded point is that this office clearing exercise is fun!  It’s indoor, calming and a half-hour a day will change my work world.  I could put on some Classic Rock if I wanted to pick up the pace. Or some Baroque music if I need to calm down.   Either would be lovely and in the end, I’ll have a calm and organized space, at least until the next edits.

How about you? Got any January tips or suggestions?  Maybe you’ve just decided to curl up and read and you'll offer that as advice.Let’s hear what you have to say!