My desk is cluttered.
My reading spot is cluttered.
My relaxing spot is cluttered.
The rest of my home is fairly neat, but the places that I land for any length of time seem to be magnets for things. Piles of things.
I am engaged in numerous tasks when at the computer. Editing photos. Writing blog posts. Emailing friends. Researching future articles. Eating lunch. Drinking tea. Planning a trip. Learning from a new online course. So I have handwritten notes that I have gathered from meetings or seminars or just brainstorming. I have magazines and books as references. The camera and SD cards are here, as are receipts that need checking and exercise DVDs to remind me to get up and move on occasion. Things. Things that I use. I might need them in a few minutes or tomorrow or next week.
I have a rocking chair in front of the fireplace and a sunny window that is my favorite reading spot. The iPad is there to check the New York Times with my morning coffee. Magazines and catalogues on the windowsill are within easy reach. There are books that I’m currently reading. Yes, plural. Only one fiction at a time but there’s usually a poetry book or travel tome or art history or cookbook. I keep them all handy because I haven’t finished them.
If I watch a movie or Netflix in the evening, I will also be grooming the dog, doing my nails, knitting, drawing, coloring (I am addicted to adult coloring books), sorting mail, or working on the laptop. All of those activities require things. I keep the necessary accouterments around the chair so that they are easily accessible and I won’t have to go searching for them if and when they are needed. I know if I begin a search, I will find other things and forget my original task.
Now the rest of my home is fairly well organized. I am generally good about returning tools and clothes to their assigned resting places. I pick up dirty dishes. The dog is not so good about putting her toys away but she doesn’t have too many toys.
My mother and teachers and the media tried to train me to believe that messiness is evil and unproductive. Many, many books have been written on “how to” declutter, organize, catalogue out lives. I have read, or skimmed, several. However, I have not changed my cluttered ways. From early childhood I have organized by stacking and sorting my stacks. I no longer hide the stack under my bed. They are generally on display.
There are times when some alien spirit moves me to declutter. Everything gets put on bookshelves, in drawers and boxes. All out of site. My space has the illusion of pristine organization. I feel superior in that realm. Superior to whom, I do not know, but I do become a bit smug and think with a British accent.
Does decluttering make me more productive? Is my natural clutter unproductive?
A few months ago I sorted the myriad of the images that I had clipped from FaceBook, Pinterest and random newsletters that were cluttering my computer desktop and organized them into an Inspiration book. I actually had the book printed and now keep the hard cover copy next to my rocking chair.
Within 24 hours of sending the book to print at Blurb, I had started accumulating another round of clippings. Inspiration Volume II must be in the future.
I am not productive in a highly organized environment. I am always searching for something even when I don’t know what that something is. My clutter feeds my imagination and leads to a bit more creativity.
I am never bored. If push comes to shove, I can always sort through piles.
I operate on the theory that all of the books, magazines, and interesting activities that surround me also inspire me. Hey, I’m writing about it!
How do you deal with clutter?