Most of my clutter is paperwork, unfinished business related to having been a teacher. According to Beilbin’s theory, like many teachers I’m a ‘resource investigator’ (collector query hoarder). (I do have a handout on Beilbin somewhere I could show you, but it’s somewhere in the shed!).
I’ve spoken to other retired teachers, and it seems many of us have a problem letting go of teaching related clutter. I’ve certainly held on to dozens of Arch Folders and boxes full of teaching resources, some of them now well over thirty years old.
Recently, ‘DP‘, my multi-skilled gardener/maintenance person, made a valiant effort to address the cluttered state of my shed. Perhaps his flier dropped into your letter box too? (I’d show it to you, but it’s somewhere amongst my papers!). It’s chock full of all he offers to do, mulching, mowing and more .
I’m thinking of suggesting DP adds ‘professional declutterer’ to his flier. He’s proven to be particularly good at discreetly 'chucking out' and reorganizing paperwork in my cluttered shed without my having the nervous breakdown common among distressed hoarders when some well intentioned person intervenes.
About six months ago, after achieving a respectable semblance of order in the shed (a double garage actually), DP left a number of tidily stacked boxes full of disorganized paperwork for me to sort through, effectively and quite understandably passing some ownership of my problem back to me. I tackle the task rather spasmodically and am rather ashamed to have to admit that the shed is starting to look rather cluttered again. I really do mean to tackle it, but have found it too hot (in summer), or too cold (in winter), it starts raining, or I have something else to do-- and if I don’t, the thought of tackling the pile makes me tired and I head off for another siesta.
From time to time I select a ‘mind game’ to get me started –a coffee addict, I don’t allow myself to have a cup of coffee unless I take it to a cluttered area and begin sorting; I set a regular time slot for sorting during the repeat of Late Night Live with Phillip Adams (there’s a radio in the shed just for this purpose); I throw out 25 papers at a time or watch hoarder shows on television. The most effective strategy seems to be – imagining I might die in this cluttered state, and asking myself “what will people, (especially my long suffering sister, who’ll be looking at disposing of it after disposing of me in my paper coffin), think!?”
So, here’s my ‘Dear Unfinished Business’ letter...
‘Dear Paperwork Clutter,
I’m going to do something about you.... soon. I’ve been collecting ideas. I’m only going to keep you if looking at you gives me a feeling of pure joy. Apparently I’ll feel lighter as getting rid of you will be like lifting thirty or more years weight off my shoulders and I’ll be able to move on with my life....
However, before I do, I really do need a little siesta.
With much love.. and continuing angst....
Your disorganized owner,
PS I really was going to start just now, but suddenly there was a loud thunder clap... and I always have a siesta during a thunder storm!
Afterword - Writing this may have proved therapeutic. One day shortly after finishing it I spent a few hours in the shed, sorting! (I’m mindful that it’s early days though)