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Saturday, June 07, 2008

just in case

so back to the picnic and back to the questions. what if i need it some day for a super cool craft project?

ah, the what if . . . ah, the super cool craft project. the what if i need it someday people are certainly a category of clients i see. we all suffer from a touch of the what if. those with the worst cases end up with their preparations for what might happen impeding what is happening in their lives right now. it's groovy, i know but how can you make space for new things to come in to your life when so much is already there?

one way to begin to tackle the problem is to set some sort of time limit - one month, six months, a year - and ask yourself whether or not you've had reason to use the item within the time frame. now i know your answer might be "no, but i still might. what if . . . " give it away. in the unlikely event that you actually do need the item again, you can get it. you are choosing your space over your stuff.

now craft supplies are a whole other ball of wax (or ball of yarn and brick of wax as the case may be). it's easy for a crafty beaver (my all time favorite reality tv show team name - joan lunden, 2005) to surround him or herself with all manner of supplies for all manner of crafts. i myself once had nearly a whole closet full of random pieces and parts and yarn balls and foam squares waiting for genius. in my case, it worked because i had the space. when i moved in with my now husband, i had to make some choices . . . alas, i figured out how much space in the new house could be reserved for "what if craft supplies" and the rest had to go - donated to a very happy first grade teacher. the truth was that when i was itching to do a project, i never had exactly right stuff anyway so i'd go buy what i needed for the project and then keep the leftovers just in case. just in case what? just in case i ever needed an L shaped piece of cheap batting?

and that is the key - decide how much space you have in your house to devote to crafts and fill it up. when it's full, you're done. from there, something has got to go for something new to come in. this afternoon i came upon the craft organizer pictured above. the different compartments look like they might accommodate a variety of crafty endeavors and the barely visible little pockets on the side could hold some small tools. it takes great advantage of vertical space too. so that if you've decided that you have a foot of closet rod to devote to crafts, this might be a good way to do it. check it out at (they also sell it for purse storage.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

old job old news

so about that gal from the picnic. she used to be a teacher. she isn't one now. she may or may not be one again. a big source of her paper clutter is her old teaching stuff - lesson plans, quizzes, tests, good ideas, etc.

as a former teacher myself, i know how hard it is to toss this stuff. you spent hours and hours creating it. the same is true for most anything you've created. it's hard to separate all the time and energy you put into it from the actual product. forget about the usefulness of that product to you now or how much space it takes up in your current life. it was hard, hard work to create it and if you toss it you feel like you're devaluing all that effort.

what to do? well, i recommend taking a trip through it all. the picnic gal knew she had everything in there from an entire unit on to kill a mockingbird to grammar lessons for different grade levels. my guess was that she also had random copies of handouts, some student work and some not-so-great lessons that she used on those incredibly tired days after parent conferences the night before. purging all this excess would certainly give her (and her husband, don't forget about that guy) more space.

having been away from it for a while she would now have a more objective eye to consider her work. she should ask herself with each piece of paper, "how would i grade this"? no reason to keep work that has a bad grade. even if she went back to teaching, she'd be unhappy using it. as an added bonus, if she actually did go back to teaching and taught the same books again she could pull an organized file on each novel she'd taught before. that file would only contain the creme de la creme - her best work - which she could use as building blocks for future.

when i stopped teaching, i must admit i did this and hung on to my creme de la creme for a while. eventually i wanted to use the space for my current life more than i wanted to keep old lesson plans that reminded me of a past life.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

the organizer is in

regular readers of this blog may have wondered where i went . . . well, this past weekend i went to a picnic to celebrate a friend's birthday. within only a few minutes the conversation turned toward asking me a million organizational questions. newlyweds . . . he's a minimalist, she's a maximalist . . . so many questions about paper and craft supplies and gifts long ago received. what if i need it some day for a return to the career i left? what if i need it some day for a super cool craft project? how can i give away a gift that someone gave me? how can i give away a sweater i paid good money for? what do i do about 10 year old financial records that need to be shredded?

sound familiar? the good news about this gal is that she's aware of her challenges. the good news about her new husband is that he's aware of the challenges and he loves her anyway. sweet, huh?

i answered the questions for them on the spot over some yummy cabbage salad. i'll share them over the next several entries with you.