September 27, 2003

Cleaning House: online and off... Today was a sort of spring cleaning and organizing for our family. We have decided to make the plunge and leave Microsoft behind (atleast on one of our computers) and we (okay Serona) is installing Linnux on our computer. To do so meant we needed to go through all our old files and transfer those we wanted to keep to our other computer on the network, wipe the harddrive and install the new OS. Serona took on that arduous task and has spent the past three hours cleaning off our desktop and getting a laugh at some of the things we have saved.

While he was doing that I decided to tackle our paper files and clean them up a bit. We have a two drawer file cabinet in our basement which serves as an office and school and entertainment area. I've been wanting to clear out that file cabinet for homeschooling supplies and files, today I finally did. One drawer is kid resources: file folder games, felt kits, puzzles, manipulatives, felt letters, sandpaper letters, construction paper, writing paper, stickers and a few other odds and ends. The point was to have a kid friendly drawer that contains the supplies they need so they can help themselves. The rest of their supplies (markers, pencils, crayons, scissors, notebook and workbooks) are stored in their own individual desks. The bottom drawer is a mommy supply drawer. With things like our manuscript stamps for letters and numbers, my workbooks, lesson books, and my resource books and plans. Then I have a crate of miscellaneous supplies (extra notebooks, folders, binders, envelopes, etc) that is stored under my desk next to my general office supplies crate. I am happy with the organization and hopefully it will work long enough that I am happy that I did the work in the first place.

Doing all this cleaning and organizing helped me realize how much information we store and keep. It also got me wondering how much I really need to keep and how the best way to keep it is (both digital and hardcopy) and when should I get rid of it? I got to see some of my own packrat tendencies and also areas where I am disorganized and need improvement. I also realized how much this disorganization can hurt me (mainly I can not find what I want when I want it) and how "half-stepping" or trying to cut corners can only worsen the problem. For example Serona kept locating files I no longer knew existed or I had given up looking for awhile ago because they were too hard to find. The reason being when I created the file I didn't take the time to file it in a specific location leaving everything in a general "my documents folder". My pitiful defense tonight was "I am not against organization I just don't have time for it!"

Now I do know that organization will save me time and the extra 30 seconds it would have taken me to create a new folder and put it in it's appropriate location would have been time well used and saved me the 30 minutes I took in finding it. Lesson learned and I will try to improve and be more organized. I even filed all my bills and paperwork tonight and am caught up! Wow, wonder how long that will last?


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