‘She files in piles,’ my staff used to explain when they noticed visitors trying not to be aghast at the seeming chaos in my office. It’s true. No matter how many times I pledge to follow the advice of time managers and organizational experts to ‘touch each paper only once.’ Papers pile up on the top of file cabinets, under the desk, on end tables. I diligently label files and then don’t put things in them. I’m working on that, I think. I’ll need it this week. Or next.
I start out with one pile per client or project or volunteer board. Then two or three piles because a client has several projects. Then the piles begin to melt into each other. Once a year – maybe twice – I sort through the piles, vowing to tidy up. Some of the papers actually make it into the neatly labeled files in the file cabinets. Some wind up in the wastebasket. Most wind up right back in piles. I’m working on that. I’ll need it this week. Or next.
My mother raised me to be neat, so this is certainly not her fault. I know all the right things to do. I just can’t seem to make myself do them. This lackadaisical attitude toward cleaning spills over into housecleaning. I believe things are clean, just messy. I tell myself that anyway.
Luckily friends and family call before they show up. With even 15 minutes notice I can run a dust cloth, push papers into neat piles, shove everything else in a drawer.
I try not to think about what’s accumulating on the carpets in between the truly infrequent times I pull out the vacuum. My real salvation, though, is that most of our floors are hardwood or tile. Thank heaven for Swiffer!
The other day, I was brushing my teeth and glanced toward the bed. Dust bunnies were creeping out from under and making a dash for the door. I grabbed the Swiffer. Even I know it’s time to clean when …