Monday, June 17, 2013

The Piling System

You know how it is. Sometimes, in order to complete a task you've told yourself, repeatedly, that you should get done, you have to reach a "critical mass" or some other trigger wherein not doing the task is worse than spending 4 hours doing it. I reached that point this weekend.

Witness the desk in the bedroom.

Let's see. We have my kilt but the location of my complementary sash is a mystery. There are books, mainly journals and books in which to record the books I have read or want to read. There are the scarves I'm giving as Christmas presents this year. And there are the papers, pages and pages of papers.

This is my "piling" system, as opposed to a normal "filing" system. with a few exceptions, all the papers are clustered together according to type but they are all sitting there, on the end of the desk, awaiting sorting and either filing or shredding. My last 3 years of income taxes are in this pile although they are in a folder. Health insurance information, refinancing documents, credit card receipts, vet bills for the girls and paid bills for several years; all of this is in this pile.

As the pile grew, so did my desire to do something with it but my procrastination also grew. I know what's in the stack, but finding it required sifting through paper and more paper and still more paper. What I need to do is not let it stack up this high to begin with. I know that but tell me you handle things right away. Yeah, I didn't think so either. You'll get around to it. Sometimes, you actually do, but I tend to just pile.

The "critical mass" for me was last month, when I picked up my monthly bottle of methotrexate. It cost me $71. Wait. Wasn't the month before only $35? Buried in this stack, and you can sort of see on the left under the kilt because they are blue, are receipts for my RA drugs. I thought back over the last 14 months of taking this stuff. It's never the same price from month to month. I think I need to call my insurance company and ask if they know why. But, before I do that, I want to lay out a spreadsheet of drug costs so I can track this. In order to do this, I have to have all the receipts from my drugs. I've actually got a folder with RA costs in it. Right now, it's kind of stuffed since it has everything in it, but I should have a folder for doctor visits and for tests ordered.

As long as I'm looking for all the blue drug receipts, I might as well sort everything and file it. Four hours and one and a half cans of seltzer water later, I have to take the paper recycling bin outside tonight so I can begin the shredding part. What this lead to was the perusal of files in the filing cabinet. I emptied and pitched the contents of 10 file folders. I had stuff saved from 1994. There were newspaper clippings, contest entries, gift receipts. I saved these why? At some point, they were valuable. Not anymore.

Now, all my tax information from each year is together, not spread over two drawers. The top one is personal stuff. The bottom one is important papers. Most things are labeled but one look and you'll know what it is.

In the end, the desk now looks like this.

At least one of the books probably could be removed from the stack. The rest are journals. To the left is still the kilt but with the sash found at the bottom of the pile. I need to take those to the cleaners. Under them is the mending, another thing on the list of things that need my attention. I found my pile of bookmarks, too, which was buried until the paper.

The important thing is that this long neglected task was done. Mija wasn't real thrilled with all the piles on the bed. She wound up plopping down in the middle of everything to register her displeasure at the bed being overtaken by paper. Once she saw I was sorting and filing, she moved to sit in the window and just watch.

At some point, I'll deal with the clothing on the left and then the whole left side of the desk will be empty. I think Murphy has a law about how empty surfaces attract piles. For now, it's a step in the right direction.

Beverage:  Lady Gray tea


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