Paper: Organization’s Foe

I recently got the opportunity to participate in a local home and garden show, and part of the fun was creating my display. I decided to take two identical bookshelves and set up one as a typical home office “before” and the other as an “after” example of one way to organize that same space. Of course, to do that, I needed lots of paper and I don’t have any I’m not using. It’s become automatic for me to open the mail over the recycling bin, to weed out my own files regularly and to take a stern line on incoming paperwork from school.

I set aside a tray to collect my junk mail and see how much paperwork I could collect for the “before” display.

It didn’t take more than a few days before the tray was full and I had to find a crate.

I’d completely forgotten how irritating it is to have a bunch of paper cluttering up your space. After a few days, I found myself avoiding the part of the office where the tray and crates were. They bothered me.

So that was interesting and I was all set to write a post about how paper clutter is the most irritating of them all, when something even more insidious happened. I got used to the level of low-grade irritation the papers were causing and forgot the cause. I no longer tut-tutted at the crates but I was still feeling stressed out by my office. I had no idea why. I just put off going in there.

Built the display, created a realistic “before” set of shelves.

Remembered why I’d been avoiding my office. Realized once more why I love my job so much — I help people get rid of stress and tension they may be blaming on all sorts of other factors but that come from living day in and day out in a cluttered environment. It’s not until it goes that we realize how much it was affecting us.

Just for fun, here’s the “after” shelves:

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Joyful Surroundings LLC

Everything feels better with an organized home!

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