Clutter: A Self Reflection

Since I’m on an organizational binge I figured I’d post a self-help column. And by that I mean ‘help yourself by making a confession to the internet so that you feel guilty and are motivated to do something.’

When I decided to try my hand at freelance writing I worked between two different computers and also shared documents through Google Drive. It wouldn’t be uncommon for me to have 4 different versions of a project spread around everywhere I could stash them. I have finally decided to clean out all the unnecessary stuff and consolidate my documents in one place.

This is a big deal. My wife can spend 20 minutes just listing the places I randomly put things. That’s not her acting as the nagging wife stereotype, that’s her speaking the truth.

My name is Chris Burcham, and I make a huge mess anywhere I live. It’s not on purpose. Some of it is laziness, I’ll admit; it’s easier to leave an empty can or bottle or plate on my desk when I’m working than to walk down a flight of stairs. Don’t want to break the writing groove! That’s what I tell myself anyways. I will finally break down and clean up an area once it reaches critical mass and starts to bother me, or when Karen is trying to find out why all the spoons are missing. I try my best not to be a slob, I really do. To clarify, this is just mess, not a “Hoarders” style health hazard. This is more of a “too lazy to put my boot polish back,” which is staring at me right now from the corner of my desk. But then pump that up a ton.

Awakening the clean freak in me requires enough random things on my desk that it’s starting to become a typing issue. It is then I wonder who the hell put all those cans there.

I seriously rarely notice how messy I’ve been until it’s at the breaking point, and that’s the problem. I’ll move through the house with a list of things I want to clean and then end up writing or taking the dog out, or sitting down at my computer for hours to help the Allies win World War II.

So! Today I realized I at least need to keep the office clean. I’m more productive and happier when in order to find the most up to date copy, I don’t have to search through the 17 folders I use on each desktop. I’m starting with my computer. Cleaning up the desktop, removing the Microsoft Office Trial pop-up I have to click through whenever I try and open a .doc file in a different reader, stuff like that.

I even have a central writing folder now! With sub-folders where I can find things! This is probably the least exciting thing to read ever and I apologize for that, but every blog needs a boring entry covering a topic that a mom would be proud of.

But! I’m excited because I’m motivating myself to clean, even other rooms! Then maybe I’ll be able to find things.

Like my wedding band I misplaced 3 days ago and still haven’t found.

I’m ignoring my personal Gmail though. 4,579 unopened messages. A vast majority of those are just old newsletters I haven’t unsubscribed to, emails about an upcoming bill that I already know about, those things that I’m sure everyone is a bit guilty of. But probably not 4,579 times over. Also, it’s not too much of a priority because of how angry Karen gets whenever she sees my Gmail inbox.

She’s an “everything needs its place, oh God why do you have a mass of faded gas receipts on and around your night stand” kind of woman. She did know what she was getting into though. My wonderful wife will wait suggesting tidying up until I have 3 pairs of pajama pants stuck to my chair, and shirts on the floor that I can’t remember if they’re clean or dirty. To think about it, it’s probably because she knows that I’ll get a bunch of stuff in one go instead of light cleaning then slacking for a week.

I back up my projects regularly on an external hard drive now, but for all you established folk: do you have any advice on where to keep back-ups, or original files and the like? Or how you keep organized in general with your blog?

Also, because I apparently have the spatial awareness of a newborn baby, any tips on how you keep your workspace clean?

Oh, I almost forgot, I myself am obsessed with being hygienically clean and I’m somewhat of a germophobe, so yeah, I don’t get it either.

2 thoughts on “Clutter: A Self Reflection”

  1. Interesting post! Well, I use Onedrive (from Microsoft) and Google Drive for the backups of my computer files. Onedrive is interesting because it´s synchronized between my work computer, my home laptop, and my tablet. So whenever I’m working on a word file, anywhere I go, I can access my account, edit it there (word online) and it will be saved and sync to my other devices.
    I also use One Note as a placeholder where I can put everything. You can create subfoders there and just paste all the info you have and sync it to Onedrive. I hope you find this helpful 🙂

    1. Thanks! 🙂 And thanks for the advice! I’m not too happy with Google Drive so I just signed up for OneDrive. I’m thinking that will be a bit more useful for me since I just started writing on a Microsoft tablet. I just introduced myself to OneNote the other day.

Let me know what you think!