A Busy Beaver’s Unorganised Wood Piles

Diane Lynn Tibert
The clutter can wait. My kids' favourite cookies can't.

It’s time. I’ve put it off long enough. My butt has to get in gear, my fingers have to start walking and my procrastination has to be slain. Regardless of how busy my life is, I must seize my disorganised mess and lynch it before it takes me down.

Being unorganised is about to drive me batty. I’m one more lost manuscript away from throwing myself on the floor and wailing like a three-year-old whose sibling ate the last mud cookie.

Yesterday while looking for a password – a very important password – I was left going through one stack of papers then another. After searching my day-planner – knowing I must have recorded it somewhere – and several other ideal locations, I flopped down in the chair defeated. The password was gone, never to be remembered because my brain is filled with the many things that I must do before I die. Of course, that might not be for fifty years, but I can’t live like I have all the time in the world.

Certainly, I don’t want to spend fifty years looking for things that should be at my fingertips.

It would be easier if I had a room, a wee one even, to hoard all my writing-related things, but I don’t. One is planned, but I don’t see it materialising before I lose something very important that hurls me over the edge of insanity. Instead, my material – computer, printer, paper, books, pens, manuscripts, dictionaries, documents and files – are spread throughout four rooms and three closets.

Time is at a premium between writing, working, house chores, my children, homework, horseback riding, art class and swimming. I attempt to place papers in the proper pile, but usually, the piles all come together. When it gets tall enough, I move it off my printer and onto a shelf. Then a new pile starts to grow on the printer. I have no idea how many piles I have; they eventually land in a tote where I promise to sort them but never do.
It wasn’t always this way. I used to be quite organised, perhaps a little over the top like Julia Robert’s husband in Sleeping with the Enemy. Everything was labelled and had its place. But my kids have worn me down, taken up valuable space that would have otherwise gone to neatly arranged shelves and cabinets and used up time I’d have spent putting everything just right.

Since I plan on keeping the kids – they’re too cute to give away – I must learn to organise around them. If I throw out everything no longer needed – such as those toys they haven’t played with for five years J — I might be able to create space for a tall bookshelf. Maybe I could empty out a closet and find that manuscript of the western novel I’d written fifteen years ago but haven’t been able to locate for five years.

I admit I’m a clutterbug. I have good intentions of sorting and organising but something always comes up – sketching kittens with my kids . . . taking in a movie with my sisters . . . building snowwomen . . . camping . . . fishing . . . beachcombing . . .

Has disorganisation slowed your progress? How do you keep all the writing-related papers – queries, rejection/acceptance letters, guidelines, manuscripts, notes, research – in order?