Have you ever considered learning to knit or crochet? Perhaps you should. It could help your all around mental health.
I have discovered that I like the mind-numbing meditative comfort of knowing I can make the hat pattern I make all the time. I have to focus a bit at the beginning of each hat and count the stitches in each row before moving on, but then I can just crochet and talk to those around me without fear of messing up. It is very relaxing and enjoyable as long as my carpel tunnel doesn’t act up too much.
The fact that most of the hats I make will be given to the homeless and help make them warmer and let them know that someone cares about them only makes it that much better.
I can carry the things I need to make each hat in either a quart or gallon sized slider plastic storage bag. Easy enough to tuck into my tote bag or toss in the trunk so I can always have something constructive to do. Much of the yarn I use to make the hats has been donated to me for this purpose. It is my pleasure to find ways to make almost every hat unique and beautiful. I especially enjoy using variegated yarns because you never know what sort of pattern you will end up with. Note the diagonal striping in the brown hat shown below. I have fun putting different yarns together to see how they will turn out. See some of the photos below to see how pair different solid color yarns with the same variegated yarn can drastically change the way it looks. Here are some of my latest creations. So far, I have made 24 hats in 2017.
On Wednesday, 6/14, I spent a total of about 3-1/2 hours working in the office. I didn’t intend to work so long, but I had pulled up a video on NetFlix to watch that didn’t really require much actual watching, just listening. It was a two-hour video and I told myself I would just putz around a bit while I watched so I wouldn’t feel so guilty about not doing anything constructive. I started out by moving the boxes of paper that were so overfilled they had become piles. I decided to disconnect my desktop computer and pull out all the wires. I wiped everything down to get rid of the thick coating of dust that had accumulated. I found I had tons of things connected to my computer. A few were disconnected but never reconnected because I want to reevaluate whether I even use them. I figure I will reconnect them if and when I need them.
One thing led to another and before I knew it, I could see some real progress. As the saying goes, things had to get much worse before they could get better. I felt like I was making a huge mess when I moved things out of the way to wipe the desktop and get rid of all dust bunnies hiding everywhere. Apparently, I don’t have a dust allergy. I tried arranging things a little differently but discovered they wouldn’t work in the new places I thought I would put them, so things went mostly back the way they were but without the piles of paper and clutter. Here are the before and after photos.
What are you worth? I have discovered lately that I am worth having a clean space to call my own. It is worth the hours I will put in to sort through every single thing in my office to clean it out, organize it and make it mine again. I am worth having a clutter-free space to work in. As I sort through everything I am finding many things that cause me to question why I thought they were worth hanging on to at all. If you keep piles of paper long enough, eventually an awful lot of it will become trash and thus easier to part with.
The things that are worth keeping are sometimes hard to decide how they should be kept for easy retrieval later and where they will be kept. I have had to get brutal and peel the layers away one at a time to get down to what I really think is worth keeping. Do I love it? Does it bring me joy? Do I need it? Will I be able to find it when I do? Could I let Google find it for me the next time I need it? Could I maybe scan it or take a photo of it and store it on a computer or hard drive for future reference? How do I know which way is the best way and is it worth all this effort or would I be better off pitching it and moving on to the next piece of paper?
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.
On Monday, 6/12/17, I put in another 3 hours of sorting and tough decision making to get a lot more accomplished in my office.
One problem I am coming up against is that until I am done going through everything, I really have no way of knowing how I want to store the things I keep.
I started by telling myself I was just going to clean out one easy drawer to put my bullet journal supplies in so they were easy to get to and off the top of the desk.
Top drawer on left file cabinet (After)
After that, I decided I needed the other small drawer under this one for additional supplies, so I kept going.
Now you might be asking yourself what I did with the weights and such from the top drawer, and that was one of those tricky things I mentioned. I put them on the bottom shelf I had already cleaned. In theory, I am telling myself I will use them more if I see them. They were after all, out of sight and thus out of mind. So here is what that looks like now.
By this time I was getting excited about the amount of progress I was making and I was enjoying listening to an audio book while I worked. So, I told myself I was just going to try to make a little bit of progress on the left side of my desk because the height of the piles was beginning to make me nervous and they really bothered me. Here is how it looked when I started, and while I made some progress, it will still need another pass or two before I am finished.
Things go a lot worse as I covered the entire desktop with various piles as I sorted. I wanted to stop a few times but I told myself just another inch of the pile, then I would stack it all back there neatly. It is difficult to know what to do with things once they are sorted because until I do something about the file cabinets and the china cabinet there is no place to put papers I am keeping. I persisted and peeled a few layers off this particular onion and finally got to what I considered to be an acceptable stopping point for the night. After pitching some and recycling some and putting a few things away where they belong, for now, it looks like this.
Now, finally, I am getting somewhere! Now I wish I had tackled this back in January when the piles were smaller. I moved everything that was on that section of desktop and washed the surface and let it dry before putting everything back. Now, I can look and see real progress. It feels good. I have reached the point where I know it can happen and I know I won’t give up before it is finished. Do I have a long way to go before I am done? You betcha! But I can do it. I can see that now. I think my confidence in my ability to finish the project was buried deep under all those piles of paperwork and such on the desk. No worries, I found it. Stay tuned. Now I am wondering how quickly I can finish the whole office. End of June? Fourth of July? End of July maybe? We shall see.
I know you are all wondering if I am actually working on the office clean out. Posting my photos of shame for all the world to see is extremely motivating to me. It is just the accountability I needed to spur me into action.
I tackled the little library shelf first. All I had to do was return a few library books so it was under control again. That got done Friday 6/2 since I was going to the library on Saturday for a meeting and could easily return them without a special trip.
Then I finally got around to doing a little more on 6/10. I worked on going through 2 of the file drawers and while I didn’t completely clean either one out, I did find lots of things I could throw away. Many of these articles and printouts were from the late 1990s! Not worthy of update photos yet but here are the 2 I worked on.
There is at least a little wiggle room in them now and several empty file folders. These drawers may be like peeling an onion…it may take getting rid of a layer or two at a time.
Sorted through the magazines stacked on the saddle stool. These are possible ideas for submitting freelance articles, so not ready to get rid of all of them yet. Eventually, they will be given a new home when the room is made somewhere else in the office to store them.
Probably the most noticeable thing I accomplished was cleaning and wiping the dust off the glass and metal shelf in the corner between the doors. Not much actually came off the shelves, but they look so much better now. I even moved it and swept the dust bunny out from under it.
It still feels overwhelming but begun truly feels like half done right now. I am excited by the small amount of progress I have made and want to keep the forward motion going. Will check in again when there is more to report. Stay tuned!