Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Handling Clutter: Beginning on the Den

Sewing projects just piled on pub table

Laundry to fold and clutter on pool table
My lifetime of organizational disasters come home to roost. These two photos are not the half of it. I more often than not do not systematically solve paper clutter, sewing, and laundry. Many times hubby picks up on a clue and folds laundry left on the pool table--what I have read is a great task for Alzheimer's loved ones. But this pool table mess is so unsightly and how I would love for us to uncover it and to use that pool table more often.

But I will get there with Clark's two-step sort routine. Mindy Starns Clark points out in The House That Cleans Itself that vertical files do not work. They are not efficient. I even have a set of vertical files set up by the paper shredded.

When I married my current husband in 2000 I had three four drawer files and one two drawer file. He said no to all but one four drawer file coming into our home. I remember sitting in storage in Tampa when I first moved here to marry my husband and getting rid of 3/4 of my papers then, or putting some of the old file contents in boxes instead of files; we donated those empty file cabinets. Hubby was correct and he did a marvelous job of filing papers until the Alzheimer's came and I had to take care of paper clutter of both of us. Still I have always had too much paper clutter and not just from mail. Blame it on broad interests, current counseling degree course work, writing and teaching perhaps. More on that two-step sort with later post after I have applied the system.

Time for Mrs. Clark's wisdom. Mrs. Clark says use temporary horizontal files. You use this for her two-step sort and at the time she wrote this book she had purchased a jelly rack/donut rack from a restaurant supply store. I saw a horizontal sorter in a classroom Monday when I substituted (photo at left below). I should have left a note for the teacher complimenting her on this great cart at the left. I searched my heart about all the "organizing" (really cluttering) I do on the pool table, the dining room table and elsewhere throughout the whole house. A temporary horizontal organizer would work. I found one for about $70 at Office Depot below at the right below.

Hubby was right again. Alzheimer's does not take wisdom and humor away from him!  After he shopped with me Monday after school he quipped, "And where will you put this cart!"

"In the den for sorting papers," was my reply.  Furniture will have to leave the den for me to use this 10-Drawer Mobile Cart Organizer from Office Depot. I have an idea what needs to leave. I also have an idea for rearranging the den so that I have a two-step sorting station.

Organize it for filing
Organizer from Office Depot in Box

Cell phone problems. After finding and buying this organizer in the box before the bookcase above right, we went to dinner. Getting back in the car after a wonderful dinner (not a careful Weight Watcher menu though),  I dropped my five year old cell phone on the concrete. Now Mrs. Clark had advised:
Compile a list of your most frequently called numbers in a Rolodex, address book, or notebook (p. 127).
I had not done that for all my cell numbers yet and this cell phone was broken beyond repair with contact cell numbers all destroyed as well. Too late for me to heed her warning.

Tuesday I got a new phone, well not just any new cell phone--an iPhone 4S since I was due for an upgrade at Sprint. Regularly VERY expensive, my upgrade cost was $106.99 plus I traded in old phones (found after hubby lost his and needed a new one) and got an Otterbox cover for it so IT won't break when dropped as I five-year-old one had.  (Of course the new iPhone 5 would have been much more expensive.) With my carpel tunnel hands I can speak a person's name to call them instead of use my fingers.  Now I am not putting Pinterest App on that phone yet, but I did put a PrayerMate App there, that had been lingering unused on my iPod in iTunes and I put the Facebook App.  Not putting the e-mail there yet. We need SOME discipline and boundaries in my life.

Short-term memory. Short-term memory caused my husband to leave one section of the front yard unmowed last Saturday and I am encouraging him every day to finish it.  When I leave the house, hubby has to know where I am going and when I will be back and I call him while I am gone when I get a chance. Tuesday I borrowed his cell phone. I called him when I got to the school where I was substituting as is the usual practice, and when I was on my way home. I called him saying I was going to Sprint regarding another cell phone. He expected me home at 5:00 PM, not 6:25 PM. But I did call three times to tell him WHY I would be late.

At home at 6:25 PM hubby was livid with me. "You were supposed to be home at 5:00 PM,"  he said showing me on his notes like a lawyer.

"I called you three times to say I was getting another phone at Sprint."

"No you didn't!" Probably he swore in this anger. I just let this outburst roll off my back. Later he forgot that he was angry with me, another evidence of short-term memory of his disease. I have become fairly used to these sundowning episodes and his short-term memory.

Devotional area. I would say that my Scripture reading and prayer are huge in my life as a lovegiver/caregiver for my husband. Mrs. Clark writes:
Whatever you choose to include in your devotional area, the goal is to set up a permanent grouping of items that do not get carried anywhere for any other purpose (p. 88). 

This wonderful suggestion hit me hard. I have been using Daily Audio Bible for maybe five years, listening to Brian Hardin read through the whole Bible each year on iTunes usually at my computer in the den and getting distracted by e-mail, Pinterest, or blogs while listening to the Bible and "multi-tasking"!  Mrs. Clark calls such distractions "rabbit trails" and asks you to write down your rabbit trails in your notebook. One year I typed up my Scripture highlights to counteract this tendency. Or, I would listen to the daily Scripture on my iPod in the car with the car's speaker system. If it was Friday, I knew that this was the day I pray for Social Media friends, for example, and often during that day. But my devotional time was not "set apart" time--often multi-tasking time.

App for iPhones
Picking up on Mrs. Clark's suggestion my new devotional area is now in the family room. I have assembled materials there and can listen on the iPhone without that computer. No multi-tasking. The PrayerMate App can also be used in my new devotional area. This station is my new way to start the day before hubby gets up.

Do you have a clutter problem?
Do you have "rabbit trail" distractions?
What are they? 
Do you have a devotional station?

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