free html hit counter

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Purge - Part I: The Beginning

Once upon a time, when we first moved into our house, we set aside one of our front rooms to serve as a home office. My computer lived in there, along with our networking equipment, musical instruments, cameras, and other typical home office accoutrements. Decorated in a zen dojo style, it was to be a calm oasis of quiet contemplation, intent productivity, and uplifting art.

Yeah, right.

It actually served those purposes fairly well for a while. The oriental motif hasn't ever been executed to our satisfaction, but hints of the flavor are there. From time to time it has fallen into varying degrees of disarray, but after a few hours of decluttering it always bounced back...mostly. In truth, we seldom got it back to 100% of what it like was before. Usually the best we managed was 98% or so, which didn't seem bad at the time, but was actually just good enough to give the impression of completely restored order.

The problem with that is that the second time around, we'd only get about 98% of the previous state, or about 96% of the original order. The 2% lost in each cycle would just be little things pack-ratted here, some minor paperwork awaiting filing stuffed into a drawer there, a piece of old computer gear stuck over yonder. Nothing major or disturbing, just...cruft.

Unfortunately, that organizational entropy adds up, and the deterioration only accelerated after my iBook evolved into my primary computer a couple of years ago. After 20 or so straightening cycles, my guess is that we're down to about 60% of our ideal organization. At that level, the clutter is really distracting, and when I recently found myself wanting to use our office space for work again, I was simply unable to mentally function in the room.

The only solution was a real purge and intervention.

In order to understand how profound this action is for me, let me give you an idea: If you're familiar with Clean Sweep on TLC, know that I cannot watch that show. Watching other people throw things out like that literally and physically stresses me to the point that I start to become ill. I'm not nearly as bad as most of their guests, but on a spectrum between those people and a monk, I know which end I'm closer to.

Hi, I'm Ryan, and I am a packrat. It's something that I'm aware of, and I'm working on it.

We thought about trying a less drastic, more incremental approach, but we were afraid that it would just amount to another straightening cycle, and that we'd let it drag on until we lost our will. By completely purging the room, we can keep our momentum going, while the mess it makes of the rest of the house will motivate us to finish it quickly.

So for the past two nights, we've spent several hours removing everything from the office. The only things that are staying are a couple of pieces of furniture that won't fit through the door without being disassembled, and they may come out yet. Once everything is out, we'll be thoroughly cleaning the room, assessing our needs for new or different storage and furniture, then sorting through everything to decide what goes it, what goes elsewhere, and what simply goes away.

I'm really determined that most of it is going away. I really want to try to achieve that calm zen oasis we've been aiming for these past 6 years.

When we're done, I'll post "after" pictures. I'm not posting any before pics because a) we don't really have any and it's already too late, and b) I'd be too embarrassed to show them to anyone.

Wish us luck!

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home