Today, upon returning home with the mail, I opened the bills, wrote the checks for the bills, and put the bills in the envelopes, addressed and stamped them. I opened the bank statements, and filed them in my filing cabinet in the appropriate places. I put the bills in one of the 43 Folders on my desk — a date this month AFTER my school paycheck clears, but before the bills are due.
The school’s weekly bulletin got three-hole punched and put into my binder, as well.
F says that whenever you do something deep and meaningful and symbolic, there’s always a reward or a payback on a deeper level. (I’m misquoting him, and he’d be mad at me for doing that, so this is a reminder to look it up and put in the correct quote, but it’s in the big book and I don’t have time to unwrap it and look it up right now.) I’m finding this to be true with organization. Getting organized is at least as much about symbolic meaning as it is about throwing crap out. It’s not simply that you want to know where something is, as that you want to know what else relates to it. When I got my desk organized — a symbolic, meaningful and deep act — I got the payback that I could find stuff on my desk and in my filing cabinets. I could use a workspace which was a disaster before the clean-up.
One of my big projects for Christmas Break is to organize my bookshelves by Dewey Decimal System. Part of me is not looking forward to this, because it involves shifting every book I own at least two or three times; visitors to my place know that this is not an easy task (and you are welcome to visit — it’s probably a lot easier to visit me than it is for me to visit you during school). However, once it’s done — the payoffs should be tremendous. Rather than relying on my own memory of where a book is, I’ll be able to make use of the system to tell me where it should be. A deep, meaningful and symbolic system imposed on books will have payback on a deeper level.
I already have some suspicions of what this payback will be, because of all the sonnets about the seasons. By writing the sonnets about the seasons, I developed a set of tools to understand what minute changes were happening week-to-week over the course of a year (and two lunar years, now). The payback from the books will be similar — by shelving them DDS-style, I’ll be reminded of what books I own, and I’ll be reminded of what I know. There will be a re-integration of the knowledge I’ve obtained from the books on my shelves, simply by looking at them, and deciding what the categories to which they belong are.
The discoveries from my closets have been less flattering. I haven’t worked out or exercised nearly so much as I should be, and my diet has been expanding again. As a result, I really need to boost my participation with the fencing team, and we need to start doing calisthenics and running every day, again. Even so, this is a reward of another kind — I am capable of seeing what I need in my life, once the crap is expunged. Even the negatives have positive sides to them, and I find I’m enjoying the rewards immensely.