No matter how much you try, there are some resolutions that seem to be impossible to keep. This is certainly true in my case, no matter how many starts I make, it seems to never happen. For whatever reason, it is difficult for me to have a clean basement and an orderly desk.
When I was in the newspaper business, I had a habit of cleaning the papers off my desk every night. If possible, I wrote every story that I had before I went home. It was a system that was important since in the news business you are inundated with paper. I’m sure that has changed now as many news items come in via e-mail.
Nearly a decade ago when we retired from the newspaper business, the first task that was to take place was cleaning and organizing our basement. Sadly, I must report that hasn’t happened. While the stuff in the basement has been rearranged many times, it certainly isn’t what most people would consider as being organized.
For example, Jean has always felt that garden tools, etc., should be hung neatly. I have my own system. I stack all the tools in a corner, and that seems easier than hassling with a hook. I have to admit there are times when they can be hard to find, but I look at that problem as being a game. When you get older, it is important that you continually exercise your memory, and I accept the challenge of trying to remember exactly where I have stashed a shovel.
I have said this many times, but a good scapegoat is blaming other family members. If you have a full basement, everyone sends something for you to store. No matter how much you get rid of, another stock seems to appear magically.
Someone suggested having a garage sale to move some of the stuff, and that seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, since Jean and two daughters combined for a sale, more stuff showed up. I have learned that anything that shows up for the garage sale inventory stays forever.
I thought about working on the basement one Saturday, but I decided that watching college basketball was more fun. Someday I will get to the basement . . . well, maybe.
I decided that I could get that feeling of cleaning success by starting on my desk upstairs. I have a home office in a guest bedroom and I have developed a unique filing system, just stuff whatever you aren’t sure you want to throw away in a drawer and forget it. I decided it was necessary to get rid of some stuff when I found a list detailing how to restart the old Chieftain typesetting computers in case they failed due to Y2K.
I started with a drawer that was full of file folders. It was a fairly simple task to neatly file my years of football statistics. Well, it was simple, until I started looking through them and began to reminisce about games in years past.
It was here that I met the first quandary of cleaning a desk. Do I keep the paper files or toss them since virtually everything is on the computer? My decision was simple and, yes, old fashioned. Computers can crash, while paper files remain forever.
I was able to get my desk in some degree of order. I now have drawers for various categories of stuff, however, the problem that I will face is making sure I take enough time to properly place material in the correct file.
I thought about removing some files from my computer. I have no need to keep a decade of “Remember When” columns or a variety of non-essential letters. Yet, I faced the same problems as I did with football stats.
No, I’m not through with my cleaning resolution for the year. However, I will probably do what I have done for the past decade — I will put it off until sometime in the future when I have nothing better to do. On the other hand, I always seem to find something more important to occupy my time.