Friday, January 15, 2010

Organized Chaos

For the most part, I am a very organized person. As soon as I’m done using something, I put it back where it belongs so I can find it easily the next time I need it. This is something I’ve learned from my grandmother and I can still hear her wise words whispering in my ear, “Every item has a home.”

But, I don’t live alone and those other members of my household didn’t grow up listening to my grandmother repeating life’s instructions over and over again. Adding two toddlers to the mix and organized chaos is a very good description of my house.

Clutter might be another one.

To the untrained eye, those might look like piles of papers overflowing on my desk but, truly they’re story ideas I scribbled down and tossed into a file. A file which the children then opened and scattered all over the floor. In between changing diapers and running to the store, I simply had the children help me put the papers in a pile on my desk so I could go through and sort them properly later. Later tends to encompass a vast expanse of time for me. Later could be days, months, or possibly years. But, when I’m looking for that particular story idea, I know it’s on my desk among those other papers.

Luckily, I have better control over my books. Working as Assistant Manager in a bookstore for several years, I learned how to categorize my book collection. Yes, I have my nonfiction shelved in sections. History, over there, starting with ancient times to the present day. Biography, here, alphabetical by the name of who it’s about. New Age, religion, psychology, travel, and it goes on. This really helps me when I need information for a story I'm writing. Easy to find, easy to put back to use again. My fiction is, of course, alphabetical by author, series within that author are organized in order. I even have a children’s section for my kid’s, but I can’t say those books remain alphabetical. They don’t even remain upright and on the shelf, to be honest!

Those are the books I have displayed on my shelves in my library/dining room/computer room/playroom/work-out room. (My house is very small so, we had to combine a lot of rooms!) Even in the boxes of books I have packed away, I have them organized. This box is filled with authors of the last name A to C, and so on to Z. And those (many!) boxes I have stacked very neatly in my closet. To my husband’s dismay, I have claimed the closet as a sanctuary for my boxed books until we win the lottery and I can buy my dream home that has a room for a huge library, all for me!

My books are probably the only thing in my life that I could call organized at the moment, my writing might be a close second. I have files on my computer sorted with story ideas, current projects, research items, character sketches, among other things. Those are the files the kids can’t get to yet. I do stress, yet. Organizing everything else in my house is sort of a daily project that gets put on hold every so often when the kids are sick, I have to work, or other major events that happen in life occur, like washing dishes and folding laundry. Most of all, its time I need to learn how to organize. Time is that elusive file that just doesn’t want to fit into the cabinet. But, I’m working on it. A work-in-progress, shall we say?


  1. Love the title. I too organize my books by category and author. When I pack them away they get boxed in the same manner.

  2. i love this post!!!!! we are so alike!! millie

  3. With two toddlers, if you manage to write and organize at all, you've accomplished something incredible!

  4. I must have been born a bookstore employee because I group my books by subject. LOLLLL At last the great mystery is solved. I have purpose. I just don't make money doing it. Any tips on how I can rake in the cash? Seriously, I'd never find a thing if I didn't organize my books by subject. :)

    LOL: My word verification is "complexi". *snort* Like I am ever simple...