Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting organized is a good stress reducer

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial Page

I honestly don't know how people with young kids keep up with everything there is to do around the house and in life in general. People tell me that I seem to be a very busy person and accomplish a lot. It's true that I'm a very busy person, but I don't think I get more done than anyone else. I just have a big mouth about it and make it seem like I'm some sort of magician who happens to get a lot of things ticked off my to-do list every day.

I just do what I have to do, the same as everyone else. If you write down what you've accomplished in one day, you'll likely surprise yourself! Once you start realizing what you're capable of, you'll see that you are getting a lot done.

Most weekends, I end up cooking quite a bit so that I have lunches to bring to work and suppers prepared for when I get home. I do love to cook, but I also hate getting home tired from work and having to make a complicated supper on top of that. And since going to takeouts every night is part of my past, I insist on making supper most nights.

This takes up a lot of the weekend as I make casseroles for lunches, prepare boiled eggs in advance for breakfasts, make sure the refrigerator is stocked with goodies for cold suppers if I'm too tired to cook, etc. You get the drift.

Then there's the personal paperwork, such as taking care of bank accounts, bills, tracking the credit card slips and all those fun things. Just doing that sometimes takes an entire evening of sorting, filing and online banking, especially if I want to keep ahead of the game and not lose control over the filing system I set up a couple of years ago after years and years of languishing in paperwork disarray.

Back then, I couldn't find anything. The house was cluttered with boxes of unfiled paperwork and piles of junk. Quite frankly, I was in despair. Bills would go missing and get paid late, resulting in late charges that just made things more expensive than they already were. Appointments were missed.

I remember regularly taking bags of garbage out of my living room. I went from one long weekend to the next without doing my dishes. That's 30 days, folks. I ain't proud, but I did it. These days, there's no garbage lying around for 30 minutes, let alone 30 days. And the dishes? I don't have a dishwasher but even so, the dishes are done as soon as they're dirty. These days, it's rare that there are ever dirty dishes in the sink at all.

The dish and garbage situation was bad enough, but I honestly don't know how I managed to survive the paperwork mess that was my life. Tax time was especially difficult. It was beyond stressful. In fact, I went four years without filing a tax return because the thought of dealing with the mountain of paper was just too much to bear.

Eventually, a letter from the "tax man" advised me that they would be super happy if I would file a return -- please and thank you. That was the push I needed, so I started on the journey of getting my life in order and got back on track. Eventually, it took two weeks straight of sorting, shredding and a vicious "culling of the herd" of paper and junk to put some semblance of organization back into what I had.

Trust me when I say this: it was the best thing I ever did in my life. The clutter was gone. The stress was gone. I was confident again in my ability to get things done. The self-imposed pressure from eternal procrastination was gone forever. Once I accomplished what I once thought was impossible, I got the confidence and thirst to get even more things done. Although I procrastinate from time to time, the old me is long gone and I can't stand being disorganized anymore.

Since my major reorganization, there remains only one room in my home that is untouched. My son's room in the basement remains a disaster area to this day. When he returned to university a couple of years ago after living at home one summer, his mess just didn't get cleaned up. The room is still something out of a reality TV series about clutter. It's definitely next on my list, however. It will get done.

Once I get going, the garbage bags will fill up quickly and it will once again be a nice, clean, tidy space that I don't cringe at whenever I walk by. The door remains closed all the time. Once every couple of weeks, I open it and look in. I shake my head. At one time, my entire house looked something like that -- especially the basement. Chaos! Nothing in its place! Paper and "stuff" everywhere!

I have friends who are packrats and keep everything. Their living spaces are full of stuff. Full. I can't be judgmental because I was just as bad at one time. And hey, if it works for them, great. For me, however, the "stuff" just cluttered up my aura, so to speak. How could I make plans for the future if I was constantly walking over stuff from my past or worrying about taxes from four years ago? It's difficult to concentrate on the future when the past isn't handled and over with.

I don't do all this stuff now because I consider myself a keener. It's that I've chosen to feel good. I've chosen to be happy about coming home to a clean house. I've chosen to feel good about eating right. I've chosen to feel good about being organized and the confidence it gives me to get other things done.

So, my son's room is next. A complete decluttering, cleanup and paint job should take care of that. And once again, I will revel in the fact that more mess is out of my life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Today's Hump Day column...

... is about the joy and confidence one gets when they get organized! It's a great feeling!

Check out Hump Day on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will also be posted online here tomorrow.

If it's Wednesday, it's Hump Day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Someone needs to buy these kids some Lego or something...

Seems to me that hitching rides under (!!) moving trains for fun isn't exactly conducive to continued good health.

Monday, February 09, 2009

I used to love this show...

Life Goes On aired on ABC from 1989 to 1993. I can't believe it's been 20 years since it began!

Sunday, February 08, 2009