Tag Archives: organization

Cats and KonMari

11 May

I just want you to know that after my last blog post, Monk was really lovely for about three straight days. I started to feel a little bad for publicly shaming him. Then one day I was washing my face and as I bent over to rinse, all soapy-eyed and disoriented, suddenly he launched from the back of the bathroom toilet to the back of my body. I stood up and yelped and he got so scared that he dragged his claws down my back to hang on for dear life.

So. I have to get a second cat now.

cat face

Illustration by The Gross Uncle. Check him out on Twitter!

I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been thinking for a while that I’m starting to look older than I feel, and while a portion of that is just the reality of aging, a serious part of it is that I wake up at least 3 times that I can remember the next morning from Monk just pushing shit off of shelves and onto the floor. All night long. I can play with him, feed him, let him sleep on my face, open windows for him, let him push through all the blinds and break every single set in the house – doesn’t matter. He thrives in chaos. He wants to watch the world burn.

I feel bad for whichever future cat has to put up with him. I’m just hoping it helps him chill out. Probably best if it’s a really fat one with a strong batting arm. And maybe an unnerving stare. It’ll be super weird and change the vibe of my apartment, but I’ll probably be able to do something about these bags under my eyes.

Partially because of Monk’s inability to allow things to be on open, horizontal surfaces, and partially because I recently read Spark Joy: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I’ve developed a sort of obsessive habit of organization and systemization in my house.

One would think that with all my office jobs, I would have employed approaches to organization in my own home, but it really hasn’t worked that way for me. You might recall this from my frequent posts about the disgusting filth that is my apartment. If you need to get caught up, I think this shining diamond where I admit to hanging fly tape around my apartment and lived in filth until two flies mated on me will do the trick.

Apparently that’s the final straw for me: flies fornicating and turning my limbs into their love den.

Anyway I read this book on the life changing magic of cleaning up your crap, and it really flipped a switch for me. And like anything good in my life, I’ll just way overdo it until it’s actually kind of harmful.

If you’re not familiar, Spark Joy is a book about the KonMari method. You might be familiar with some jokes about it. They boil down the KonMari philosophy to hugging all of your possessions to feel whether or not they bring you joy and then ditching them if they don’t. It’s quite a bit more complex than that, but I have to admit: she does tell you to hug things. I skipped that part. I can get a sense of my level of joy from just looking at something. It comes along with my knack for being distant and judgy.

The more complex elements of the book involve proper use of containers, assigning everything a place, and giving everything you own enough room to breathe. Clutter is actively sought out and destroyed. Boxes begin to form systems that then run the regular functions of your life almost automatically.

This might not be true for everyone, but it’s true for me.

I took a note from the KonMari method that I needed to arrange my life in a way that best suited the things I do every day. Why, oh why do I get my makeup out of the bag every day, use it, and put it back in the bag? I should just keep it out and find a way to  present it so that looks all right while it’s out so and I won’t feel like the place is a mess. Also: why do I put the things I often need in hard-to-reach, ridiculous places? Why do I let a cupboard in my house be continually overflowing so that every time I open the door I get upset?

Of course, this sort of life-changing magic is what I probably need on my quest for super humanism, so I’ve basically gone section by section through my house and eliminated these occurrences. I know where almost everything is, I have implemented quick and easy systems, and my whole apartment is almost entirely customized to me.  

I think it’s beginning to be a problem.

I have a lot of systems now, and I really don’t like things to be out in the open. If I have clutter in an area because I’m working on a project, the materials all need to be in a basket or a bowl. All the cheese in my fridge goes in its own basket. Things I have to do are organized by section and type. I now have a To Do List template that breaks up my to-dos into correspondences, errands, tasks, and notes. Yesterday I asked our graphic designer at work if she could make me a desktop screen for my computer that was separated into labeled sections for my desktop icons to be visually filed.

I started to really wonder if I was having an issue when I insisted that my dirty silverware sit in a bowl in the sink because the look of them scattered all over the bottom of the sink made me kind of crazy.

At least I’m not hugging them all?

Admittedly, I think things are getting a bit out of hand. I was meal prepping for the week (putting lunches together for work) and decided to overhaul my kitchen cupboard with boxes for each type of lunch item: grains, bars, spreads…I just think it’s gone too far.

Of course I can’t just go back to letting things go; I have a monster cat on the prowl and if I leave my craft supplies out mid-project he will knock them to the ground. I can’t leave a ponytail holder out without him putting it in his teeth and carrying it to a hidden nest he’s made somewhere in the underbelly of my living room couch (THAT’S WHERE THEY ALL GO).  He has some strange obsession with seltzer water that means I can’t even put my drink on a table and walk way. If I do, he’ll knock the entire thing over and act like it was that way when he found it. Like I said: he just wants to watch the world burn.

So I guess I need to start searching the cat adoption sites again. Actually, a cat café just opened up near me (this is real. This is not a test). It’s a place where you can get coffee and hang out on the bottom floor or go play with adoptable cats on the second floor. Maybe I’ll just go take a look real quick – you know, just to see what’s there.

If I find a 20 pound one with a real mean stare, I’ve got a winner. 

foot eater

Illustration by The Gross Uncle. Check him out on Twitter!

Love Letter from a Type A Millenial

5 Apr
No Para Innita

This image that I adore is by No Para Innita. If you like it too, check out their Flickr and MySpace

As I was poring over my blog drafts of Jacklyn Past to support my post-a-week throwdown, I unearthed a few old emails that I wrote long ago and inexplicably saved on my hard drive. ..Sometimes I write drafts of emails in Word before copying and pasting to Gmail because I’m a deeply awkward and burdened person in a variety of constantly shifting and exciting ways. While working my way through this thick brush of unnecessary digital recordkeeping, I found an old love letter to The Dave.  

Sometimes living as a Type A – that is, one type in a personality theory that is characterized by drive, competition, and a predisposition for stress and heart disease – is burdensome. I would very much like to go to restaurants and not notice the plague of spelling errors that descends upon their menus instead of focusing on the detailed descriptions of food. I would like to, sometimes, be able to just shut the hell up instead of coaching myself to breathe and stay calm when someone asks a question to a group that I know the answer to. I would like to, from time to time, not express my deep and unabashed love for my partner in strange and seemingly robotic ways: by compiling organized and tabbed binders of his important papers, by completing detailed agendas and itineraries in advance of our travel dates, or by writing love notes like this one:

Dear love,

When I opened Chrome and went to Gmail on my computer today, your inbox automatically loaded – supposedly you forgot to log out before your last session. I noticed that it was full of unread messages from the same several companies – urban outfitters, banana republic, and a variety of other stores who have captured your email as you’ve shopped – all newsletters that you clearly don’t read which just pile up in your inbox. Meanwhile, notices from the light company that I remember you were hunting last month were buried unread among them.

I imagine it must be daunting. So I went ahead and opened one of each of the generic emails from spammy companies and unsubscribed. I did not unsubscribe to anything that was not a big box store or that was from a group that only emailed you occasionally just in case you wanted to keep getting updates from those.

I then did a filtered search for all the items from those places from which I unsubscribed, and marked all of them as “read” so that your inbox doesn’t look full all the time with things you’ll never read and which aren’t truly tasks. I didn’t delete them; I just marked them as read.

I then reconfigured your inbox into three separate sections, so that the top is reserved solely for unread messages, the second portion is flagged messages, and the third is everything else. Now you can read an email, move on if you don’t care, respond if you do, or flag it if you don’t have time but want to keep it visible. 

I also enabled a coded flagging system so that you can mark a message with two different color stars (which can mean whatever you want), with an exclamation point (I demonstrated this by marking a few with it) or with a green check mark in case you want assurances that you completed something.

Anyway, I hope that you don’t find this invasive and that you’re relieved and this helps your workflow. You’ll see some old messages have moved to the top of your inbox now because once I got rid of all the spam or unread newsletters and marked it as read, it turned out you had very few emails of substance. 

It might be easier to stay on top of things now. If not, I’m truly sorry. Please let me know how you honestly feel about this. I closed out and logged into my email to send this message so my fiddling session is complete.

I love you.

Jackie

For reasons I cannot fully explain, The Dave and I just reached nine years together and are going strong in spite of moments like the one you just beheld. If you, like me, are a Type A, you can take comfort in this artifact and my recent anniversary celebration, knowing there is probably love for you somewhere. Someone out there will translate your sorting of their email inbox into what you intend (butterflies, romance, sparklemagic). Somewhere out there is a partner who will smile lovingly at your madness and try really hard to be grateful for the systems that you constantly force on them through your oddly-formed love language.

And if you’re not one of the burdened in our society and can’t find it in yourself to see the romance in their gestures, I urge you to at least exercise compassion for their painful existences. You’ll only have to do it for a short time; with the stress and heart disease and all, you’re almost certain to outlive us. ♣

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