Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baby Steps

There are two things I know for sure about myself.

First, any changes I make have to be made slowly. If I jump into a diet, I find myself elbow deep in a tub of Double Chocolate Ice Cream by the end of the day. I have to take baby steps and incorporate changes slowly. That's how it will be with learning to take control of my house...changes will happen slowly, but hopefully this means they'll stick.

Second, I'm so much better at one time tasks than ongoing projects. I can analyze a need and set up a system, but struggle with maintaining that system. I can bury myself in a huge project, go through the checklists, produce a completed project, but struggle with consistently performing a daily task.

So, knowing this about myself brings me to my first change. The Mail. It's a never-ending project. It should be small and simple, but every single day the mail man drives up to my house and adds more to the mess of envelopes I still need to go through...ugh. Junk mail to toss. Papers I set aside to read when I have time!? Bills to pay. Explanation of benefits from the insurance company...and what am I supposed to do with that? Rodney's work mail. Announcements from church. And occasionally a sweet note or gift...usually from Amy or Janene.

I find myself organizing the mail into piles, then moving the piles to make room for something else I'm "organizing". Then moving it off the table so we can eat. Then after a day or two, I'm not sure where that bill is I need to pay, or that envelope is I saw for Rodney from his corporate office. And then I'm a panicky about it and usually in trouble if it's something Rodney's waiting on. Oops.

Over the past two years I have taken the initiative to do a few things about I said, slowly.

First, making sure Rodney gets his work mail...I installed a mail box near the door where he comes in at the end of the day. All of his mail (and other things I find laying around the house) go in this box. That way I'm not pilling stuff on his desk...or piling his stuff in my kitchen, only to lose it after a day or so. I can stop by this mail box on my way in to pull out his mail and stick it in his box and then I never have to worry about it again...ever.

I also decided to make a purchase for myself...a real desk. And I put it right in the middle of the house, where I can easily get to it to drop off the bills. They're in one safe place. They don't get moved over and over. And I set up online bill pay...after missing a number of bills following Clinton's birth. This way my car payment, HOA fees and other regulars are set up to pay themselves...and I can pay my others whenever I want, telling them what date to go out. Fabulous. And at some point I'm going to get brave enough to accept all my bills online, but for now I still take comfort in holding the paper copy.

My newspapers and magazine still have a tendency to pile up, but I'm sure Martha is going to help me with the magazines in the future...and the papers I've just about resolved. I know exactly where to go for local events, which is what I'm interested in. I scan that section, pull what I need, and toss the rest in recycling.

But Martha also had another great suggestion. There are sites you can go to and register to be taken off of junk mail lists. It was so easy. There may be some additional individuals I need to contact, but for now I'm hoping a big chunk of the junk will disappear from that box in my driveway that keeps spewing paper at me. Click here for Martha's tips regarding junk mail.

For the sake of saving paper and sanity,

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