Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Hundreds Game

Neat and tidy is not exactly the way I roll, but there always comes that time when my study sinks into Hoarderville. Embarrassingly so. Even for me. Stacks of books interleaved with stacks of papers until they resemble a sliding mesa; notebooks from several different projects wide open and sprawled across the desk; paid and unpaid bills covering up the misplaced debit cards that must be here somewhere. This place is an Official Mess. I mean, only a bloodhound will be able find those cards (and the wallet they escaped from) in this wall-to-wall clutter. Though I’m sure they're close by and probably in plain sight. Somewhere. Like, oops, right there, under the collection of postcards I've been intending to mail, ahhem, sometime (cough, cough) soon.

But cleaning up and putting things away, jeepers, it’s just so bothersome, especially when you can’t even figure out where to start. Not to mention that you could spend all weekend on the project and barely make a dent in the accumulations. 

So lately, I've been playing a little game with myself that I call The Hundreds.  No, not where you get yourself down to one hundred things in your life (as if! ); this is getting one hundred things out of my study - each week. It's tidying up on the installment plan. Hmmmm, I could probably start with getting one hundred things out of my purse. Maybe then I could carry it without groaning. And maybe my wallet would fit in it and not be sliding around here on my desk, disgorging debit cards.

Here's how it works: I give myself a point for any one thing, big or little, that I put away or get out of the room. That useless lamp? To the curb! That collection of cups? off to the scullery with you! That spill of paper clips? Hie thee to the Clip Cup! And oh, yes, a piece of paper counts. I mean, let's get down with the motivation here.  One hundred pieces of paper is no small thing - there's a bankers box in front of me with at least that many pieces of paper waiting to be filed, recycled, shredded, re-gifted, mailed, framed - or simply thrown away. No points for just putting it in another pile to deal with later; no, no, no. 

For my first hundred points, I weeded the pen caddies - tossing out funky fountain pens, dry ballpoints, pencils less than an inch long with no eraser (a quick thirty points); then gathered a dozen or so working pens to share with the pen-starved faculty at work; threw several small hills of stickies blackened with illegible scribbles into the recycle bin; shelved thirty-five books that I lugged in from the car three weeks ago and were just sitting by the door in their box. 100 points, easy peasy!
Mailing postcards and thank you notes count, too, because those cards are outta here. An unanticipated bonus of my Hundreds game: postal treats from me: an irrelevant post card or a long overdue thank-you note. 

The best part: I’m not spending my whole weekend in a cleaning and sorting tizzy, pissed off at the clutter, pissed at myself for letting it get that way, and super-pissed off a spending a fabulous best-weather-of-all-time weekend dealing with it. Or getting really, really pissed off should anyone (especially someone in a familial relationship to me) make even the slightest joke about it. Seriously. This tidying-up stuff is not funny.

Now, there is no way I’m posting project-start pictures of my whole office; it’s pretty pathetic and someone might call social services. But I will post a Before and After picture of some select areas to prove my point. They're but not the same spot, so you have to use some imagination. But, once upon a time, before the Game began, the tidier spot (where the wallet was hiding) resembled the messy spot (where anything, even a bloodhound, could be hiding). 

So what do you think, magic, right? (and no, the stuff wasn't just pushed from one spot to the other! No points that way!)

... the  messy spot ....
... the more-or-less tidied-up spot ....


  1. we won't mention the drawers that could go on the Drop 100 Things diet...

  2. So glad to read your rewarding and humorous posts again, Lakin. Made my morning!

  3. ~ and you made mine, with your sweet comment - so good to hear from you! Your book, "Necessity of Flight" is on that bookshelf, btw, over on the right, top. That's my "currently enjoying" shelf; your book was probably rescued during the cleanup from my "currently enjoying" pile that was teetering near my green chair.


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