Category Archives: organization

Perfect Self vs Real Self: A Study in Disconnects

Let’s talk for a moment about something I’m sure we’ve all faced at one time or another.

You’re walking through a store and you see a book/vintage hat/knick-knack/kitchen gadget/craft supply/dice block/nerdy coffee cup/whatever.

You look at it. You want it. You think, “Wow, if I only had that awesome whatsit, I would use it all the time, and I would be the most optimal and amazing reader/vintage clothing wearer/quirky decorator/kitchen maven/craftster/gamer/nerd who drinks coffee I can possibly be.”

And what do you do then? Maybe you buy it and take it home, because it’s awesome, and because it lends credence to this image of yourself that you have in your head.

And then maybe it promptly sits untouched, unused, and unloved on a shelf or in a drawer for months or even years because that image of you in your head is not necessarily the person who lives your life for you.

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I’ve Started Some Tumblrs

I’d like to share something with you: blogging is tough.

Once upon a time in high school I was pretty prolific with my posts, sometimes updating two or three times a day. I have no idea what I had to talk about that required that much text, but looking back on it now makes me a little wistful (Sigh, why is it so hard to find time to write posts?) and a little jealous (Hot damn, I used to be hilarious! What happened?)

And it is for this reason that I’m such a fan of the microblogging platform Tumblr. Tumblr is a no-frills, straight-forward way to post a lot of stuff, all the time, simply and easily. Blogger likes to eat my posts when I schedule them for the future. Bad Blogger; no cookies. (Bah ha ha ha ha–Internet humor!) Tumblr? It has a queue. It has the simplest, most convenient queue ever. It is simply magical.

In addition to this, Tumblr has a fun thing where you can change your URL at will. Have an idea for a very specific blog of people getting hit in the nuts outside of Waffle House? Wafflehousenutshots.tumblr.com is available (but for how long??). Post all the crotch whacking and greasy spoonery that you like. XKCD does a good comic that basically sums up how easy and fun it is to make a Tumblr for pretty much anything you’d ever want to post about.

And now? Now I have a Tumblr. Heck, I have SEVERAL Tumblrs. So know this: when I am not updating this blog (which may be more often than I’d like), my Tumblrs are set to post three or four times A DAY. So without further ado, here are my various Tumblr accounts.

Hipsters & Elton John

Story time: in one day, I saw about three posts about Elton John from friends of mine in different states, on different continents even, who had but one thing in common: they’re kind of hipstery. This correlation kind of stuck in my brain until I decided to check the hash tags on Elton John and, lo and behold, hipsters LOVE them some Elton John, folks. So this Tumblr is dedicated to hipsters and their Elton John-tastic Tweets. Funny stuff. Heartwarming stuff. Hipster stuff. Enjoy.

Blossom of Awesome

In an effort to declutter my life across the board, I’ve made it a point to organize and send back out into cyberspace all of the funny/amusing/awesome/nerdy/otherwise fabulous photos I’ve been dutifully right clicking since I picked up this lovely laptop of mine two years ago. It doesn’t make sense to confine these photos to my hard drive; they need to be on the Internet, free to gallivant, to roam, to make others laugh and smile.This is the Tumblr I made for my “holy crap, that’s awesome!” collection of photos, which are often geeky in nature, but not always. So if you like photos of random awesome stuff that may or may not be geeky, this is the Tumblr for you. Otherwise, you should check out…

Trekkie Stuff

My love of Star Trek knows no bounds, and neither will this Tumblr full of awesome Star Trek photos and things and greatness. TOS-themed mostly, natch.

ROFL Your Waffle

This one doesn’t have anything on it yet, but it’ll soon contain the stuff that’s too funny to be on Blossom of Awesome. Because I have claimed this fabulous URL now and, dammit, I’m going to use it.

Potter Planet

You know how there’s like a million funny/awesome/heartwarming Harry Potter photos floating around the internet? I have MOST of them on my hard drive. They’re going here.

As per the suggestion of Sarah at yes and yes (awesome blog–check it out if you haven’t already), I will be keeping a small complement of photos in a “smile file” on my computer to look at and enjoy when I’m feeling blue, because this costs me no real extra effort, but the rest of these? I’m slapping them up on tumblr., deleting them off my hard drive, and never looking back.

VIVA DECLUTTERING!

Mini-Rant: Where Does the Time Go?

No, seriously: where?

Let me give you an example: I watch the show Dexter, have you seen it? Great show, right? Offers a realistic portrait of a fictional Miami as a seedy wasteland of crime watched over by a guardian angel in the form of a serial killer taking unpunished killers off the streets with extreme and bloody prejudice. As realistic as such a thing can be portrayed, Dexter appears to portray it accurately.
Only I don’t buy it for a second. Do you know why?

Because Dexter somehow has time to wake up, make a healthful breakfast, exercise, and maybe even tie up some loose ends in the morning before going to his full time job as a lab-spatter technician in Miami traffic, which is some of the worst in the nation. He then stays there a perfectly respectable amount of time, ducking out only for lunch or MORE tying up of loose ends. Then he leaves, and he spends time with his girlfriend Rita and her children, and clearly he spends enough time with them that they still like him and enjoy how often he is around. (Note: referring to earlier seasons here–no spoilers today, folks.)
On top of all of this, he is leading a double life as a serial killer, stalking people, getting their information and watching their habits, then catching them alone, killing them, and dumping their body in the bay, which requires that he unmoor his boat and captain it out to god-knows-where in order to dump his body parts discreetly. He does ALL of this stuff, and you expect me to believe he has time to go grocery shopping? Buy more plastic sheeting from the Home Depot? Fill up his murder boat with fuel? PULL THE OTHER ONE. That one’s got BELLS on it.
Maybe I just don’t have the incredible time management skills that Dexter has, but when I get up in the morning, I don’t even have time to get coffee before I have to leave. It would not have time to cool down enough for me to drink it in the appropriately reverential way a morning brew deserves. And the opening credits would have me believe homeboy has time to grind his own coffee beans? Squeeze his own orange juice? PLEASE. Spare me.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Well, just wake up earlier, Jenn.” But then I’d have to go to bed at about 9:30 at night, because I GET my full eight hours of sleep, folks. I don’t think I should have to sacrifice sleep to squeeze my own OJ. Is that his secret? Does Dexter just NOT sleep?* THEN WHY IS THE BOOK CALLED DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER!? RIDDLE ME THAT!
I don’t actually expect to solve my perpetual time shortage here. I just wanted to tell you how frustrating it is to live by the labor credo “8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for what you will” and find that, thanks to longer work hours, commute times, and morning and evening hygiene regimens, my “what you will” time appears to be a smaller allotment than the others on any given day. And yes, I do plan on pouting about it.
But only for like a minute, because then I have to find a way to fit in going to the DMV sometime this week. Ack.

*There is like ONE episode where his lack-of-sleep-because-he-is-a-busy-bee comes up, and it is DIRECTLY after Rita has his baby. So tossing a newborn into the mix seems to be the crack in his otherwise flawless time management system. I can’t help but be jealous of his mad skills.

Filing Might Be the Most Satisfying Thing EVER

Folks, I have a secret to share with you. I know this may come as a shock (especially to those of you who know about my present vacuum cleaner situation) but I’m…a neat freak. Specifically, I am absurdly organized (even if I AM a bit lazy about dusting and vacuuming). Everything has a place in my apartment, and when an item is NOT in its place…well, we won’t talk about that.


Yeah…it’s a little bit like that.





I’ve had people ask me how I do this, how I regularly complete this task of keeping everything tidy and in its place, and the answer is that, for me, there is no alternative. Because the alternative would be disorder and chaos: items flung every which way around the living room, bills left unpaid and forgotten among sheaves of junk mail, important cables stuffed under tables and desks never to be seen again and perhaps to be whisked off to parts unknown by our resident house mouse.

I bet he steals all sorts of stuff when we’re not looking. Sneaky little turd.



Some people can function just fine in the chaos of indeterminate item placement, but I cannot. So for me, it’s about a million times easier to make a place for something and ensure that it always goes there than it is for me to just throw my stuff any old place. This also has the unintended by-product of making it look like I clean regularly. BONUS!


Ohhhhhh, baby. I wish anything in my house looked this good.



That said, I admit that even I and my infinite anal-retentiveness don’t get around to putting things away properly all the time. Namely, paperwork. I’ll get paycheck stubs, student loan papers, letters and cards from friends and I’ll place them in neat little piles on my desk…and then neglect to file them away where they belong. Boo, bad Jenn. It’s okay for one or two papers, but after a few weeks, I start getting that hamburger-hotdog style stack of papers (you know what I’m talking about) and it starts to look MESSY. And worse, it makes it difficult to find what I need in a hurry. And that makes me a sad panda.


The SADDEST of pandas.



So today, I looked at my stack of papers and I put my foot down. No more would I live in the squalor and chaos brought on by unruly stacks of paper! NO MORE! And so today, I revamped my filing system for the first time in over a year.


Hear that, paper stacks? I’m sending you straight to Hades! (Hades is what I named my filing cabinet.)



My beloved Aunt Kim sent me a bit of congratulatory graduation scratch around September of 2010 with specific instructions to NOT spend it on anything practical like bills or rent. So what did I do with my newly begotten mad money? I bought a label maker, of course. Oh yes. A label maker. And at the same time, I also purchased some fancy purple file folders to keep my paperwork in as well as a magazine file to put the folders in. And then I went to TOWN on my paperwork, labeling it and foldering it most expertly, confident that I would never lose anything ever again.


Ch-yeah, right. Seriously, where the effing eff is my INTERNET BILL!?



I bought an awesome Target credenza at Goodwill right before I moved to Pittsburgh and transferred my file folders from the magazine file into hanging folders in the cabinet, but I didn’t do much else to them at the time. As such, my existing system was mostly fine, just a bit outdated, having last been tinkered with a year ago when I lived in West Virginia, was an Americorps*VISTA, and had a whole different set of paperwork priorities. So today, I prioritized my present paperwork, took scissors to all the outdated stuff (make sure to Google how long you should be keeping paperwork before just indiscriminately shredding it all!), labeled some new folders with my trusty label-maker and recycled some old folders for new use, and put everything in its rightful place. And now? Now, my filing cabinet is BEAUTIFUL. I mean, it’s a stunner, folks.


Like this. But BETTER because it’s MINE.

And it’s not just that it was beautiful to look at (it is), or that my papers now had a home to go to (they do), or that my desk was at long last cleared off (it’s EMPTY, bwa ha ha!): it’s that this one task set the tone for my entire day. After I filed my papers, I felt so good about it that I reorganized my entire desk, shifting my extra stationary and desk supplies around for maximum efficiency. I went through a bunch of my handbags and accessories to give to Goodwill. I did ALL the dishes–ALL of them, even the gross frying pan that has been sitting on the stove for an embarrassing number of days. I baked a butternut squash. I BAKED. A SQUASH. And then I sat down to write a blog post about it, because it has been that kind of day, dammit. 


This is like productivity porn for me.

Point is, I felt so good about knowing where everything was that I wanted to extend that feeling to the rest of my apartment. This is the transformative power of organization–the ability to derive peace of mind from the fact that everything is as it should be within the four walls of your living space. So the next time you wake up on a Saturday and don’t feel like doing anything, take a look at your stack of junk mail. It could be the start of a very, very good day.

XO, Jenn

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P.S. Here’s the list of websites I yoinked images from. Thanks Google!

Awesome Pantry: http://activerain.com/
Erasers Arranged Neatly: http://www.wordsinspace.net/