Saturday, March 10, 2012

Project Simplify 2012: Make Way for Baby Week 1

Posted by Amy Baranski

To recap: In addition to water aerobics (our blog's monthly focus) I took on the Project Simply challenge. My focus for each week in March is making room for Baby! The four-part plan I wrote to tackle this week's hot spot (my personal mess) was nice in thought, but when it came to execution my process really went like this:

  • Skipped moving furniture as it requires huge shifts in the entire home, saving that for later.
  • Cleared off surface space--that seemed to be the easiest approach.
  • Opened bins and began sorting like crazy.
  • Moved bins with longer term storage items to the nursery (= sweeping mess under the rug?) 
  • Tidied everything back up on the desk.
Before & Afters
Before: crappy desk situation.
After: calmer desk situation.
Before: crap in our dining room.
After: crap moved to another room. :-)
Things I Learned 

I can really procrastinate! In my defense it was an epic week with work, water aerobics, hard disk drive failures, stretching out to accommodate a growing baby, solar flares, and running out of Siracha. Who wouldn't want to wait to clean until Saturday?

I also learned that the sorting of files could go on and on. Is this an indication that I'm chronically disorganized? I reduced my bins by two; that leaves me five. I have to get it down to one. How long are we supposed to keep checking stubs and account information for a sole proprietorship? Is it the typical three years or more? Do I keep all my report cards from grade school or throw them out? Usually people's parents keep that kind of stuff around for ages, but when your parents are split stuff gets split. Then suddenly you're inheriting your past sooner than you thought as if someone died and your left with a wardrobe that smells exactly like them but that you never wear.

What about all those stupid old poems that I wrote in my early 20s that make me cringe. They all seem so god damned important, but most of them aren't. I was overcome with an urge to absorb them once more today before letting them go...but I didn't have the proper time because people are coming over to play poker this evening and I had to grocery shop and cook dinner and do the laundry too. 

Lastly, I always, always, forget how good it feels to toss things ruthlessly into the shred pile. Letting crap go is the best feeling in the world.


Footnote - Here's the score if your new to this blog: My friend Melissa and I take on 12 things each year to challenge ourselves. This month is water aerobics. Yes those are photos of yours truly. I'm the one who looks like a turtle. Read our 2012 list to see what we're up to next. Or tell us what you're doing! You can follow us via email (see sidebar), Facebook or Twitter (I follow back). Thanks for visiting!


Sasha said...

Oh, Amy! You are such an inspiration! I'm proud of the work that you did, and I will tackle some of my albatrosses shortly in solidarity with you.

To get some clarity on record retention, this IRS site may help - it seems like the most important reason to hold onto business records is in case of an audit. Here's a site for it:,,id=98513,00.html

Maybe consider scanning some of the paperwork? [It could also be an answer to writings that you don't want to take up space, but that you're not ready to fully let go of yet... Scan it, and store it on an external hard drive. Wouldn't it be fun to share some of your adolescent writings with your child when they're that age? Scanning may at least buy you more time to sort out which you'd want to share, and which should be let go permanently. :)

And if you haven't already signed-up for e-statements with your credit union or bank, it's really secure and *really* helps minimize that need to keep paper copies.

Anyway, keep up the good work! I'm going to go and start on my closet!

Amy Baranski said...

Great advice Sasha. The IRS link is helpful and I'll put the other tips to work. LMK how your albatrosses sort out and TY for the supportive comment. I think you are an inspiration too!

Cassandra said...


Your After photos look great! Way to go on making great progress. :)

I too hold on to stuff way too long. I'm using the upcoming move as an excuse to go paperless because I'm sick of having a monster file box PLUS stacks of papers on my desk PLUS stacks of mail on the counter. Drives me bonkers!

Good luck with further organizing efforts!