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The Territorial Dispatch
March 5, 1997

We Travel With Too Much Baggage

It took a whole month... and if you've ever seen my office you'd wonder how it could happen is just a month. But I managed to get everything together into piles and boxes and get it all into our utility trailer. Now it needs sorted and dealt with.

A lot of it is business records and a lot of it is personal stuff that I managed to collect over the years we were in the shop. Many folks had (have) disparaging remarks about the accumulation that seems to accompany me, but I don't mind it. I don't think you can be creative without things to look at and wonder about. And if you hang on to them until you firm up new ideas you get from such things you are bound to become surrounded with stuff.

I have become quite used to people who piously comment on the 'mess' I have made of my existence and how they could not bear being anything but meticulously tidy. For the most part I like my mess and I no longer feel put down when such comments are made but rather suggest that if they seek neatness they really should be looking elsewhere.

However, I realize that my new lifestyle is going to require considerable downsizing of my clutter. There simply is not room in my fifth wheel to retain all the neat stuff I have collected. To start out my 'sort and pitch' process I, a year or more ago, got a booklet called 99 ways to manage paperwork.

The 14 page booklet is divided into sections such as sorting, tossing, arranging, filing, etc. The 'tips' are brief and to the point and numbered continuously from 1 to 99 in the margins of each page.

The suggestions are really good, easy to follow and make sense... at least as far as I read... when I got the book... a year or so ago... before it got misplaced.

When I found it recently, under a stack of papers, it was opened to pages 3 and 4 with tips 9 through 26 showing. That's probably all the further I got reading it.

I don't know how it got beneath a pile of stuff, but it apparently got tossed from there into a box of papers I felt were 'current' because it turned up again today as I sorted through some papers to sift out what might be urgent.

I like the attitude of the booklet's author, Odette Pollar, because she doesn't suggest blatantly throwing everything out in handfuls as others around me have suggested, but rather suggests a quick sort to identify anything of historical value. She also lets you feel that it is okay to scan and quickly decide what reading items you may have to sort. Of course, I know I cannot read everything in detail but I could quickly scan things and if there is pertinent information I can quickly input thoughts into my computer for later reference.

We plan to travel quite a bit, living full-time in our fifth wheel so a computer is essential for recording reference material or idea information.

And just in case, I think I'll hang onto the little booklet on managing paperwork. I can probably apply some of the thoughts to non-paper items I have accumulated as well... such as pens, pencils and markers. I love 'em! I could never have too many... the funny thing is that I do almost all the writing or drawing I do on my computer. I rarely need pencils and markers any more and only use a pen when I am writing checks or making brief notes.

But I'm going to try... to unclutter my life... to set myself free of keepsakes and treasures... to crop the photograph of my existence eliminating the background and focusing on the simplistic.

Quote of the Week:
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. Nothing ain't worth nothing... but it's Free...
&emdash;from Me, and Bobby McGee.

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