I like to organize stuff. And I have grand plans for maternity leave (although I'm less than a week into the semester and already realizing what a joke my "grand plans" are. Mostly I nurse the baby, change the baby, change the baby's clothes when he gets bodily fluids on them, change the baby again, nurse the baby, play with the baby, try to get the baby to sleep, and THEN spend half an hour doing all the things that I haven't been able to do earlier, like get dressed or brush my teeth. Don't get me wrong--maternity leave is an awesome thing, and I do love taking care of Bonaventure, who is endlessly delightful. But it's not like I'm lounging around all day. Well, except for when I'm lounging around nursing the baby, but even then I'm occupied).
Let me start again.
I like to organize stuff. But for years, I've had this very disorganized folder-box-thing full of letters, cards, notes, and other mementos. I recently found a big accordion folder in my office and thought that, at last, I could organize those things--possibly along the lines of Flavia's letter-sorting system (I'm not going to look for the link, sorry). After all, I am sort of the family archivist; I bound all of our wedding cards together in a Coptic-bound book, I put together photo albums, and I even scanned a bunch of my grandfather's adolescent poetry.
This afternoon, when Bonaventure finally went down for a long and much-needed nap, I settled myself on the bed with my accordion file and my collection, eager to go through it and get it all straightened out.
But along what scheme? It's such a hodgepodge miscellany: a torn-off bit of paper with a nice note from my dad, birthday cards from twenty years ago, a collection of letters from a friend living in Spain, wedding invitations, cute pictures of my friends' kids. I found myself making (I kid you not) the following piles: (1) cards with pictures of cats on them (wow I have a lot of these); (2) items from 2004; (3) letters from Andrew; (4) things on 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper.
And then I noticed what fun I was having finding all of these things in no particular order.
So I've changed my approach. Instead of cleaning it up, I'll embrace the disorder as part of the collection's point. I have put it into the accordion file (which will keep it much more tidily and with less damage to the pages), and I couldn't resist a little bit of organizing (group 4, for some reason, remained intact), but I'm keeping it messy--a strangely liberating sensation.