I'm a sucker for elegant organizational systems. No secret here: I've talked about the Tupperware illusion a few times over the years.
Lately I've found myself feeling just a little crushed by the piles of things around me. Not literally--no one visiting would see a hoarder's home or even a clutterer's den. I'm pretty neat by nature. But I have too many partially completed tasks: patterns that are halfway written; projects that are 20%, 50%, 90% done; new designs that captured my attention long enough to get going but then halted soon after; mucking out projects that succeeded in clearing one drawer out of six, leaving a charity box half filled on the windowseat; books that were purchased but linger, unread, in piles beside my chair.
That's why, when I read a blog post about the value of SIMPLIFYING versus the sisyphean task of organizing when the problem is really too much stuff, I had a lightbulb moment. (Unfortunately, I did not bookmark the original blog! Trust me: it was life changing!)
I'm a big one for starting. I'm not so great a completing. And this is very enervating. Many things I start under the influence of magical thinking about the time and effort that will be involved with finishing them. Often I am working on so many things at once that I don't appear to make forward progress--this is especially true about my patterns: six of them are in process and have been for months! I need to pick one and finish it, then pick another and finish IT.
I want to enjoy the sense of accomplishment that project monogamists seem to feel.
I'm commiting to finishing! And by finishing I also mean casting out, if need be. This week I've set some reasonable goals:
- Take two of my designs (Birch and Starry Night--that's Birch, above), whip the patterns into shape, and send them to the technical editor. DONE!
- I'm on track to finishing my Alabama Chanin-style recycled t-shirt project by Sunday.
- I'm also on track to finish a surprise knitting project. DONE!
What's hanging around in my knitting baskets that needs to get done?
- Chief's Blanket Cowl. 30% done.
- Pointed Firs Vest. Need to design yoke.
- Socks 80% done.
- Socks 25% done.
- Gees Bend Cowl. 20% done.
- New Mexico Sweater. This is a long-term project--corrugated rib finished.
- Fair Isle spun from painted rovings hat. Yarn spun.
- Cowl out of cashmere. 50% done. Hmmm. This is nice, but intended as a to-be-gifted item with no specific recipient in mind. Absolutely the sort of thing that rarely gets finished. But I think I will finish it.
What else is weighing me down? Books and magazines. I love them. I support authors and publishers by purchasing them. But I need to buckle down and READ them.
I commit to reading the stack beside my chair by the end of the month:
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
- A Shetland Knitter's Notebook by Mary Smith and Chris Bunyan
- The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams
- The Gods of Second Chances by Dan Berne (70% done--good so far!)
- My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead
As for the mucking out I commit to clearing out two drawers in my chest of drawers. The big projects--the box of costume jewelry and little gewgaws that have emotional value, and the huge box of family letters and photos--will have to wait for later.
I'll post next week's goals on Sunday night to keep myself on track!
I think that, as I explore the things that have piled up, I might come to some understanding of why I start things with such wild abandon and also come to value psychological space over the state of "too much." It's a fine line for a person whose love of colorwork knitting is based on the thrill of "What's next???"!
Leaving you with a teaser photo of a design I finished knitting: Yellow Island.