I’m looking for a photo. I know I have it somewhere among the thousands of photos I have sorted and filed and boxed. I can see it in my mind. I know I’ve retrieved it and looked at it within the last year. I probably even have the negative, even though it is over twenty years old. But I can’t find it. Obviously my filing system has failed me. Or I’ve failed the system. And this bothers me more than I can even explain.
I’m one of those people who can organize things. I can figure out a logical order for almost anything. I can categorize and color code and file. I can classify and sort with the best of intentions. But I don’t always follow through. I get off to a good start. I use whatever system I’ve devised…for a while. Then the contents overflow or the sorting doesn’t quite work anymore or I move, and then it’s back to losing things. And I hate that.
Between photos and writing and genealogy and school and bill paying and personal projects I store a tremendous amount of stuff. I have files for three organizations. I have boxes of papers and photos for my Caddo research. I’ve always kept sentimental things-“junk” my son calls it. I have my fifth grade social studies project. I have nearly everything my mother ever wrote. I have letters from friends and relatives dating back to the sixties. I suppose I have an excuse for occasionally losing something. But I don’t want excuses. I want to be able to find anything I need, when I need it- like tonight.
I’ve always wanted to have one of those beautiful organized, efficient offices where there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. Instead I have bankers boxes and file cabinets and binders and folders and photo boxes and shoe boxes and plastic containers. I have three book shelves, but I need five. I have one storage closet, but I need three. I have two desks but, well, that’s probably enough since I also have a table. LOL My mother always said your stuff grows to fill whatever space you have, so it probably wouldn’t do any good to have more room in my office. I’d just fill it up. Perhaps I should take my son’s advice and get rid of some junk! I keep telling him that I HAVE gotten rid of some stuff. Honest. I threw away lots of papers and things when we moved. Who knew I had receipts from 1996??? They were filed. Out of sight, out of mind. I’m working on it…
So now I have to find that photo. I may have to “sleep on it”. That helps sometimes. I’ll wake up and remember where it was the last time I saw it- in the photo box labeled “family”, or the file drawer labeled “family”, or the plastic box that isn’t labeled but I know contains family photos, or the bankers box labeled miscellaneous photos and papers.
Now that’s where I got into trouble…miscellaneous.
That’s not a filing system, that’s procrastination in disguise.
No wonder that photo is lost!