Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sorting Saturday...and Sunday ~ Trying to Get Organized

Elyse Doerflinger has been regaling us with her organizational efforts and her new desk. She now has a wonderfully organized and well thought out work area. You can see the initial piles of stuff here and the final product here.   I, in contrast, have THIS:

Being roughly 2 ½ times older than Elyse it would make sense that I would have more “stuff”. However instead of 2 ½ times as much, I seem to have about 20 times as much! Give it a few more years and the crew from “Hoarders: Buried Alive” will be knocking at my door. 

 The sad part is that for about 3 months now I've had a dedicate genealogy ROOM.  Yes, a room where I could spread out and organize all my genealogy stuff.  Well, at least that was the supposed to be the idea. In those 3 months all I've managed to do was to rearrange and move book cases so that the 2 with children's books are now in the guest room and the 2 oversize book cases are in the genealogy room.  (You can see them reflected in the closet mirror in the picture on the right.)

I brought in two tables to be my desk and set up my new, BIG monitor and arranged the computer paraphernalia in roughly the order I want it to be.  The scanner is to the left of the monitor and the printer is on a stand father to the left.  That leaves me room to put MORE junk under the printer.

So, what would any sane person do in a case like this? I have no idea, but I can tell you what I did – went shopping!  While Elyse is in love with the IKEA store, I personally want to order one of everything from The Container Store.  While I didn't quite go that far, as you can see it was pretty close.

But seriously how could one possibly organize a room without color-coordinated items?  I spent some time yesterday putting together a nifty little rolling cart that gives me three drawers under the table and right next to my chair.  Of course this also give everyone a great view of the piles still ON the desk that have not yet made their into a drawer or file!  

I'm making some progress, but not yet enough for an after picture.  Hopefully that will come sometime next weekend when I will be done with classes for a few weeks.


  1. You are very brave to post your "before" photos. Mine would be 20 times worse than yours and, sadly, spread across multiple spaces.

    At least while in the process of packing and moving boxes, I've disposed of about 1/2 of what I had before. But everything genealogy-related has remained.

    Scanning documents is one type of space-solution, however, I think as genealogists we need to be able to transfer all of our stuff into holograms - just bring them out when needed.

    With everything I've re-discovered in recent weeks, I've got enough research to do on documents in hand that I won't have time to visit a library or archive for a couple years.

    You inspire me! I'd be real happy if my "after" photo of my desk (dining room table) looked half as good as yours!

  2. When I looked at the above right photo I didn't realize I was seeing a mirror image and though, oh my gosh, she has TWO rooms and a hallway between! Thanks for pointing out the mirror.

    What genealogist doesn't have piles of paper? I think we just can not get away from it. I've only been working on my family history for about 5 years so I don't yet have the collection you have -- but I'm headed that way!

    Thanks for sharing your work room with us. I hope you'll post "in progress" photos as you go along.

  3. Susan - don't be too inspired...your should see close ups! SO much to sort through.

    Nancy - I will definitely post some progress photos, that is if I make progress ;-)

  4. I've got my paper piles under control but I'm working organizing the information on my computer and back up and duplicates and more duplicates so that I can actually find something when I need it. Good luck with your organizing!

  5. You are brave for posting the before photos. I'm glad to know I'm in good company with my "genealogy piles". Sometimes I can't find my way to the bed. Good luck with your organizing!

  6. ROTFLMAO!!! OK I am certain that we are soul sisters. My room looks almost like yours disaster-wise. Although my room has purple walls. And my desk? It is our old kitchen table and I still do not have enough room to spread my crap out. Oh and a little bit of insider info: The table was a little too tall for me to use. I am very short and if I raised my chair up to reach the table, my feet dangled in the air. I came home the other day and my husband (bless his little heart) proudly said he had fixed my problem with the table. He sawed the damn legs off and now it looks like I work in Romper Room!

  7. You are a brave woman! I've been working on cleaning up my shelves, but it just ended up in loss of floor space. We have a Container Store here; maybe I should give it a try....

  8. Okay, now I don't feel so bad! Seriously though, we do seem to collect a lot in this calling called genealogy and it is a constant battle to keep it all contained (pun intended).

  9. Kristin ~ My computer files look even worse than these pictures of my paper piles! I doesn't help that I just bought a new laptop and now have a folder called "Stuff from old laptop." I will say that Dropbox is helping now - new stuff is easier to find since I've started using that.

  10. Travis ~ This room used to have a bed...and was supposed to be the guest room. However the bed was always COVERED with paper and books! I think most genealogists have a least a little hoarder in them.

  11. Hey Sheri!! After meeting you I am pretty sure we were sisters in a previous life :-) I would love to see pictures of your newly adjusted table - being short myself I can relate...and also I ADORED Romper Room ;-)

  12. Greta - I can (obviously) relate to the "loss of floor space" I must warn you though - a trip to the Container Store can result in serious loss of money ;-)

  13. Teresa ~ LOL - yes, it needs to be CONTAINED! We end up with so much "stuff" because we consider it priceless when other people just see junk! :-)

  14. Hey Diana -

    I think you might need to consider getting rid of some of the "stuff" before you can begin organizing it - that way you are only left to organize the stuff you need.

    I bet you have a bunch of old genealogy magazines and publications and such - those can probably go. If there are any relevant stories or pages you want to keep, then scan those pages and donate the rest to a genealogy library so that others may possibly use it too.

    The bottom line is: It is much easier to organize your stuff when you have less of it. So if you can get rid of some of that stuff, it'll make your life a lot easier.

    That much paper will not last. It will turn yellow and the ink will dry out and fade and soon you won't be able to read much of it at all.

    So get rid of some of the stuff if you can and then make it a point to start digitizing the rest.

  15. Hi Elyse ~ Now, if I could get rid of stuff I wouldn't BE in this situation, would I?!?! ;-) But I know you are right - and as I start sorting there will definitely be a toss (or donate) pile. Scanfest is this Sunday, so I'll have to get a pile ready to go for that!

    Thanks - Diana

  16. Thanks for sharing! Genealogists treasure every scrap of paper, school concert program, ticket stub and receipt but how to keep it all neatly AND easy to find when you want it?? I am very glad the folks before me saved these things but by the time I pass it all on to my children they will need to build a small library to house it all. :)

  17. Hi Di,

    Hope you don't mind the informality. I approach your site with a little trepidation, it seems so pink and so feminine - is it restricted to Ladies? I stumbled across you because of my interest in Family research and was interested in your efforts to organise things. That in itself was strange because I was brought up to believe that women have an inbuilt sense of order and tidiness. I was, therefore, struck by how common your approach was to my random open filing method; where things are stacked chronologically (in the time order that they were put there)and secondly by the way you proved that old adage "Junk expands to occupy the space available."

    In my old age I now adopt a two-step for storing physical records (or bits of paper)
    Filing - in the vain hope that I will be able find something if I should need to;
    Archiving - in the even more vain hope that somebody in the future may want to find something that I passingly had an interest.


  18. I feel your pain. I have the same problem and lately no time to do anything about it. So things continue to pile up.

  19. Here's another way to look at the process of getting organized: You're LUCKY to have so much source material and so many photos or documents to organize. I have only three boxes full and less than a file-drawer of family stuff. Of course only a few have been scanned (mainly because the majority are unidentified friends and family) but some day I'll really get organized and finish the job! Thanks so much for sharing.

  20. I can so relate to this also....Every time I think I am going to organize, I don't even know where to begin.

  21. How is this project coming along? I'm interested in how you have decided to organize your materials.


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