Thursday, July 21, 2022

Shoes, Leggings and Puzzling Notebook Entries by Pat Kennedy

LUCY BURDETTE: It's always a treat when our friend Pat Kennedy says "I think I have a blog for you!" I bet lots of you will be able to relate to her dilemma. Thanks for visiting Pat!

PAT KENNEDY: I am a reasonably tidy person. Not obnoxiously orderly, but on a scale of 1-10, I’d be a 7.5 – about 70% of the time. There is one major exception – the stubborn piles that sit there day after day never getting much bigger but not diminishing either. They silently taunt me, “When are you ever going to take care of this?”  



Paper piles are the most annoying with “curated collections” all over the floor of my office – all “to be filed.”  I did a major paper discard several years ago but there remain two small notebooks and a yellow-lined pad that have resided on my desk for at least two years. One page reminds me to make a dentist appointment for my late husband – with a check mark and the date Feb 22, 2019.  I can probably discard that now. But a little note at the bottom of that page has “cancel the WSJ online account.”  Did I do that already? I think I better keep that page until I investigate again next week or sometime anyway. Pages have cryptic scribbled notes such as “homestead…Fla…Monroe…property appraisers.”  What does that refer to?  Because it has sat on my desk for so long surely means that it is very important. Right?  Even more compelling is a whole page written in big block letters “GEORGE, roving mike!” 


Another pile is on the floor of my closet which has about 10 pairs of black leggings. I keep promising myself to sort them by season and level of decomposition. Some of them are so worn that they are see-through in all the wrong places. The legging pile has been occupying valuable closet floor space for more than a year – which was when we moved into this house.  

And shoes!  I have plenty of my own which tend to collect in the living room by my reading chair but since I have grandsons in residence for the summer, there is a pile of shoes by the front door which drifts out into the hallway becoming an ever-growing trip hazard. 



I think I’ll add a line to the yellow-lined pad. “Make boys move shoes.”  In about a year, I’ll wonder what that cryptic note meant, of course, and will once again decide to keep the pad on my desk.

And you, dear readers, are you a hoarder of paper, leggings and shoes?  Or are you disciplined about stuff and keep a tidy environment 100% of the time?


Ps from Lucy, I've been to Pat's house and didn't notice any of these issues--but maybe that says more about me than her??

Patricia Kennedy is a retired marketing communications professional who runs a bed and breakfast at Long Pond, Massachusetts and Key West, Florida for grandchildren and other relatives and  friends. Rooms are fully booked for the foreseeable future. 


58 comments:

  1. I’m chuckling, Pat, as I nod in complete agreement --- paper just loves to hang around! I’m reasonably tidy [although not overly disciplined about it], but there are times . . . .
    As for the grandsons’ shoes . . . I’d just let it go [or just give them a good shove toward the corner] and enjoy having them around for the summer. Spending time with grandbabies [no matter what their age] is the very best thing ever . . . .

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    1. I so agree about letting grandchildren shoes just sit there reminding me of how much fun they are!

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  2. I've been to Pat's house too and I did NOT notice any of this. Just the piles of actual people who flow in and out of her household because she makes it such a welcoming place. I do have piles of paper but orderly piles. Really. Shoes? Not so much. But when the grandkids come the picture is radically altered. I just hum and look the other way and eventually their parents stay more or less on top of it.

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    1. Orderly piles! Hmmmm. That’s a comforting phrase but so often my paper messes are anything but orderly since I tend to shuffle and reshuffle them in to “to save,” “to deal with NOW,” and a big fat “?.”

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  3. Piles of paper are my downfall, too. I still get paper bills and account statements, and at least I know which stack they are in!

    But shoes get lined up neatly. You learn that when you live in Japan. Even the littlest children know to be tidy with their shoes in the entryway.

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    1. OMG, Edith, I just realized that one of the themes in Murder at the Taffy Shop is Mac's ultra neatness. I knew this topic was ringing a bell this morning. I read it last weekend.

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  4. PAT: Hmmm, I am not a hoarder but I am also not a very neat person. My score would be 6/10 on your scale.

    I have managed to keep my paper piles under control by shredding & recycling paper piles several times a year. I get most account statements & bills electronically so the amount of paper that arrives at home has decreased over the years.

    Influence of a Japanese family upbringing here re: shoes.

    My downfall is books. Despite having 22 bookcases and a dedicated TBR bookcase that is triple stacked, I have piles of new books on the floor. Library books, recent book purchases, books that I am currently browsing/reading.

    And my galley kitchen is overflowing with dishes and frequently used ingredients. SIGH.

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    1. A family member had stacks and stacks of books too, many of which gave advice on how to decrease clutter. A brilliant combo of clutter and books!

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    2. DUH, I forgot to mention that my library (2nd bedroom) is also used as my garden supply room. Bags of soil, fertilizer, unused pots, grow lights, seeds are in messy piles.

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  5. I'm with Grace, and Pat. The books, and the shoes. In a recently added downstairs kitchen space, in fact, I added hidden bookshelves for more books. But it's neat! I'd say I'm a 7.5, but I agree with other posters. Wherever Pat is, her home inspires warmth and welcome.

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  6. Pat, welcome!! I did not laugh at your piles of paper although yours are different from mine, I also have a thing about throwing it away. I have agendas of meetings held in the '90's and all my calendars from...nevermind. My files, though in drawers, will never be shared with the "historical society."

    Shoes are neat, stored in shoeboxes. Mostly, when I cannot wear them anymore, I donate them. The ones by the door are in pairs.

    There are some bags of clothes I may take to the dressmaker. We haven't needed much during the pandemic, so I will reevaluate before I go to see her. There is a drawer with pantyhose that certainly has some pairs I'll never wear again. Some day, I'll get to that.

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    1. Judy, do you have a garden with tomatoes that are staked? If so, those old panty hose will come in handy. Cut a length and use it to tie a stem to the stake. Being soft and stretchy, the hose won't hurt the plant.

      You can also use them to make a sort of heating pad. Cut a chunk of hose and knot one end. Fill the pouch you have made with uncooked rice, or other grains. Make sure to leave enough room so you can flatten your pouch and knot that end. These are wonderful for small areas you want to apply heat too. Put them in the microwave for half a minute.

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    2. Shoes stored in shoe boxes? Wow. I’m very impressed. I give you a 9.9 on the neatness scale.

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    3. Judi, thank you for the suggestions. There are times when I need to support a vine! As for a warming pad, that makes sense, too. It will mold so easily to neck, leg, etc!

      I

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  7. I too have piles of paper and little slips of paper. But the more I toss, the greater the piles seem to grow. I used the word piles very loosely. Scattered all over is more like it. I love those little daily desk calendars. They are so great for notes and reminders. But after I tear one off it just lies on the desk because the blank back would be just right to make a note on. Which I do and then that lies there with its friends from the days before. I doubt very much that I can be cured at my age.

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    1. I never considered the back sides of the Daily Calendar but sounds like a promising new source of note paper.

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    2. Judi, the piles of little notes grow and grow here, too.

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  8. Welcome, Pat. Paper is my downfall. I love lists. In fact, my daughter once gave me a little notebook whose cover was titled 'I Love Lists.'
    Add to that the fact that I have a habit of ripping out newspaper and magazine articles about anything I feel I need help with - nutrition, finance, exercise. Its good information, right? If only I could just absorb it all by osmosis. I went through a period of scanning because the digital files can pile up to ungodly numbers but remain unseen when I walk into the study.
    In the past few years I have canceled subscription, signed up for electronic statements, etc. I love the space that has opened in my life.

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    1. When I was a youngster, we got a magazine a day. Remember how great it was to go through a band new Life! The AAA road magazine, however, was not a favorite! Today, I only get The New Yorker.

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    2. And yes, the newspaper articles! There is NO reason to do it, it is all on line, but we well know we will never think of it again if we have to look it up.

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    3. That's the problem, Hank. And somehow bookmarking things in a browser doesn't help.

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    4. Agree, bookmarking a site is a waste of time!

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  9. In my work life, I perpetually fought the battle of stacks of paper. Historically I have done better at home. Now that I am retired and home is my only space, though, I fear for the future. Though during the covid shutdown I did manage to contain my "work" paper piles solely to my home office.

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    1. I have a large coffee table where “extra” piles reside.

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  10. Thank you for the morning chuckle!

    I can solve part of your problem. Seriously, I've done this for years. All those lose papers. Put them in a file folder and put the file folder on a stack or in a file folder rack on your desk. I know that someday - probably around the twelfth of never - I'm going to go through those file folders and deal with the papers!

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    1. Oh, thanks for that suggestion. I do have two of those file folder holders on the floor near my desk. Maybe I’ll put them to use TODAY! or maybe tomorrow.

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  11. What happened to George and roving Mike?
    I was out of town for this year's village shredding event (very exciting to watch a commercial truck-mounted shredder) and will have double the amount of paper piled in paper shopping bags for next May.

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    1. I don’t know what happened to George and Roving Mike! That’s why I posted that photo hoping that someone on JR can sol e the “mystery.”

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    2. I think I have the solution to this mystery...maybe it was the Friends event in Key West, in which George Cooper was our speaker, and he needed a roving microphone? It's a good story even if not true LOL

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  12. I’m working on getting rid of clutter, but really, you would never know it. Paper, books, books, books, paper, duplicates/triplicates of kitchen items I rarely use, piles of papers that are partially organized, piles of unorganized (TBD) papers, books the library won’t take, papers to be shredded, etc. I live in fear that I might have a 911 emergency, and scare the EMS people! My major assignment for myself today is to continue to clear out the largest cabinet in my kitchen so I can make room for some things stored on top of the table.

    I’m a 2 out of 10!

    DebRo

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    1. We should do a round robin of suggestions devoted to Keeping Boors — Or Not. When Joe and I moved out of a large townhouse, I spent weeks dealing with his books. He was a retired neonatologist and a lifelong lover of books— buying them, rarely actually reading them. He had wall shelving units devoted to “baby name books” for just one collection. I was able to successfully deaccession all those medical text books from the 1970s. But it was really wrenching to get rid of hundreds and hundreds of other important books. Important to him only, of course.

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  13. Oh, my. Those stacks of possibly important stuff that I just can't quite get around to filing, tossing out, etc.! I can SO relate.

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    1. The psychology of what constitutes “important” to each of us is an endlessly fascinating topic.

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  14. I AM STILL LAUGHING! SISTER! And the black tights, too, SO many pairs of black tights. (And this morning I found a note I had scrawled to myself that says "Teddy thinks it looks like a plan." Which sounds like it might be a book thing, but there is NO Teddy in my books.
    Love love love you. xxxx

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    1. Love you too! But how can someone (like you) who is so artfully put together ever have anything out of place, or messy piles of paper?

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  15. Piles? Yup, got them! I've even taken a day off to deal with them but will spend the time reading instead. Of course that means the stack of books is under control - uh, not really. Oh well. My large shredding bin is on the walk from my mail box to the door and I try to stop and drop off the obvious ads and junk mail before it gets into the house.

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    1. Good suggestion about discarding the obvious throw-outs before they join the more intriguing stuff-to-look-at-later.

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  16. Guilty as charged! Me to nephews: "Why do you have so many pairs of shoes on the back porch?" Answer: "That pair is for..., that pair is for...." Me: "Never mind." Ditto coats/jackets hanging on the back porch hooks. Paper, yes. Cleaned off desk with one tidy stack. Two days later, whoosh! The mess has reasserted itself and the cat is daring me to touch the papers under her. So maybe I'm a 4.5 at the moment.

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  17. I don’t have a cat so I’m solely to blame.

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  18. In my industry (professional organizing) we have a saying: "Piles are a Collection of Deferred Decisions".

    And another: "Every pile started with just one item, earmarked for 'later', which can easily become 'never'. "

    Whether that pile was built on great intentions, or fear of the unknown calamity from the "wrong" decision, or just plain "I can't deal with that now", piles get more awesome and fearsome with time. For many, until either the pain of it existing, or the reward from it no longer existing, is greater than your current ennui, it stays.

    Be gentle with yourself and remind yourself that piles grow over time. We didn't get here overnight.

    Good luck!

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    1. Awesome and fearsome piles. You got that exactly right. Thanks for the good advice.

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  19. I try, Lord knows I try. I've been getting rid of far more stuff than I'm bringing into the house, so that's a plus, and I have a few more inadequate closets to work with now the girls are (mostly) gone. But I never seem to be able to get rid of the Pile O' Papers on my desk or the Pile O' Mending stacked in my bedroom.

    I mean, I if actually tackled the paperwork and the mending it might make a difference, but there's always something more interesting to do...

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    1. Pile O’Paper is so much nicer of a phrase than Pile. Makes the whole situation much more palatable.

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  20. Pat, I don't have piles. I have tub. A big plastic one. Everything gets thrown in it until time to do taxes, at which point all the papers get spread out on the dining room table and sorted according. But good luck finding anything in the meantime!

    thanks for the chuckle this morning! Oh and I have SIX pairs of shoes piled on top of the boot rack by the back door.

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    1. Only six pairs of shoes? That’s impressive. I think there are twenty pairs of shoes scattered about in the entryway. Those wonderful grandsons must be centipedes.

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  21. Ah, yes, the mystery pile of papers! LOL. I have several. I finally bought new folders for my file cabinet and I fully intend to get all those pesky papers sorted...soon, really, I swear.

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  22. Holding you to the promise. I’ll check back as soon as I have my pile dealt with. Don’t hold your breath.

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  23. Papers multiply for teachers as well. I would sometimes cover stacks of to-be-graded papers on my kitchen table with a note to the Terri to skip cleaning there. One October, planning for a sub, I decided I should move the V.I.P(apers) off my desk, as a courtesy. I put them in a carton, and at the end of the school year, dumped it all into recycling . .. not as important, after all. Then there are BOOKS!

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    1. I left a carton of VIP(papers) in a friend’s car once. After a while, he couldn’t remember why they were there and tossed them too. Tax records! Fortunately, I never got audited.

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  24. Currently I have several pairs of shoes scattered around the bedroom. At least it's concentrated in one spot. But papers? Ack. I have a file folder labeled To Be Filed from just before I moved. It is still there. And various piles of papers have appeared along with a box or two more of To Be Filed.

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    1. I’ve been maintaining similar file folders for years. Somehow the To Be Filed, never happens.

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  25. Kathy Boone ReelJuly 21, 2022 at 2:04 PM

    I'm glad you visited the Jungle Reds today, Pat. It reminds me it's time to do a paper sorting and filing update. I do have files for the papers to keep, but there are ones on my desk waiting to be filed. The paper sorting will include what I save for filing, what I throw in the garbage, and what I put in my to-burn sack. That last is paid bills and papers with any personal information on. I keep a plastic bag of them going, and my husband burns it when it gets full.

    Shoes. I need to throw out so many shoes. I only wear a few pair during each season, but I've got older shoes I need to just clear out. But, of course, the big clutter (although I don't like calling them that) item is books. They are absolutely everywhere, even though I have multiple sets of bookshelves, two large built-in units, well actually three, and other book cases and shelves.

    OK, I'm off to ... Who am I kidding? I'm off to do some more on the computer and then read.

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    1. Looks like piles of books are the constant thread found on almost every comment. I think as the new generation starts to deal with stuff, they won’t have this problem because they don’t seem to have print books.

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    2. Kathy Boone ReelJuly 21, 2022 at 6:54 PM

      True. My daughter uses her Kindle a lot. She also checks out books from the library. Probably the only books bought are ones I give her. Of course, my daughter is too tight to spend lots of money on books like I do, and she's someone who doesn't keep clutter around, rather a minimalist.

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  26. Yikes! That picture of the paper pile--so me! Especially the post it notes.

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    1. I won’t up my neatness score if I post any more photos of my paper goods!

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  27. Susan Nelson-HolmdahlJuly 21, 2022 at 6:50 PM

    I have no piles of paper on my home office desk or professional attorney office. Liability issues as an attorney make me extremely careful with client and work product papers. Shredder by the recycle bin stops most paper from coming into the house. Home files are mostly electronic. I culled my books several years ago, but I still have a full library of the books I really wanted to keep. Most new books now are in my kindle. I buy maybe five hardback books a year, from favorite authors. Usually signed first editions.

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