Saturday, June 28, 2008

It ain’t rocket science

Since I got back from Scotland I’ve had walking kit spread all over my office—stuff I took, stuff I thought I might take but didn’t, and stuff that was near the stuff I either took or thought I might take but didn’t. The floor has been covered, the extra chair has been unsittable under a mound of stinky polypro and shredded ensolite, and the fax machine and copier have been walled off behind lofted pots, soft goods, and enough first aid supplies to equip a hospital emergency room...if hospital emergency rooms used bandages, fluids, and meds packaged during the 1970s.

This accretion had been pulled out of the file boxes, drawers, closets, random duffels, and trash bags I’d been stuffing things in for years, and it was sitting around loose in my office taunting me because I couldn’t bring myself to put it all back in the stupid places where it had come from.

Last week I went out and bought four 18-gallon (68-liter) plastic bins, organized kit by type or use, put each group in a Jumbo Hefty ziplock (2.5 gallons/9.5 liters), stuffed the Heftys into the bins...

...and realized this obvious solution wasn’t going to work. The problem has never really been putting this mess away. The solution to that is just a closed attic door away—out of sight, out of mind. The problem has always been putting things away so I could find what I need when I need it.

The answer, of course, is to give over one of those bins to items I always take. It’s not that I’ve never thought of this before. It’s just never worked all that well. I’d always be pulling clothes out to wear around town, or in a heavy rain, or when I needed an extra layer in the winter. This time, I decided simply to leave the clothes out, just as I leave out the sleeping bag and the food. I’m keeping a few real basics in the pack itself, most of the usual suspects in the bin, and the clothes either in the closet, the mudroom, or the dresser. This system will break down, too. But in the meantime, I’ll have a summer of easy packing and a relatively clear office. Brief joy, but joy all the same.

Yesterday’s start and stop tunes from the shuffle Shuffle: “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)”/“Cry Baby”. (Honky-Tonk Woman was in there somewhere, too. Isn’t Charlie Watts the best?)

Today: “Tracks of My Tears”/“I’ll Be There”.

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