Thursday, March 20, 2008

The (Dis)Organized Nightstand

I am reading lots of books in my abundance of spare time. Perhaps that's why they are all half-finished. Or half-begun. As much as I love being caught in the middle of a book that I just can't put down, a book that makes me sad when its over (even if it was 850 pages long, like David Copperfield), there is something really exciting about beginning a new book. Introductions are great. I love it when the author tells me about what they are going to tell me. I finish the introduction and I think, "Yes, this sounds interesting. I shall begin Chapter One tomorrow, when I'm more awake." And this, I think, is how I have collected so many books on my night stand.

Right now there is George Weigel's A Witness to Hope, Chesterton's Biography of St. Thomas and Francis, Annie Dillard's Teaching a Stone To Talk, Aeneid, Danielle Bean's Mom to Mom, and a copy of the magazine Real Simple. Now you have a picture of the quantity of reading material on my nightstand (try to imagine that none of it is in disarray, please). In all but Aeneid, I have actually gotten very far into all of these books, at least 100 pages, I would say. What is it about finishing a book that eludes me? Les Miserables is back on the shelf and I only made it to page 600/1000. It's not quite that I lose interest because whenever I pick the book back up I'm instantly interested. I think that the real problem is that it becomes buried under another book and then is not in my line of sight. I was reading yesterday, in Real Simple, if I recall correctly, about different types of organizing personalities. I don't remember them all, only the one I identified with: the visual organizer. These are people who intentionally leave things out to remind themselves to do them. Like leaving bills on the desk so you remember to pay them. These people hate to put things away immediately because they are afraid that they will forget about them.

This is me. I leave boxes out to be put away, I leave ingredients on the counter so I remember what I was going to make, I leave lots of papers in my purse, and I leave my books on the nightstand. I think it works like this, I leave them all out, so I will keep reading them, but then they get covered by the latest book and my method fails. Maybe someday I'll try to switch to another organization method. Any ideas?


  1. My parents have always had a "Saturday Morning" basket--a place they put papers, bills, correspondence, etc. Then, at the end of the week, they had their Saturday morning breakfast date to go over the calendar and decide who would deal with what in the basket. It was good for organizing because they didn't lose thing and they had time set aside for taking care of that kind of random stuff. But I think the best part (especially when they had three little kids) was that it kept their marriage stronger by forcing them to talk about bills, plans, and all that. Now, I know you like your Saturday sleep-ins, but maybe there's another time...

  2. Real Simple! I love it! Yes, I'm a visual organizer too...