Clutter, confusion and other normal things

by Gord Ellis | March 17, 2015

Gord EllisI work in a horribly cluttered office. This is a fact.

As I tap this piece out, I’m surrounded by piles of magazines, double-stacked books on shelves, letters opened and not, music paraphernalia, and various bits of turkey hunting gear I’m not sure where to store.

Many people would find it impossible to work in an environment like this. Besides the chaos, there are ample distractions including guitars, boxes of pictures and some really great books. However, I am so used to working in clutter that it doesn’t faze me a bit. In fact, I’d likely feel very strange working in an antiseptic office. However, the odds of that happening are very low.

“There really is no good reason why my office, tackle room and garage are all a perpetual mess. They just are, about 90% of the time.”

From time to time, I hear stories about how creative people can thrive in chaos. These stories make me feel good for a bit, but I truly believe it’s mostly baloney. I’ve known many very creative people who’ve had total control over their clutter and chaos. You visit their garages and they looks like hospitals. Their offices look like they could be in a Swiss bank. There really isn’t any reason why my office, tackle room, and garage are all perpetual messes. They just are, about 90 per cent of the time.

Every spring, however, I clean things up. Usually I do the office first. It’s generally tackled during a mid-March snowstorm. Everything gets sorted, organized, and a lot of stuff gets pitched or recycled. I won’t lie. It feels good to have a clean office. Even if I know in my heart of hearts when September arrives it will look like a bomb went off. Again.

The tackle room, which doubles as an outdoor clothes closet, is truly overwhelmed. A lot of hunting and bad weather gear hangs in here, most of which gets used at some point each year. But the pole it all hangs on is nearly maxed out. A major purge a couple of years ago helped, but there’s still too much. A workshop area in this room is a hilariously horrible mess.

Various bits of tackle, fly gear, reels, and odds and ends are knotted together in something close to a giant ball. Sorting it out usually takes a couple of hours, and at least two beer. The tackle room is never fully clean, but, after sorting, it looks pretty good for about a month, then reverts back to normal.

The garage is always the biggie. Because of the length of the northwestern Ontario winter, and the perpetual presence of a boat in said garage, a lot of stuff gets piled up. Some items end up in the boat, some under it. The selection of stuff runs the gamut from ice fishing gear to snow removal equipment, dead car batteries, empty cardboard boxes, and other stuff best described as miscellaneous. There really is only one way to deal with the garage and that‘s to pull everything out and attack it on a case-by-case basis.

It’s truly incredible just how much stuff a single-car garage can hold.

One spring, during the course of doing this undertaking, a neighbour came by and asked me if I was having a yard sale. A good third of my back yard was covered with junk from the garage. Not good.

Writing this would be a lot more depressing if I was the only one dealing with this issue. But clearly I’m not. I’ve been in enough messy houses, camps, garages, trucks, and boats to come to the conclusion that a lot of us roll this way. A good friend may even have the edge on me when it comes to the messy truck sweepstakes. Every trip with this fellow involves time spent sorting through heaps of unsorted gear, clothing, dog hair, and rubbish. By comparison, my truck looks like it just rolled off the lot. My friend is a very successful human being, as well as a great angler and hunter, so this whole mess and clutter scenario can be made to work.

And with that being said, it’s time to hit the reset button and get organizing.

Good times.
Gord's Garage