Deb Sarah’s organizational skills

Bear with me, because I’d like to brag a bit.

Whenever I have a work-related expense – say, new paper for my computer printer – I take my receipt immediately home and open up a dedicated file on my  computer. I note the time, cost, and reason for the expense, and then I walk over and physically file the receipt in one of my color-coded…. um, in my room-sized filing cabinet… er, sorry.. I mean in my sleek little day planner….

It’s no good. I’d like to pretend I’m organized. I recently read The Happiness Project (have any of you?) and one of the things that makes author Gretchin Rubin happier is, well, being organized (it’s true – she has charts to prove it!). And yet the thought of it exhausts and overwhelms me and makes me want a cookie. Or a glass of wine. Preferably both. It’s all I can do to cram my receipts into a shoe box and hope that come tax time, I can make some sense of my scribbled notes and crumpled Visa bills.

I know people say that being organized saves you time in the end, but I’m highly suspicious. Or maybe just defensive, because I think I’m missing that gene. I’m incapable of putting away my shoes and tend to leave six or seven pairs around the front door, splayed on their backs and sides in perfect tripping positions (my husband loves this about me). But in my defense, I’d like to point out that I can’t put the shoes away neatly in their boxes as recommended by Martha Stewart, because the boxes have the critical purpose of containing my receipts. See? I can’t win.

I think I come by this trait honestly, though. I remember as a kid trying to tiptoe around my father during tax time. He’d sit at the dining room table, a pile of crumple receipts and an old calculator before him, cursing mightily. I learned some great new words during that time (my friends on the playground were impressed) and also inherited the healthy fear of taxes.

IRS, if you’re reading this, I’ve got one request: Please don’t audit me. And if you do, don’t hold it against me if you come into my house and trip over shoes. I swear it’s not personal.

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Sarah Pekkanen

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12 thoughts on “Deb Sarah’s organizational skills

  1. This made me laugh! I used to be the most organized person you’ve ever seen – then I had a baby. Well, that baby’s grown now, but my organizational skills have not come back.

  2. I totally believed you and was completely impressed. I don’t have a shoe box, but a designated file in my filing cabinet and I just shove them all in there too. But since they’re mostly postage, there’s not that much sorting to do at the end. My real problem is that some of my expenses are in US dollars and some in Canadian, so this year, I am being a bit more organized.

    My shoes are often left by the door. And while my husband leaves his there too, he usually scoops mine up and tosses them into my office. I’m not sure why he gets to leave his there and I don’t, but overall, he’s a keeper so I try to let the shoe thing go! 🙂

  3. Matt and I had the shoes-by-the-door problem. We got a shoe rack, and it worked for a while. But now we’ve fallen into the habit of leaving our shoes in front of the shoe rack.

    Mmmm, a cookie and a glass of wine. Wait, it’s only 11:30. Dang!

  4. I just counted 37 pair of shoes in my mudroom. Only six are mine. Instead of picking up four of them and putting them in my closet,and mentally preparing myself for getting everybody else to pick up theirs, I choose to come up here and tell you all. And I sent out the extension form for my taxes today, with two days to spare! Now for that glass of wine and cookie.

  5. Cindy said the magic word, Ladies: MUDROOM! We added one this past year and it’s been a godsend, a marriage saver, a mood elevator, a home organizer – probably even a tax deduction since I work from home! And for taxes – just wait til next year Debs! You can write off all your book promotion and home office and writing expenses. It’s lovely. For the first time in years (forever maybe?) we’re getting a refund! Okay, I’m sure that says something sad about how much I actually spent trying to market my book, but still, it feels good.

    Finally got your book today, Deb Sarah! Cannot wait to dig in!

  6. We do the shoes-filling-the-entryway thing. (Coats and gloves and hats too!) Every now and then, my husband or an enthusiastic guest will put things away in the hall closet. The boys and I get all mystified, and wander around the house–the laundry room, the side door, even the dining room–where has our outerwear gone? It takes us about ten minutes to think to try to closet with all those hangers and shoe racks and things 😉

  7. Do we all leave our shoes by the door? Does everyone? I had no idea it was so common – I’m going to make my husband read the comments to show him I’m not alone!
    And a mudroom does sound cheaper than marital therapy!!

  8. Count me as the shoe by the door person too. I’ve gotten better about picking them up since we got a puppy who will chew on them.

    I loathe tax season because it reminds me of how disorganized I really am.

  9. I save important receipts then when I pull them out at tax time they’re so faded I can’t even read them. We keep our shoes in a huge pile in the garage. We all wear each others and I look damn good in pumps. Ha.

  10. I meant to say, Greg. You do rock those pumps.
    And Eve – so hope you enjoy it! And Alicia’s Mom, too….

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