Week six: The paper chase

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Every December, Eric utters words that I know are coming, but still dread with every fiber of my being: “We need to start getting our tax stuff together.” A simple sentence with the power to make me hyperventilate.

This year was no different. I put it off over the holidays, but by mid-January knew my excuses for procrastinating were gone. I began pulling everything together and happily discovered that it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I easily located most of the paperwork I needed, made up a spreadsheet, and was feeling good.

Until Friday night. That was when Eric gathered everything up in preparation for his meeting with the accountant on Saturday morning. He quickly found a few things I had missed, so we scrambled around looking for them. It was all fine until he mentioned a receipt we needed. I vaguely remembered him telling me we needed to keep it when it first came home, but the remembrance was mingled with the dread of having absolutely no recollection of what happened to it after that.

So began the search. I fearfully climbed the stairs to the bonus room, creaked open the door, and let a rush of cool air hit me before stepping inside. We have beautiful built-ins along one entire wall of the room. When they were built (courtesy of my awesome dad), I had visions of how organized they would help me become.

Unfortunately those visions have turned into an organizer’s worst nightmare. Many of the drawers and cabinets are full of papers. Stacks and stacks of disorganized papers. I threw open a door, grabbed a pile, and started looking through it, my blood pressure and stress levels increasing with each paper I set aside. I felt overwhelmed, helpless, annoyed, worried, and fed up. This was ridiculous.

Every year I say it’s going to change. “This is the year I’ll get organized!” I exclaim. “This is the year I’ll put a system into place! This is the year I’ll record things as they happen. This is the year I’ll file important papers as soon as they come in the house. This is the year tax time will roll around and it will already be DONE because I’ve kept on top if it. This is the year!!”

Well, guess what years haven’t been the year? Yeah, all of them. This year feels different though. I feel a glimmer of hope. I feel a bit of motivation. Why the change? Believe it or not, I think it’s because of you. I know, that sounds corny, but it makes sense.

  1. ¬†Through my ‘Keeping It Real Challenge’ I’ve committed to sharing the good and bad with you. It kinda makes me want there to be more good than bad.
  2. I’ve discovered through sharing my day to day life that we all struggle in similar ways. You’ve told me that you can relate. I’m not alone!
  3. Since discovering I’m not alone, I’ve been able to breathe a bit more freely. It’s okay if my house isn’t perfect, my kids don’t always behave, and I don’t have all the answers. I am human, thus I am imperfect. Just like you.
  4. You’d think this freedom would make me want to rest on my laurels, but paradoxically, I find myself striving harder than ever to ‘better myself’, for lack of a better term. Knowing I can improve without the hopelessness of trying to attain perfection is actually quite motivating. Every step, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Will I mess up? Absolutely. Will life become easy and wonderful all the time? Not a chance. But knowing those things is a relief. The pressure is off. I can improve, and mess up, and start over again, and know that a multitude of others are doing exactly the same thing.

So anyway, guess what I did Sunday afternoon? I went through that mound of papers. I sorted them. I put a ton in a pile to shred or burn. In the past I’ve tried to confront the papers and ended up running away scared before even making a dent, so this is progress. I still have a bunch to go through, and clearly, I need some kind of system to organize them, but I’ve started. Thanks to you.

Pile of papersThis is just the start of my burn pile.

And now the part of the post where I share pictures of our real, everyday life.

A girl and a dogMy in-laws came to visit this weekend and Annelise LOVED their dog. She’s not helping my No Pet campaign, but they were awfully cute together!

WrappersI discovered these wrapper tops where I store the kids’ scissors. Apparently someone thinks throwing garbage in the garbage can is overrated.

ShadowsFun with shadows

Ice skating is hardI took Samuel ice skating for the first time. He fell down a lot.

Have a great week, and remember to keep it real!

 

Lauren Cormier

About Lauren Cormier

Lauren is a 30-something stay at home mom who doesn't have it all together and she's pretty sure you don't either. She hopes that by sharing her real life (not the glossy made-up version) she can encourage you to drop the act and get real. Lauren lives in Hermon with her husband and their three children. She also blogs at www.ohhonestly.net