Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Budgeted Life

Lately I’ve been having lots of monetary thoughts.  I’m thinking of working only part-time next school year, so that I can make more noticeable progress on writing projects in the extra time.  However, cutting down hours means cutting down pay.  I’ve had to start saving up for the coming year. 

The chief thing that is worrisome is the unpaid summers.  I could look for a part time job, but I appreciate the couple of months to recuperate, write, edit and do school preparations in peace.  So, in order to be a teacher for ten months and a writer for two, I have to put aside quite a bit of savings.  On a reduced, part-time salary, achieving that goal will be more of a challenge, so I’m currently saving for two summers, to give myself a cushion. 

So at this point you may be wondering why I’m discussing money on my blog.  It’s all part of my 1000 interests, of course!  Seriously, though, working out my new budget has made me stop to think about organization. 

Too much entropy and you end up with a ruin!
My mom is a very organized person, and she passed the trait on to me.  However, even if it’s a natural tendency, there’s always entropy to battle with.  If one isn’t careful, laundry ends up piled on a chair, books on the floor, envelopes all over the desk and random objects on the closet floor.  And that’s just one room!  Without making a conscious decision to stay organized, disorder tends to start creeping in. 

One of my chief memories of all my mom’s acquaintances from when I was a little girl was how they’d all step in our front door and exclaim, ‘Oh, your house is so clean! It’s so organized! You’re so on top of things!’ There would be this note of longing in their voice, as if they thought Mom was gifted with magical powers.  I always found this irritating (even as a child of nine or ten!).  See, I watched my mom, dutifully doing at least a little cleaning every day, never letting a dish sit dirty in the sink, keeping a calendar of events so nothing would be forgotten, pulling out the iron for three shirts a day – all in the pursuit of what she regards as an ideal. 

In other words, organization is secretly a fair amount of hard work. 

Since we all tend to be somewhat like my mom’s friends, though – wishing for a secret to perfect results – I figured I might weigh in on my own technique.   

Weaving such delicate patterns!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more convinced about how interwoven things are.  The last paper I wrote in college was about the secret unity of all branches of knowledge.  I’ve since expanded my notion to encompass everything, not just knowledge.  This unity is very helpful when it comes to organization!

See, I used to be much more content with things getting out of control.  One area I’ve always kept an iron grip on, though, is money.  I really don’t want to be in debt, so I stay very on top of all my financial matters.  Since I put in all the effort to make sure I don’t overspend, I get quite a bit of satisfaction from the process.  Savings in the bank helped the feeling. 

Then I realized that organizing my house is much like organizing my funds.  Just as my budget gives me all the money I need, or at least a plan for saving it, so I have a clean, livable house, thanks to putting in some steady efforts to keep everything in its place.  Everything is easy to find and important to me. 

One source ripples the whole pond!
Organization spread to work.  Instead of putting off school preps to the last moment, usually I try and get them done about a week beforehand.  This saves me a lot of stress, since for the most part I don’t have to scramble around at the last moment (of course, I’m not perfect, so there’s still some scrambling that happens!).

Lately I’ve even thought that this sort of organization works with writing.  Instead of procrastinating on editing or saying to myself that I’ll write tomorrow, I try to get it done today.  Even if I only make a tiny bit of progress, I still feel happy from even that small step. 

So in short, thanks to a long standing habit of keeping organized in just one small area, I’ve been able to expand that habit to more and more realms.  Starting small has led to big results – always a good feeling. 

If you think about it, everything we have is limited: money, space, time, resources, even life.  A budget allows us to live inside our limits with comfort and happiness and freedom.  Instead of building up debts (money owed, time to be found in the future, projects to be completed later) which we’re never sure we’ll be able to repay, we can live within our human means and be at peace.


  1. Oh man, I'm so disorganised it hurts. I manage to keep up a pretence that my library is organised, but look behind the counter...

    You been to Delphi then? It's a lovely 'ruin'!

  2. I've been attempting to organize...I try the two out for every new thing in rule. And I've been better too about buying bulk, cooking, freezing, and using coupons. I like it when I get $60 bucks off the bill (no I'm not going to tell you how much I had to spend to get that savings)...but I won't have to do a big shopping for several weeks. And I still have too much stuff.

    And well routines work to a point. Take today for example: I've been getting up early enough to write before my 'job' of watching my grandson. However and emergency call had me out the door and to the grandsons' place at 7:30 am. No people problems. Just mechanical stuff. So while my son waited for me, Hubby got DIL to her job, while FIL was able to help Son and get the non-working vehicle towed to a safe place and get a car to DIL's work place so she could get home later, and then get Son back to his place, where he will then use my car to get to his afternoon appointments. And then I'll have to wait for him to return to get me back to my place (with or without my car...that hasn't been figured out yet). Life is complicated. Peace? Maybe I get some of that tomorrow :)

  3. I really identified with this Chiara! My motto for this year is Write Now! I have been trying to write now and not put things off. I also had to recently re-do my filing system for my writing because the back-up was adding new files OK but not deleting old ones - it got too confusing! But now I have an amazing system - took time to set up but it's so easy to find documents now and to update where they are... Organisation - it's essential for creativity!