People of certain age, confident I qualify, are advised to engage in health promoting tasks and behaviors for body and brain. These encompass a wide variety, including interaction with others; volunteering; healthy eating; learning new skills; spirituality; walking and other exercise, and the list continues. Choices are plentiful, and it’s important to choose activities that bring pleasure and satisfaction. If they’re not at least somewhat appealing, resolves to follow through will diminish quickly. After recently moving pieces of furniture to different rooms in our home, I’ve discovered another “therapeutic” activity: reassign ownership of well-supplied desks with various size drawers to persons different from original owners.

And so it goes as I claim for my use a roll top desk that I bought as a gift for my husband some 30 years ago. The desk has resided in three locations in our house, and hopefully has found its permanent home in what is called the computer room. While I feel a bit guilty using someone’s personal present for my convenience, it’s more economical than buying additional furniture. Also minimalist proponents are motivating me to reconsider before introducing more items into our décor.

Skeptical thinkers might be wondering right now how switching desks helps brain clarity. Making changes that require learning new ways of adapting is beneficial. I’m working diligently to remember what items are stored where, and based on how many times I automatically go to a formerly correct drawer, I should have started brain exercises earlier in life. “Old habits are hard to break,” say many looking for excuses, but it’s true. Considering how long various items resided in the same place, I’m concerned about how much time is required to correct old habits.

When items are rearranged in our house, it requires considerable cleaning before and after. Heavy desks are not moved frequently and dust bunnies and fuzzy surfaces are proof.  Before I change placement of anything, furniture or pen collections, I try to determine if items will be permanent residents.  I’m a saver/keeper extraordinaire.  It’s genetic and somewhere in my DNA is a marker for such behavior.  Why else would I have a collection of blank recipe cards when I haven’t used any in some 10 years?  I have acquired rubber bands of various ages, knowing full well their life span is limited.  Paper clips can clip forever.  Envelopes lose sealing ability.

Papers must multiply on their own after midnight because even I, paper lover that I am, find the accumulation somewhat staggering.  It’s becoming a struggle for survival and so far I’m not winning. I covet storage containers also.  If Container Stores knew me and where I live, they’d send one good coupon to entice me, and I’d be a select customer forever.

My current self-help projects include minimizing, organizing, and categorizing.  My loving adult children and husband have decreed when I exit the earth so go my papers, containers and miscellaneous items.  That prospect is unsettling so I’m doing the job myself.  I’m thrilled with revisiting my “stuff.”  Memories linger in boxes and drawers, and come falling out literally and figuratively.  I should reminisce less and repurpose more, but it’s all very therapeutic.  Now if I can recall where everything is stored and continue with more health promoting tasks, I’ll be delighted!

Sandra Dempsey Post

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