Musings: Paper-Glutting in My Author’s Tiny House
Recently, I’ve been trying to complete a project I started over twenty years ago – culling through every piece of paper I own. That includes stacks on the kitchen counter and family room coffee table, storage cartons in my garage and storage shed, and pam boxes in closets and study. The large living room/bedroom unit I illustrated in my previous Musing has four file drawers, and I’m determined to reduce my quantity of files to that space. If I dealt only with file folders, I could make it work; however, I have a 17 cu. ft. cabinet in my study filled with pam boxes of my writing projects. I also have all my archived business papers.
Just visualizing the weight of paper I’m dealing with is crushing, but I remind myself that I’ve already reduced the number of file drawers from seventeen to four. That fact motivates me to continue sorting, shredding, and recycling. Friends and fellow writers have recommended I convert all my paper manuscripts to digital storage, but the task alone would take me longer than it will to figure out where to store the must-be-kept paper in the first place.
I’ve acquired an external hard drive for more secure backup, because I learned a hard lesson this past month. My computer developed problems, and before I could get it wiped and rebuilt – with updated programs and software – it “ate” the latest version of the novel I’m attempting to complete. Since I started working on computers, back in the day, I’ve always printed a copy of each manuscript, just in case. And, of course, I can’t find the paper copy of the novel either, so I’m rewriting it.
The loss of the paper copy of my novel provides additional motivation to deal with my paper muddle. It doesn’t help to have copies if I can’t find them. At this stage of my dream of a tiny house, I’m willing to drastically reduce my clothing and kitchen paraphernalia, among other possessions, to provide more storage for the important things.
The final argument for sorting my paper manuscripts is, when I’m toes up, how will my family decide what might be worth reading and what can be shredded. I’d rather do that myself – now.
The point of this Musing: Besides the four file drawers in the living room/kitchen unit, I’m looking into additional storage possibilities in my 500 sq. ft. tiny house. Such possibilities include: a compartment under the sofa, additional side units for the wall bed unit, hidden caches under the floor, chairs and sofas with storage compartments in the side and back walls, under-staircase drawers and pull-outs. There are many web sites on storage in small places, and I’ll definitely be looking at them.