In Search of Pictures

I almost jumped out of bed to clean a couple of nights after I organized the pictures, but it was 1:00am so I decided to stay put. It occurred to me as I was falling asleep that the pictures might be in the office, in a desk drawer, beneath handfuls of hanging folders. I remembered stuffing things under the folders years ago because I didn’t have room to put them anywhere else. Ahem.

I decided to wait until the morning because the office is outside, which is dark at 1:00am. I speed walk to shake the ghosts and zombies hot on my trail any time I have to get a glass of water in the middle of the night. There’s no telling what would be waiting for me outside, and I’ve read enough trashy novels to know that whole Crucifix and Holy Water thing is a myth.

Besides, it’s easier to take pictures of paper-strewn desk drawers in daylight.

The first thing I did the next morning was to open the messiest desk drawer and look inside. There they were: things. Things under file folders. I pulled everything out and went to town tossing, organizing, and filing all those things.

Sadly, those things weren’t Nicholas’s pictures.

I persevered and attacked the other drawers, even though I was pretty sure I wouldn’t find the pictures.

I didn’t.

Oh, well. Might as well try the cabinets. Many of the pictures I organized last week were also stored in these office cabinets, so I knew whatever was there I already found. Still, it didn’t hurt to purge and organize. They were getting impossible to close!

Not pictured: the paper cutter I had to hold in place with my foot before quickly closing the doors.

I didn’t bother dusting/vacuuming them out because I still haven’t decided how I’m going to organize them (and because I was in a bad mood about the pictures). I think I will use these cabinets to store craft supplies.

Plenty of pictures in here!

Just not the ones I want.

While I was working on the drawers and cabinets, the Mister tackled the printing station and the tangled cords of doom.

It doesn’t look that bad–or maybe it does–but that’s because I wasn’t quick enough to snap a before picture. The inside was stuffed with papers, binders, and other things. Lots of things in this office!

The things ended up on the desk for sorting and purging.

Those that made the final cut returned to their new, cleaner home.

It’s a new, cleaner home with doors that open and close. Far, far, far down on the list of things-to-do is to readjust the left door so that it hangs properly. But before that happens, I hope to find those pictures.

No pictures, guys. Still no pictures. They might be in the garage, but it seems unlikely. I took a quick peek after I finished with the drawers and cabinets, but it’s such a mess of discarded clutter in there that it’s impossible to walk a foot or two in either direction. Our garage sale is coming up soon. I can’t wait.

There has to be somewhere else I haven’t looked. Maybe up in Nico’s closet?

This post was part of The William Morris Project, a weekly series that details the steps I am taking to create an intentional home. You can see more of my goals and completed projects here. To learn more about this project, start here.

Now it’s your turn! Feel free to share how you have lived according to the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Made a plan? Cleaned a drawer? Bought a sofa? Tell us about it with a link or comment. A few guidelines:

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  1. I had a dream last night that my studio/office caught fire because it was so untidy (and also, bizarrely, full of propane canisters). Does starting to dream about the mess mean that it really is time to tidy it up? I have a week off work next week – maybe I will get to it then!

  2. The office is looking fabulous! Not to rain on the parade or anything, but wretched luck on the photos. Of course you know, don’t you, you’ll find them in the absolute last place you look–either that, or after you’ve cleaned the entire house/garage/office, top to bottom, they’ll magically appear in the first place you looked. Pretty sure such things are the reason ancients believed gods liked to play jokes on poor mortals. πŸ™‚

  3. I had a chuckle at the speed walking to shake off ghosts/zombies. I’m almost 40 (like really almost as you know) and I swear my imagination gets so carried away in the dark. I can only imagine what it will be like when we move into the house and I have to get something on the third floor at night.

    You’re becoming an organizational wizard by the way.

  4. I have so been where you are. I’ve made great strides in organizing the paper/office beast–but I can always see how far I have to go when there’s something I desperately need to find (NOW), and I can’t. I’m sure you’ve got those pictures somewhere. You know you wouldn’t have gotten rid of them. That’s what I tell myself when I’m in search of something precious. And it’s always been true. Sometimes it’s a really really long time before the thing surfaces, and then it’s in some random place and I have no idea how it got there.

    • That’s my only consolation. Not only would I never get rid of them, they’re too big for me to do that even accidentally. They’re here. I just need to figure out where.

  5. Jules, where do you store the boys’ art projects or stuff they bring home from school? I just found some of my youngest daughter’s pictures mixed in with the box of those that I keep tucked under her bed. Also, do you have a linen drawer where they might be tucked underneath a tablecloth. . . . Ugh, that drives me nutters when I know something is in the house and I just can’t find it. I know you can do it!

    • I checked there and didn’t find anything, but there might be other places that I haven’t looked. I should check the linen drawer just in case. Thank you!

  6. Oh, I’m so sorry. I totally know the feeling, too. The search and nagging feeling they must be near! My worst lost story was when the really nice watch my husband gave me when I graduated medical school was nowhere to be found. We search everywhere. He suggested he should check the trash outside, perhaps the diaper genie bag in case it slipped off. I remember rolling my eyes–no way would it have fallen into the diaper genie! He bravely went out and split the blue plastic into a empty cardboard box. A moment later he’s frantically knocking in the door–I open in and he displayed the watch proudly, rescued from near oblivion in a diaper genie bag!

  7. Jules, any thoughts on what to store pictures in prior to getting them into albums, etc. Have you shopped for nice boxes or seen anything out there that works well. I have some typical photo boxes, but am gorowing beyond them, and now I hate the hodge podge of storage I have. And of course, the random colors of them. You never by 10 of these things at once, all black or red for using the next 5-10 years. It’s 2 on sale at JoAnn’s and then 1 more a year later and the color is gone.. . .you get the picture.
    Missing pics. . . Definitely look in all drawers where flat pictures and art prints can be safely tucked away. Closet shelves?

    • Because I have a system set up, I don’t see that I will need something to store pictures to keep in a holding patter. Ideally, now that I’ve done the hard work, I’ll take the school pictures and file them immediately or within a few days.

      That said, if things ever go south for me again in the picture department, I still have that huge drawer that’s now empty, or will be once we buy another bookcase and store the albums there.

      Do you have a large drawer you can devote to pictures? Or maybe one of those plastic bins that can slide under beds? I hate buying those photo box things. They take up a lot of room and once you organize your albums…what do you do with them?

      Let me know…I can do some searching!

  8. Your progress is beautiful even if you didn’t find the pictures. But I do hope that they turn up soon! I hope that one day I’ll actually be at a stage to make some scrapbooks from our loose, and pep up the old junkie scrapbooks I have from when I was a kid. πŸ˜‰

    As always, thanks for hosting. WMP has been such a huge mental helper for me during our move across Germany!

  9. Oh, Jules. So sorry you haven’t found the pictures yet. I hate that sick feeling in my gut, while my brain races trying to remember, when I lose something important.

    On the other hand, looks at all the time you’ve spent in the office now! No more guilt over ignoring the space, even if you don’t step foot in there again this year.

    • I know! The bright side is that the office is so clean and tidy now. Just a couple more drawers to go, and then I can start creating home files.

  10. OMG I am SO glad you admitted to the speed walking to shake the nightly unknowns! I’m in my thirties and have been working on this irrational fear for about 10 years now. Except I just start out speed walking. That quickly turns to a slight jog while constantly looking over my shoulder, gasping for air while I nearly have a full out panic attack trying to reach the next light switch. It’s completely silly. I totally get that it’s all in my head but that head of mine is pretty darned convincing sometimes, LOL

    I am impressed with what you accomplished while looking for pictures. I would have just ended up with a bigger mess from what I’d sifted through while looking. You have really acquired quite the knack for organizing.

    • Haha! The slight job made me laugh. πŸ˜€ I never look over my shoulder. I’m afraid of what I’ll find!

      A few weeks ago we had a big moon or planets or something. I don’t know. The point is I went outside VERY late, maybe after midnight, to look for the moon. You could have heard a pin drop! I got totally freaked out and burned tracks inside. I didn’t jog, because I have this idea that speed walking looks normal, but jogging somehow tips off the monsters that I’m scared and ready for the plucking. It makes no sense because I probably break land speed records with my walk, and the 12 foot leap/hop/hope for flight I make towards the door fools everyone, I’m sure.

  11. Bad luck about the photos. I hate it when that happens (which is more often than it should).

    I am still putting off sorting out my desk and filing, but I have been working my way down the master list of Jobs That Need Doing.

    I have inherited my mothers love of lists, and youngest DD also seems to have the List Mentality, judging by the lists I’ve found around the house for her upcoming Half Birthday party. I’ve found lists of guests and lists of food, complete with ticks if I’ve agreed to make it for the picnic!

    Your room by room list is working so well for me. DH doesn’t get quite the same satisfaction from crossing things off the list, but I feel so much better seeing that a window sill has finally been painted, or that the flaking paint that has been bugging me for months has been repaired. Jobs that took 5 minutes but I’ve put off.
    Coupled with continued decluttering, and I’m beginning to feel I’m getting somewhere and to feel more relaxed when I’m at home, instead of constantly feeling that I ought to be doing something else.

  12. Ruthless! That is the style of purging you have developed through this project! I don’t have as much resolve as you do, but even I feel the difference in my house.

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