Blackberry Ballet

by Barbara George

People often ask me "how do I get organized?" There are several things I can say to them. One is "Well, remember the old story about how to eat an elephant? It is pretty much the same with getting organized. One bite at a time." You are asking yourself, I am sure, what in the world does any of that have to do with BLACKBERRIES? Let me tell you…

Last spring, I decided to eliminate about 2 acres of overgrown blackberries on our property. Anyone out there ever tried to do this (without chemicals)? NOT fun. Just like the elephant story – you stand at the edge, you chip away at a bit, you gather it up, get rid of it and go a bit further. If you stand in one place too long, I swear the blackberry vines grow around your feet!

Some of these vines were 60-70 feet long reaching high into the trees. Some of the walls of vines were 3 and 4 feet deep! Well, before you ask what funny farm I ended up at — let me tell you! I did get through about 1-1⁄2 acres. The Blackberry Ballet goes like this: Cut, pull, rake, move and burn! Over and over and over. Then the hard part came. Some very large tree stumps had to be moved — not my job. A wonderful guy came in with a backhoe and tractor and did that bunch. It took me 6 weeks to accomplish my part (he was here 2 days).


My reasons for doing this job the way I did were two-fold:
A) I really didn’t know any other way. B) I had a feeling … deep into what seemed to be walls of just blackberries … were patches of natural wonders left from generations ago. Huge boulders with moss and ferns waiting for sunlight to reach them. Dogwood trees, not seen in years. Wild Iris. An old logging road leading to a small creek. These are all things I ‘found’on my journey to the "Blackberry Ballet." These were my "pay-offs."

Organizing can be much like the Blackberry Ballet. Whether it be a stack of papers or 3 years of laundry. You chip away at it bit by bit. Once cleared, you find what needs to be put back and make it better than it was. Does it ever need attention again? Yes. Just as the blackberries need attention — so does the clutter. You have to stay on top of it or your ‘pay-off’ disappears. And, when you ‘hit the stump’ of an old tree, and you need back-up, you can call in a person to assist you!

Written by Barbara George, All rights reserved. Professional Organizer and President of Clean Slate Organizational Consulting _www.cleanslateconsulting.com_