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I’ve been reorganizing my colossal mess of papers and boxes. My excuse is that I’m a writer — of course I’m going to produce a lot of paper, paper that needs to be stored in case I need to refer back to it.

But all of the boxes were making it hard for me to find what I needed when I needed it. Earlier this week I thought I had misplaced some important notes — but after some further digging they turned up. Still, the scare provided me motivation to clean things up in advance of my next project.

I would love my storage area to look like this:

Talese office

Photo © Darryl Estrine, Cigar Aficionado, October 2012 (Source: https://www.randomhouse.com/kvpa/talese/)

The writer Gay Talese keeps all of his notes tucked into uniform storage boxes, which he covers with collages to remind him of what’s in each box. However, I’m just not that organized. Nor do I have a really cool New York city penthouse with a former wine cellar perfect for storage such as this. I just have a musty ol’ basement.

But it’s been gratifying to rearrange boxes so they are all in one spot. Boxes with documents related to my memoir were here and there. When I put them all in one place, I got this:


That’s four boxes. And whoops, after I took this picture I located a fifth box upstairs. It’s kind of amazing to think that all of that above produced this slim little volume:


If you’re a writer, what’s your organizational method?