I had no clue what I was going to blog about today, but after reading two other blog posts regarding the same topic, I thought I’d jump in. This is a tough one for me, because while I’m organized in most areas of my life, my office space isn’t one of them. Today’s topic: Organizing Your Office.
Don’t run away! Stick around and you might find something useful. Randy Ingermanson blogged a few days ago about how to maintain your writing schedule during times of chaos. (I think my desk qualifies as chaos, but he was talking about externals, like health problems, moving to a new house, stuff like that). He said that writers NEED a place to write, a place that’s comfortable and useable. If there isn’t one in the home, then he suggests finding a coffee shop or other public space to “be alone” without family members sticking their faces in every few minutes. He has his own office, with a door that closes out the family noise. But it’s a sin to covet, so moving on.
(This photo of my nasty corner office courtesy of my iPhone)
April at Holistic Homemaking posted the six steps to an organized office. (I don’t know when she posted it, as I found it via a pinterest board, and there wasn’t a date on it.) Anyway, her post and Randy’s got me to thinking about how wonderful it would be to have a writing space that was organized. If I could find the surface of my desk, maybe I could write more. If I could find my research notes, maybe I could write more. If I could find that one book that mentioned how to fix pacing problems, maybe I could write more.
Here’s the thing. I’m a fairly lazy person at times. If faced with cleaning my desk or reading a book, I’ll chose the book. I’d rather surf facebook than search for a pen that works. I’d rather develop an immunity to iocane powder than exercise. (I don’t think I’m alone on that one.) I’ve got great excuses for my desk being the way it is, too. Check these out: I don’t have the cash to buy another book case, so all those books need to remain stacked on the floor in the corner. I don’t have enough time to write, much less carve out six hours to declutter my office and file my reams of paper. My sinuses are accustomed to the dust bunnies hiding behind my monitor–if I clean them up, I’ll have to get used to not sneezing.
They’re all bogus, and I know it. The real bottom line is there are other things I’d rather do than organize my office. It’s a universal truth: we do what we want to do. But once I find my “want to”, here are some of the things April talked about on her blog that sounded like good ideas to me:
1) Put everything in boxes and move it to a different room. This leaves only big furniture and flooring. (It also guarantees that you’ll take care of ALL of it because you don’t want those boxes cluttering up your bedroom for the next six months.)
2) Wipe down everything in the cleared office. Even the walls. Get it clean so it’ll be more fun to use when the room’s put back together.
3) Gather “like” things and place them together. Example: all pens and pencils go in one place. A soup can would work if there isn’t a desk drawer (I don’t have any drawers in my desk, and I can’t afford a new desk, so I’ll scrounge in the recycling bin for an appropriate container). All books go in one place–preferably a shelf, not the floor. All files goes in one place. If you don’t have a filing cabinet, an accordion file works. They’re not as expensive as an entire filing cabinet, so jar loose that four bucks and go to the office supply store. Or check out Goodwill for the filing cabinet. You might get lucky.
4) No loose papers. They should all be filed (and labeled properly so you can find them again) or recycled. I’ll admit this is the big one for me. My desk is covered from one end to the other with stacks of paper. All of them are important. Even the grocery ads. Argh.
5) Bring in the last of the stuff in boxes and find a home for all of it. If you can’t find a home for it in the clean office, then it should go someplace else. Maybe Goodwill. Or the trash. It can’t go on the desk top, because that should be reserved for at-the-moment items that are necessary for work.
It looks easy, but it’s rough. I’d rather have a new office, with paint on the walls (right now it’s sheet rock and bare studs), curtains on the window, a real desk with real drawers, and lots of bookcases. I don’t have the cash for all that. What I DO have is a dedicated space in the corner of an unfinished basement that’s just for me and my writing. I may never get it to look the way I want, but it can be functional and clean.
I’m off to find my will-power now. Those dust bunnies develop nasty pointed teeth when they get big.