Last week we had our annual office Spring Cleaning Day. My cube-mate and I joke that this is our favorite day of the year. But seriously, is there anything more satisfying than getting things clean and organized? Above is the only "before" picture I managed to take in the midst of my cleaning frenzy. It reveals my essential desk organization conundrum: I am basically a neat person, which means all the crap on my desk is very neatly organized into piles and bins such as the above--but the dirty little secret? I had no idea what was in the piles. There was no rhyme or reason to any of it. I had five different wire in-trays, all full of orderly stacks of only god knows what--old proposals, reference materials, art ephemera. Three of them were sitting on the actual work surface of my desk. The three stacks of stuff I actually regularly use, meanwhile, were relegated to tottering piles in a corner. But, no more!
I now have five wire bins ranged on the ledge beside my desk (I read somewhere--ok, I admit I know where: in Oprah Magazine--that the surface of your desk should be for actually working on, not storing things on. This struck me as a profound truth). They are labeled with my five main categories of stuff. And stuff must now either go in the appropriate bin, or into a file. There is no "miscellaneous" bin, no "I don't know what to do with this" pile.
The bins sit under my bookshelf. I mentioned not long ago a separate little project I undertook to clear out my bookshelf, so all I had to do there, this time around, was neatly front all the book spines (thank you, years of retail experience) and, voila! Gorgeous bookshelf!
The next thing I tackled was my file drawers--I am lucky to have a lot of drawer space at my desk, but every single drawer was full to bursting. I could hardly file a single new sheet of paper because I had every file of mine going back to my first days in editorial, way back in, ahem, 2004. So I purged and purged--sending boxes of important files to off-site storage, and filling my recycling bucket three times over. The result? Nearly miraculous:
Profoundly encouraged (file drawers with space in them! amazing!) I organized my little desk drawers as well:
I even tackled the Drawer of Shame: a big cabinet full of a monstrous tangle of old notebooks, extra shoes and clothes, tote bags, wrong-size file folders, and probably a baby alligator or two. Man, I really should have taken a "before" picture of that drawer. But the Shame was too great, and the zest for organizing it to precipitous. Anyhow, here's the after:
Last, but most definitely not least, after clearing out even more files, I managed to give myself something I've always always wanted: an art storage drawer.What to do with things that are over-sized, oddly-shaped, fragile, delicate, or just plain precious has always been a mystery to me, until now:
As you can no doubt deduce from my overly enthusiastic prose, I love this sort of stuff beyond reason. Walking into the office the next day, to see everything neat and clean and orderly, to commence my work in an atmosphere of ultimate tidiness was just the most satisfying and, dare I say it, inspiring thing. Hooray for clean!