A few weeks ago, because I really like to bite off more than I can chew, I decided to completely rearrange my office all by myself. While an older photo, this is pretty much what it looked like when I started.
Have I mentioned I have The Worlds Largest Desk (TM)? I don’t even want to think about how much it weighs, even with the books taken off. See, it’s an L-shaped desk made out of two doors (so one side is the length of the height of one door, about seven feet; and the other side is the length of the other door plus the width of the first door, about ten feet). It’s 29 inches tall, and both of the outside lengths are supported by bookshelves. Under one side is also an old wooden filing cabinet; it’s got 12 sliding doors and my dad used to use it for storing manuscripts. It’s hard for me to keep anything in it because there are no dividers between the cabinets, so things fall from one drawer to the other and also the cats think it’s a fine thing to crawl around inside of and hide – you can sort of see it in this photo, on the right-hand underneath. I can’t bear to get rid of it, even though it is vaguely useless.)
HOW I DID THIS ALL IN ONE DAY
I spent the morning being completely ruthless with my yarn and fiber stashes, and with piles of things that were on my desk.
– if I picked it up, I had to make a decision about it.
– that decision was based on how I felt about the object.
– is it something I use often? Find its place.
– is it something I need for work? Find its place. (One of the reasons I was rearranging is that since working at home I need my desk more and more for work, and less and less is it a brilliant notion to just pile things haphazardly. Also, the kittens like to bat things around and eat through cords, so I really could be using the drawers of my roll-top desk to put things in… but that’s all the way across the room and doesn’t allow for lazy grabbing of random things which I need.)
– is it a random scrap piece of paper with a note on it, or an old receipt I don’t need, an old shopping list or list of things to do? Pitch it.
– is it a magazine? Is it a magazine that I’ve read? Do I plan on reading it? Does it have an extremely helpful article I may need in the future like an awesome knitting pattern or designs of how to build a windmill/power plant in the event of the zombie apocalypse? Act accordingly. The trash can is right over there.
– is it something I think is useful but have never used? Here’s a box of stuff to go to donation.
– is it something I once thought I couldn’t live without, but have been living without for three years while it’s been at the bottom of a pile of other crap I thought I couldn’t live without? If it’s broken, pitch it. If it’s useful TO SOMEONE ELSE, here’s the donation box.
I’m telling you, I was ruthless. I got my yarn and fiber from twelve bins to ten (although, technically I still have two extra bins sitting here but the contents have all been put up on Ravelry as “for sale”). I took out about three bags of trash. I took out about another five bags of donation stuff.
Then, after lunch, I attacked the desk. First I took off all the books from the bookshelves. This accomplished two things – it made the desk a couple hundred pounds lighter, and it forced me to go through the books to see if there was anything I could donate (there were about three bags worth). Then I contemplated where to move the desk… something I’d actually been thinking of in the back of my head for most of the day. This is a pretty big room… but it’s a pretty big desk. I am hampered by two thoughts. One is that it would be really fantastic if I had access to both sides of the desk, one side for sitting and the other side to get to the bookshelves. In a pinch I can climb under the desk to get to the bookshelves, but… I’m not 17 any more (I KNOW!) so that kind of activity is getting a bit awkward. And I forgot to have kids, so I don’t have anyone I can send under the desk to fetch for me. The other thought is that I want to have the desk sitting where I can look out a window without having to move from my computer (I don’t want to have to swivel, turn, or otherwise contort myself. I KNOW. MY PICKY: LET ME SHOW YOU IT.) This did make it awkward to find someplace in this room where I could do both. Again, yes, it’s a large room. But it’s also a large desk.
After much measuring and fussing and drawing on paper, it came out that the only two options were to (1) leave the desk where it is or (2) put the desk exactly opposite of where it is. #2 it was! I really wanted those drawers from the roll-top, as the one drawback of my gargantuan desk is… no drawers.
So. How to move a desk that big? When there are still a few pieces of furniture in the way? Push one end. Walk to the other end. Pull that end. Go back to the first end. Push it. Back to the other side. Pull it. Move the chair. Push the first end. Move the chair a little more… You get the idea. Eventually I got the beast moved around, and spent about another hour going through books and putting them back on. Then I called it A Day.
The next day I did the small stuff left over; finding places for stuff on the desk, cleaning off the roll-top, dusting, figuring out where the dog bed, the dog crate, and the chair were going to go, and find a place for the soap boxes that Tim had made for me. They had been sitting, empty, on the back porch, not doing me a lot of good (I don’t want to store my soap on the back porch, where hot afternoon sun can bake it and all sorts of temperature fluctuations can have their way with it). This photo was taken about the middle of the second day; everything was still not clean, but it was already looking and feeling much more organized.
I don’t get to look out the window, but I do get to look out the back door – which is just as fine. I have access to the drawers on the roll-top. I have staging areas now for ceramics I need to write Etsy descriptions for; areas for wrapping packages and getting them ready for shipping; and there is so much free floor space between my chair and the roll-top that both dogs can lay near me – before, it was so crowded that even just Bridgett made it pretty tight. Now one dog can lay under the Gargantuan Desk, the other dog can lay under the roll-top, and they’re both happy. There are still a few boxes from my dad’s office that need to be gone through, and boxes of photos that I need to maybe think of better storage solutions for… but overall I am happy with the new arrangement; it feels more spacious in here and I have more areas for actual work rather than piles of junk. But man… was that an exhausting couple of days!