Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lee’s Office (part 2)

Yesterday I called a couple of home organizers to get an idea of what they can do for me and how much they’ll charge to do it. On the plus side, if I hire someone for six hours, we’ll book an appointment and I won’t be able to procrastinate my way out of it. On the minus side, it’ll cost several hundred dollars. I haven’t decided if I’ll hire one or not, but it’s under consideration.

Meanwhile I received several private emails from people who either didn’t believe my office was as bad as I claimed it was, or who thought it was probably even worse. Honestly, it couldn’t get much worse, but we’ll start with a photo of one of my bookshelves, which is one of the least problematic areas in my office.

On the floor:
  • an empty toner cartridge that has to be recycled
  • a basket of junk I don’t use (I honestly have no idea what’s in it)
Bottom shelf:
  • UPS unit (uninterrupted power supply)
  • two storage boxes (in use)
  • modem and router
  • an anthology of women’s literature
  • four stacking trays filled with printer paper, labels, overhead transparencies, envelopes
Second shelf:
  • the pile on the left: scanner, two empty storage boxes, a box of stationary and an old teddy bear
  • a storage box filled with promo stuff (bookmarks, biz cards, etc.)
  • two binders (white) filled with stuff I wrote as a freelancer
  • a magazine file filled with research material used when I was a freelancer
  • binders (black) filled with photographic slides from when I was a sessional lecturer in earth sciences
Third shelf:
  • printer (in use)
  • all-in-one fax machine (no longer in use, although the tray makes a handy paper caddy) and it’s accompanying telephone, which works when the power goes out
Fourth shelf:
  • a stack of recycled printer paper
  • books
  • a pile of photos on top of some of the books
  • assorted cat toys
Fifth shelf:
  • more books
Top shelf:
  • books I can’t reach—genealogy, gardening, plus a dozen issues of academic guidebooks for which I was the project editor
How much of this stuff do I actually use/need? Maybe twenty percent. Why do I have all this stuff? For one thing, I have the shelfspace for it. A lot of it seemed important when I put it there five or ten years ago, but I haven’t needed it since. Meanwhile, many things I do need and use are piled on desktops and the floor because I have no shelfspace for them.

For the rest of this week, I will ponder whether or not to hire a home/office organizer. If you or someone you know has worked with one, I’d love to hear about it.

Until next time,


Beverly Carstensen said...

Lee, this is something I learned from Oprah: SPACE
Assign (a spot for it)
Using this acronym really helps me eliminate clutter, nothing I like better than a 'clutter' challenge!!

Geneva said...

Why not store the stuff you're not using in numbered boxes in your basement? List the contents of each box in a "where is" file on your computer. If you ever need it again, you can run a word search to find out which box it's in.

The stuff you never expect to need again, you can list on the Yahoo! group "Victoria FreeCycle," and some grateful person will come and take it away.

Jodie Esch said...

I'm a big proponent of Feng Shui and have been doing alot of reading in that area.
One of their suggestions is to not have your 'stuff' too high up in the room, or it can feel overwhelming. The person who works in the space can feel that the world is crowding in on them.
Any underutilized items can be sold or given away. Also, if some of your stuff is in baskets or in interesting boxes, then the room will have a more relaxed look.
After I've done a purge on my work-space, I'm always astounded on how different I feel.
Ideally, your desk would face the door for good Ch'i and that any powerful symbols that you have for your writing are clearly displayed, like elephants, dragons, special vases etc.
You've embarked on an exciting project. Have fun!

Lee McKenzie said...

SPACE. I love it! Thanks, Bev!

Lee McKenzie said...

Putting things in boxes and creating an inventory is an interesting idea, Geneva. My primary goal is to get rid of a lot of stuff, so I'll only have what I need and it will all fit nicely in my office. Wish me luck!

Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks for the feng shui info, Jodie. Excellent point about not having tall bookcases. I hadn't thought of it before, but having all that stuff towering around me is overwhelming.


I would love to invest in nice new bookcase, but once I have less stuff, maybe I'll just cut those shelves in half!

I have also received some interesting suggestions from people via private email. I'll blog about those tomorrow.