The Big Push

I’ve had a couple of questions and comments about finding the time to get my office cleaned out.  My response of course was “You need a plan”!

Pick a Saturday or Sunday or any day when you can have at least 4-5 hours and get a really early start. Plan to get up by 6 and take breakfast and a cup of tea/coffee/water into your office and start your plan. (Bring a pencil, because we love to check stuff off.)

Operating on the principal of making more than one pass through everything, rather than needing to be perfect at each step (which was my problem in the past) here’s what my plan looked like:

The big Saturday Push (though I think I got to it on a Sunday):

– Empty large closet and pile stuff up in the middle of the room so I can

– Install new shelves in the closet

– Put work papers back into the close on the shelves

– Put all the office supplies into bins on the floor under the shelves

– Put the non-work papers back into the closet, stacked on the floor

– Make a rough cleaning pass and haul away empty boxes, obvious garbage and

anything that doesn’t belong in my office

– Polish my desk and clean the windows

End big push!


– Organize the book shelves – one bookcase at a time until done (includes dusting – I hate dusting)

– Start going through the non-work papers one box a day until done – sort into keep, to-do and toss piles.

– Wash the curtains (how dusty can one set of curtains get in just three years? Apparently, very dusty indeed.)

– Dust and mop and vacuum when finished (I add this at the end because it needs it, not that I think I’ll ever do it)

Now every morning or any evening when I have strength/time/motivation I do one bookcase or one box of papers.

In three weeks I’ve made one pass through most of the non-work papers (writing related, memorabilia, clippings (why do I save these?) photographs) and the office supplies. And I’ve done one bookcase (8 more to go). Bonus for doing this was that I am now ready to do my 2010 taxes at the end of September instead of next year late and I found a $1000 bond that is matured and I can cash it in for our ski trip. Now THAT’s motivation!

I have one big bin of “To Do” stuff that I found that is now under my desk. I delve into it when I can and do something. Most of the things are years old, so there’s no rush. And some will obviously be too late, like the letter to my husband’s great Aunt who died last year. Kind of sad that I never finished that letter. But it inspires me to finish the letter to my nephew and get it in the mail.

Well, I’ve got a bookcase waiting to organize and dust – so have a great day!

My Desk

The sky is starting to get pink and blue and rosy over the trees outside my window. This is why my desk is next to the window and why I like this corner of the house. I am a morning person. I like to wake up in the dark as the sky is getting light and see the light change. The patches of blue that follow the pink. The way the trees go from black to green as the light hits them. It only lasts for a few minutes, but it makes the whole day seem magical. I like to think of that wave of color coming west across the world and all the people waking up to see that flash of color, the promise of the new day.

I thought this new day would include a clean office, but I’m not quite there yet. For the last few months, I’ve been using the kitchen table as my desk.  This has worked pretty well, but it is a bit distracting from the real business of the kitchen table, which is eating.

My office has been in horrible shape for a very long time.  It has always been the dumping ground for work papers and books but it also ends up being the place where I store all my personal papers, crafts, memorabilia and miscellaneous STUFF.

But in my new goal of having a clean and organized home, I’ve been working for the last few weeks to get it sorted out and organized. Last weekend I put up shelves and got the business stuff in order, all 12 years of work related papers. (I know, way too many, but we always filed the paperwork late, apparently you save the papers from the date of filing, not when they were due.) Then I did a little dusting and sweeping (more needed, though – yikes!)

This weekend I’ve been trying to marshal the rest of the stuff into order. Boy there was a lot of it. I’ve hauled 8 or 9 big trash bags full of empty boxes, junk mail and rubbish downstairs. That still left a lot of STUFF.

The craft stuff is now pretty much in one of those rolling cart deals with clear bins, so I can find what I want. (So can Jacob – he loves that stuff.)  I even knitted a few stitches this weekend and completed a few rows of the scarf that has been on my Amish handloom for YEARS. Haven’t done either of those things in a while. I used to crochet a lot, but my fingers had gotten so arthritic, that it was very painful.  I have put the scarf next to my bed – it would be nice to finish it before winter. It is my scarf, the last of a project where I made handmade scarves for everyone for Christmas and Hannukah one year. But I never made one for me.  I started it, but never finished it. It matches a hat I like to wear for apres ski, so goal is to finish it by January when we go skiing.  I think I can do that.

I freely confess that I have an office supply fetish. I love paper. And pens. Notebooks. Envelopes. Paper clips. Scissors. Tape. When I was a little girl, if my mom lost me in the grocery store, she could always find me in the school supplies. I would be gazing at little notebooks or pads of colored paper. Mechanical pencils. Colored markers. I’ve definitely made up for it – I have 6 BINS of office supplies. Different kinds of paper, colors and thickness. Labels of every possible description. Envelopes. I have an entire bin of ENVELOPES. Greeting cards. Notebooks. Binders. Sticky pads. Pens. Pencils. Markers. Thumbtacks, paper clips, staples. Well, they are all sorted out and organized now, so until I use them up, I have no excuse for buying more. Well, unless they are really cool. LOL.

I thought my pictures were sorted, but I found tons mixed in with papers. So now I’m going to need to get to those. I’ve got tons of albums – with nothing in them. I want to start scrapbooking again. As soon as boot camp is over, I’ll have time in the evenings to putter around with that. Two more weeks and I can go back to morning workouts and evenings at home.

We moved the treadmill out of my bedroom and into the office last night. It was a major event. That thing is MASSIVE. I got the big Solo F85 because of my weight last year, but I had no idea how massive it really was. We had to basically dismantle it and the door to get it out. Then I forgot to remove two screws on the bottom that scraped my beautiful wood floors through the furniture pad. So I get to tick off treadmill moved , but add repair floor to my To-Do list.

It feels good to have it out of my room though. Not just because the thing is massive and took up half the floor. Because it represents a time when I was not fit. When I could just manage to stagger out of bed and onto the treadmill. I’m proud of what I did to get to this level of fitness, but I don’t need to have it next to my bed any more.  It will be nice to have it in the office so Fred can use it at odd hours, which means he’ll probably do it a lot more. He’s going to mount the television on a swing arm mount so it can be used for the treadmill or swiveled around to watch from my desk or one of the chairs. That will be nice for all of us. Jacob can watch a movie while I’m working or hitting the treadmill. Probably should have put it in here in the first place. But it served it’s purpose next to my bed. It was my no excuse workout when I needed it. (Thanks, Dan! It was the best gift anyone could have given me!)

Okay – the sun is up, gotta go make some breakfast and get this week started.