Time to Clean Up Your Office

stack_of_paperSome days you are the pigeon. Some days you are the statue. And some days you have to clean your desk, table, studio space. You just have to. Either that or plow it under and call one of those reality shows where Donald Trump shows up with 50 cat carriers and has a desperate housewife fire you and send you to rehab. I’m sorry, I don’t watch TV, so it all sounds alike to me.  Back to cleaning.

Here are some tough love tips for cleaning that worked for me today.

1. Don’t look back. I tried being serious about saving all those articles I’ll read someday. Then I realized that if I really had wanted to read them, I would have. In the time that I’ve collected the articles, I’ve read four books. So I’m not really motivated to read the articles. Toss them.

This is a perfectionist stumble. “If I were a really good X, I would read, file, remember, sketch, write, use this article, image, scrap of ephemera.” Deep breath. It’s a perfectionist thing. Toss it.

Yes, you will probably need it within 10 minutes of the trash truck vanishing down the street with it. Toss it anyway.

2. You won’t buy it anyway. Catalogs marked with turned-down page corners for storage, filing, clothing items. Largely waiting for a windfall. When windfall comes, will need something else. Toss catalogs.

3. Compare and act. Two of the items I wanted in the winter catalog are now on half-price sale. Pick up phone and order. Done. Move on.

4. Even if you teach, throw it out. I have a huge stack of magazines, catalogs, flyers that are “perfect” for that collage class that I’m not teaching this month. Or next. More stuff will accumulate. Toss it out.

5. Start where you are. Don’t try to catch up. More paper is mistakenly saved because you are scared to throw it out, for fear of forgetting, falling behind or forgetting. Unless it bank or tax stuff, make NOW your starting point. Easier and saves the nerves.

Quinn McDonald wishes she would clean up more often. The desk has a nice wood grain she rarely sees.

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10 thoughts on “Time to Clean Up Your Office

  1. Aaaarrrrggghhh! And don’t you dare 555555 at the afflicted or I shall spread this contagion far and wide . . . I have enough of this virus to start a pandemic.

    Seriously though, it’s a battle-royal between “it might come in handy some day” and “if in doubt, chuck it out” and the battle lines have been drawn: spring is just around the corner.

  2. Well, there are times when one needs to save things if you have a specific project in mind. For example, I’m saving junk mail, receipts, etc for a project I’m planning. But I do toss stuff, almost ruthlessly, if it is something I really do not need or want.
    I pay specific attention to this because I am actually a recovering hoarder. One of the best ways to fight that is to be forced to move when the building you live in is foreclosed upon, and you have to go from a 4 room apartment to a 2 1/2 room flat. B-) I estimate I left 80% of the crap behind.

  3. Thank you for the boot! I began doing this at the beginning of summer, life happens, and well…you know. I will “get on” with it. My word for this year was “simplify”!

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