Monday, February 21, 2011

Clean Desk

When I was young, I had a sign for my desk. It said "an empty desk is a sign of an empty mind," or something to that effect. I think my Mom got it for me after she gave up on ever seeing the top of my desk again. She was probably hoping that my piles of paper, books, and paper clip creations were a sign of genius. You have to know that my Mom is a very neat person. My son laments that our house is not clean "like Grandma's." I try to explain that Grandma does not have two kids, a husband, a cat and a dog messing up her house, but to be honest, that is not really the problem. The problem is, I am just as guilty of laying things down and not putting them away as everyone else. So, I have (yet again) tried to do something about it.
I had tried Flylady before (see this post), but had given up a while back. Well, I decided to look at her ideas again. One of the reasons I had stopped, was her admonition of keeping a "shined sink." This was actually a source of stress for me, first because it seemed that as soon as I shined it, somebody put something IN it, and second because my dishwasher has to be attached to the sink spigot to work, so my sink gets messed up for a couple hours while it's working. Many times I run it at night, so I wake up to a dishwasher, not a shined sink. Another thing was the shoes, but that's kind of minor. The third problem I had was the "Control Journal," which I attempted to make, but never looked at so it did me no good.

Well, I have had an epiphany. I decided that I wasn't Flylady, and maybe I needed to take her ideas and make them work for me. So this week, I cleaned off my desk. I have a sewing table for a computer desk, and it doesn't have a lot of room, so it always ends up piled with stuff. I also had a TV tray next to it to hold the overflow. Well, I took down the TV tray, and filed EVERYTHING! The only things on my desk right now, other than the computer, are a lamp, a small notebook, and a file folder.
The file folder is my new "Control Journal." It has a list on the front, headed "Daily." It says clean off desk, dishes, make bed, chickens. There are similar lists on the inside for "Weekly" and "Monthly." Inside are week-long blank To-Do lists, where I am writing day to day the things I have to get accomplished. The good news, is that the clean desk made the shelves look bad, so I cleaned those off, and then the piano looked bad, so I cleaned it off, too. While trying to put away the extra piano music, I realized that my music cabinets were a disaster, so I cleaned them, too.

I have some good reasons for starting with the desk. First of all, it is very difficult to function there with stuff all over it (light bulb moment, duh!) Because I am spending more time at the computer, trying to write articles and also get my website going, having it cleaned off has given me much more room to work. It has also forced me to get the bills in order, and it has been much easier to enter things into the checkbook, so my finances are a little better under control. The last reason is that my desk is in a corner of my living room, and if it is messy, it makes the whole room look worse. This is the room Mike likes to spend most of his time in when he is home, and it is hard for him to have to sit amidst all the mess and clutter, so I am really trying to keep it picked up so he can be more comfortable when he is home. It is much easier to motivate the kids to pick up their stuff if my stuff isn't all over the place!

So, here we are. I'm typing this post on my dust-free (or almost) computer, at my clean desk.


  1. Robin,
    Your desk area looks great. And I agree with you...sometimes you must tweak another person's ideas and make them work for you. I have had to do that with many areas. Great job looks great!

  2. Thanks! Amazingly it is still cleaned off, several days later. Now for the rest of the house!


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