Earlier this week, I decided that it was time to reorganize my office. I don’t mean shuffling a few stacks of papers or putting things in new file folders. I’m talking about hefting bookcases from this wall to that one, moving the loveseat from here to there to here and back again, and calling in a friend to help me coax my L-shaped desk to move not quite two feet from its old location. It is soooo heavy.
Yep, the reorganizing bug had sunk his teeth into me, and I simply couldn’t wait another day. Once the rearranging was finished, the effect was immediate. I felt more productive and better able to handle the tasks that came my way throughout the day. My email inbox and the flat surfaces in my office are becoming much less crowded, and I want to tackle other organizational projects to build even more calmness in my little part of the world.
I recently read the wildly popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which recommends releasing items that we own that no longer — or maybe even never did — bring joy. My sister and I were discussing the concept; she made a good point that a toilet brush doesn’t exactly bring joy but it’s not like you can just jettison them from your life! I don’t think I’m designed to be a minimalist, but I do understand the thought behind the book’s slant on things.
Larry and I have lots of possessions that mean a great deal to us and having them in our home is like having our extended family with us every day. Among my favorites are: my grandmother’s figurines that I was trusted to dust as a child and which now stand proudly in my curio cabinet; Larry’s great-grandmother’s teapot and the cookie jar that he used to sit between his little legs when he was a boy, happily chomping on cookies; the hand-embroidered doll my mom made for me; the clock my grandparents bought on their wedding day. Maybe these items would be described as joy-inducing enough to keep by the book’s standards, but whether or not that is true, they are staying put.
My office suffers a bit from my pack-rat tendencies, but like the treasures I have at home, the things that decorate my office are the artifacts of my life. Like the decorative chalkboard that bears the words “Always proofread carefully to see if you any words out” — a fixture of my office for more than 15 years — they create a sense of comfort and well-being to surround me at work. In the Great Office Reorganization of 2016, there were a few things that didn’t make the cut on the joy scale. For example, the picture of me with what’s-her-name from my master’s degree program (No, Holly; not you!) found its way into a file folder and the frame into a bag of items to donate. It was simply time to let that go.
There’s some great internet wisdom that says you have to let go of one thing to make room for something else. I don’t want to bring in more stuff to take the place of items that are leaving, but I do want to have room to embrace productivity and organization and peace. The thought of that brings joy all its own.