Starting Fresh and Organized…Sort Of

I was a good kid. A really good kid. Mostly because I had no impulses to do anything risky or dangerous, since a great day was one when I was left alone to just lay on my bed and read. Consequently, I rarely got in trouble.

Okay, I lie. I frequently got in trouble, but for only one thing. Not cleaning my room.

I was the despair of my father. He and my mother had a beautiful house designed for them (okay, and us) when I was eight or so, and they created it with lots of open spaces, tons of windows with an ocean view, and light colors. All of which would have looked like something out of architectural digest, if it had stayed neat and tidy. Mostly, it did.

Just not my room.

So, why, these days, is it nearly impossible for me to work in a messy space? My dad would argue with this statement, especially after looking around my office at the piles not cleaned up from Xmas, the boxes and wrappings and gifts sort of pushed to the edges. We had a guest in November, and I’ve got more coming this month, so why should I put the futon back up into couch form? Why should I get rid of the pillows and comforter piled on it, when it’s such a cozy place for my son to hang out?ย  Obviously, I’m still not perfect.

But my desk is different. Yes, I make piles, but they have to be stacked up in a small space at either end of the desk. And–here’s the thing–if those piles hang around too long, well, I start to get nervous. Edgy. Stressed. I become sure, especially at 4:00 in the morning, that the piles hide something critical that I’ve forgotten about, something that is sure to be a real pain to take care of, that will have extra consequences because–by now–it’s overdue.

I’ve spent the past couple of days clearing out the piles. I did find a couple of those somethings, but luckily I’m not late, just…close to late. Guess what I’m doing tomorrow?! And, of course, since I finished tidying up last night, there are already a few new things in the stacks.

Life was easier when the only piles were books on the nightstand and, okay, clothes on the floor. In those days, I needed only a path from my door to the bed and the current book to be happy. Luckily, yes, life is also more fun now, with all the risks and possibilities woven into it.

But I wouldn’t say no to a butler/personal assistant to get rid of that new pile. ๐Ÿ™‚

What does your workspace look like? Are you neat or cluttered? Do people peek in and wonder how you get any work done, or are they in awe of the empty, sparkling surfaces? And however it works for you–may your workspace be happy and productive!


  1. Kelly Fineman says:

    My desk became increasingly cluttered, so I began avoiding it entirely and working on my laptop while sitting on my bed – which I keep clear while working. That said, I spent at least an hour on New Year’s Day organizing and tidying my desk area, in hopes of reclaiming it soon. (It’s situated in a nook in my family room, and gets used by others when they’re home, which is basically untenable to me these days. I wish I had an actual office.)


    • beckylevine says:

      Kelly, I wish you had an office, too. I lucked out when we bought the house & decided we did NOT need a dining room! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can write on the laptop outside the house, but not very well at home, for some reason. Hope you reclaim your desk soon!


  2. claudine says:

    Oy ve! My office takes clutter to a whole new dimension. The only work I can do in here is directly on the computer. Every surface is stacked up between six inches and 1 1/2 feet. The floor is packed with bags, and boxes full of who in the world knows what. The first two days of Jan, I decided to work in here for 5 min each day. I see no effect, so don’t have any zip left to continue. (And yes, I know that means I’m pretty easily discouraged.)
    At first, I was excited because I had decided this year to haul everything off my work table and put it somewhere, but the more I thought of it, the more I realized it would drive my honey wild to have the guest room look like my office. So much for that.
    Like you, I panic thinking that maybe my piles hold something I need to do, but instead of going through them, I run the other way. I like your attitude better.


    • beckylevine says:

      I think you should stick with your baby steps of a few minutes at a time, or a few papers. You will see an affect after a while, and it’ll feel great! Sometimes, those little one at a times are the only way I can get through something unpleasant!


  3. Amy G. says:

    I write the way I cook — I like to start neat, get incredibly messy, and then clean up again once I’m done. So you’ll usually find my desk quite clear, except in the middle of a writing session.

    The printer table, however, is another matter entirely! There chaos reigns.


    • beckylevine says:

      I like all this, Amy, except the post-cooking clean up!

      I’m just finishing up the papers that have piled up on my printer. Filing, filing, filing… ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. beth says:

    HAHA! I work in piles, too…and I never clean them until I’m missing something…


    • beckylevine says:

      Beth, you’re stronger than me. I can only wait until I WORRY that I’m missing something! ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. PJ Hoover says:

    Very neat. And I’ve been decluttering the heck out of it. I want it to be a space of tranquility. Now I just need to change the paint color and order a new picture for the wall.


    • beckylevine says:

      I like that tranquility. A couple of years ago, I had a chance to clean it out & do some major re-org, and I tried to get rid of as much non-writing stuff as I could. So I’d remember what this space is for. ๐Ÿ™‚


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