Steamrolling Toward 2014

A couple of months ago, I said to myself, “You really have to clean out your office.” Yes, a couple of months ago. And until yesterday, that “have to” hadn’t added up to doing anything. Even with all the motivation of reading Kelly Fineman’s posts about cleaning out her entire house.

Yesterday, it hit. After a week of prepping for Xmas and doing the whole holiday tidy, cook, and putter thing, I had apparently had enough of moving slowly and leisurely through life. I guess it dawned on me that we are less than seven days away from 2014, and I don’t want to enter that new year with…clutter. I get this way every now and then. It’s not the hidden mess that gets to me–the files behind closed doors that I know need to be purged, the extra office supplies tucked away where I can’t see them. It’s the piles. The shelves that don’t have room for a new book (or a new Xmas-present plush Tardis that lights up and makes that awesome parking-brake-is-still-on noise). The corners where you shove tuck all the things you don’t have a place for, and you tell yourself they’re out of the way, not taking up floor space, not getting in your way of doing anything.

Except they do. When you walk into your office/writing space, and there’s the slight sensation that even one of our smaller California earthquakes might send things tumbling around you, when things just look two crowded, too sloppy, too full, then it does–I believe–affect how well you get things done. And in 2014, I have things to get done. I’ve got a son to support in the last steps of the first steps of his college journey. I’ve got several writing projects that need to reach Done and get out the door and on their way to Actual Possibility. And I’ve got a new job to find. When January lands, I want to step into it with shiny, sleek rollerblades (you know, the ones that don’t go TOO fast, that have a really good braking system, and that won’t send me crashing into some cement wall somewhere), and..GO.

So, yesterday, I took two hours. I pulled down all the CDs, sorted into “want” and “don’t want,” and started ripping. I will have two bags of them to sell at the used book/music store. I re-organized and purged and created the magic of three empty file drawers.

Well, almost empty!


I took the pile of old totes and bags that are too shredded and disgusting to go out in public anymore, got rid of them, and replaced them all with the lovely totebag of literary quotes that my sister got me for Xmas. With the library books in it that need to go back next week. I started a Goodwill pile. I started a bag of books to go along with the CDs, which I will continue to add to today. And I am still ripping CDs.

I know it’s not Spring, but it’s the end of the year. For me, it’s not always about resolutions for the future, but sometimes about a clearing out of the past. 2013 has been a good year in so many ways, an interesting year in others. But it’s almost done, and there’s a new one on the way. I want to be ready for it.

Happy Almost New Year, Everybody! What’s on your get-done agenda for the next few days?


  1. Fantastic post, Becky! I love the idea of starting the new year clutter and detritus-free, ready for anything. I shocked myself by doing a lot of cleaning and tidying before Christmas, (but my desk still needs its weekly “during Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” tidy-up.) Unfortunately, some of that tidying involved stacking things in the storage room “for later.” Later needs to come sooner.

    Thank you for this inspiration. Wishing you a year filled with all you can hope for, and a place to put it. 🙂


    • beckylevine says:

      Thanks, Beth! I feel like if I leave the desk for last, I might have actual places to put those things! Hope your 2014 is filled with wonderful, as well!


  2. Jenn Hubbard says:

    Inspired by Kelly, I’ve been cleaning out my office regularly, a half-hour to an hour at a time. It’s very slow going and I still have tons to do, but I tell myself at least the office is getting cleaner all the time, instead of messier!


    • beckylevine says:

      Jenn, for me, if I do bits and pieces, I never get past the surface. I can go for weeks like this, but when I reach the fed-up point, it helps for me to just blast through. I’m not saying there won’t be corners I don’t get to, but the room will feel lighter and airier for me to work in.


  3. Dave Swords says:

    My motivation to occasionally clean my office is that if I don’t, my wife will, and when she does, it takes forever to find anything. She never throws anything away, but she might as well, because I can’t find it. She warn me, and if I don’t clean up in a couple of days … 🙂


    • beckylevine says:

      I think I’m lucky, Dave, because both my husband and I have office space, and we have a pretty mutual, mostly unspoken understanding that–in terms of cleaning–they’re off limits to the other!


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