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« Courage & Craft Published: The Marketing Whore Returns | Main | Random Inspiration »



Yes, I understand what you are saying. My desk is always a mess. I clean it off and it doesn't stay clean for two days. Lets see, what is on my desk. A 'Quick Reference to the DSM-IV-TR. A cracked tigger mug with pens and pencils radically stuffed into it. My cell phone, and oh yes, the dinosaur from "Toy Story".
I got lost there a minuet reviewing the books on writing they are sponsoring on this page. Anyway, my desk is a mess and I need to let the dogs out.


I work on a very small desk. Space for a laptop, an antique sugar bowl of pens and pencils. Photos of grandkids, a saucer of paper clips. Everything else is stashed in an armoire behind me that is a little out of control. I must have though there was going to be ink cartridge rationing. And that I need to own every book ever written on memoir writing.
But there is the matter of my closet. How many black skirts does a person really need? And white tops? How about shoes when all I really like to wear is cowboy boots? I'm going to look in all those shoe boxes right now.


Beth - Two days is about my limit too.
Denise - You can never have too many black skirts or pants!(And maybe a very small desk is the answer.)

Lisa Manterfield

I'm one of the fortunate ones. Once or sometimes twice a year, my office has to be converted back to a guest room for visiting family. I put all my accumulated clutter into boxes and take them to my storage unit. After the guest leaves, I never seem to get around to retrieving the boxes, so my office stays nice and organized (at least for a month or so.) Out of sight, out of mind--the perfect solution to clutter!

Timmy B.

Isn't there a saying about people with clean desks? Something about insanity?


I've been pretty good about donating books I no longer respond to, and getting rid of paper clutter, like old recipes and business cards. I also threw away two years of teaching materials (two big boxes) from my days at Rutgers when I accepted that I hate teaching.

My dark secret? I have every college note I ever took, neatedly organized in black binders. I went to college for 10 years and completed 245 semester credits. It takes a small closet to store them. Someday...

Rev. Angelica

Must be a virus going around LOL ..
Yesterday I realized I just couldn't handle it anymore, and started wading through two years of piles. I can't believe what I save!!
I decided to do it like one of those clutter shows on HGTV -- I got 3 boxes: for personal papers, business papers and recycling.
My prayer today is "Oh God, let me sort these boxes before the next two years is up!"


with a candle party quickly approaching (sat) and the changing of the seasons (i now wait until after sept. 11th to take down all of the patriotic dec's from the summer), i am attempting to do my seasonal cleaning and get the fall dec's up in a matter of days!

in doing so, i've come to wonder how so much cat hair has gotten into our bedroom (where our pc desk is) when we don't let the cats in here! when was the last time i vacuumed in here?! when was the last time i dusted in here?! with no more room for files under the desk, where will i put them?! (unfortunately, i think my worker's comp and disability files now far out number my writing files by a long shot!) how is it that i've filled a 39 gallon garbage bag just by going through the top of, the drawer of and underneath my desk?! and there's more that i could get rid of but can't get myself to part with for reasons beyond my grasp!

i'm afraid to look under the bed!


Lisa - Out of sight, out of mind was exactly my problem!
Timmy B. - Hey, I like that idea. More clutter, more sanity?
Christina - I love your dark secret.
Rev. Angelica - Just three boxes? I'm envious -


ps: most of the college stuff i have left after a messy breakup with a nasty ex is in boxes in the basement. so far in '07, i donated 5 very large, very filled bags of books from the winter up until the beginning of summer and right now have 2+ bags awaiting donation as well!


Not only my desk, but my office and my house had filled with clutter beyond my personal comfort level. Then a disaster happened that forced me into action. I discovered and had to repair massive termite damage to the front walls and floor of my house. This required packing and moving most of my posessions and completely emptying 3 rooms including my office.
So I decided to reorganize my office space by utilizing my closet for a printer and organized storage containers, thus freeing my desk for only a laptop, phone and pencil sharpener (I love a sharp, new point on a wooden pencil).
I further plan to leave most of the stuff in the garage, toss it, or give it away. I've come to love the spare empty look of my rooms. It allows my eyes to glaze over and my thoughts to turn inwards. A really good place to be for writing.
I'll save the discussion of garage clutter for later.


Jo - Ah, cat hair. It's everywhere.
Mary - That spare, empty look is inspiring. Maybe small desks really are the way to go.


Throw as you go. It's hard, but once you start doing it, it's liberating.

Steve Mazur

"In one particularly scary drawer I have dozens of failed pens, a bottle of very hard White-Out, hundreds of business cards from perfect strangers, and a very good recipe for gazpacho that I copied down about the time Carter was president."

My favorite sentence this year... Hilarious.


Your office sounds so "writerly"

Is that a word?

Mine's a mess too. But I know where everything is.


Less space -- less clutter. When I converted my son's bedroom into my office/guest bedroom, my husband thought that the conversion was to be his new home office. Out of guilt I told him that he could have all the drawers but two for his collection of videos -- 400 tapes with 800 old movies to be exact, and a tower for cds. So I got the closet (in which I have a file cabinet and a few shelves in my library where I keep all my projects (neatly labeled) so that I don't have to guess where that manuscript is that I am working on. I learned to do this after I pulled somethng out from the bottom of the pile and everything came tumbling down, and the notebook came unclasped and all the papers spilled out in random order, and I had to spend hours putting things back together. I also have a small desk with a desk caddy in which I keep one large plastic envelope for tax receipts, five press packets, another plastic envelope for invitations and coupons, and my reading diary and personal diary -- and that is about it. Tight quarters are the mother of neatness -- believe me I would love to have a room of my own, and I fantasize about throwing out all my husband's tapes, but that would be the end of our marriage -- and I want to go to Lake Arrowhead to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary in a few weeks, so I guess that I will just controoooool myself. Loren Stephens


Must have caught Christina's virus -- just came home from a 3-day "energy healing" trip to cross-town LA - looking to clean up enough of my office to make some desk surface - sort of feng shui? - then got distracted pleasantly by a link to this thread in my 2054-unfiled-email-inbox and then reflected on this quote: “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?” ---by Dr. Laurence Peters .... now what do I do?

Deb Smith

I cleaned off my desk once and found a bra. And it wasn't even mine.


Elizabeth - I'm going to write THROW AS YOU GO on a sign and hang it over my desk.

Steve - Coming from you that's a huge compliment. Thank you.

Jenny - Hey, a writerly desk. I like that.

Loren - Happy Anniversary . Enjoy Lake Arrowhead. It's gorgeous this time of year.

Al - Thanks for a great quote.

Deb - That made me laugh out loud.


We are moving and have packed up most of our belongings. While the house was staged the majority of my writing is in the vault except for the current box. Scary, as all of my poetry has never been entered into my computer ,but is just hard copy. When we leave (both of us write) we are transporting our writing boxes ourselves. Cleaning out the house after 22 years and packing brought many writing treasures to the surface.


Sharon - Did you find stuff that you had given up on and now realize it's either really good or has potential? (Good luck with your move!)


I love this thread! As both a writer and a professional organizer, I can be my own worst client. But I try to maintain a healthy sense of humor and that works most of the time.


Instead of writing or drawing I move and organize my writing/art space. Before my third daughter went off to grad school, I had my own space in a tiny room next to the dining room. After she left I took over her bedroom. I was so happy! In the year I was in there I hardly accomplished anything. I spent most of my time walking by the newly painted room where I had even taken the time to paint a saying on the wall (Soli Deo Gloria) and made my own curtains. This year, in August, my youngest son moved out to go to grad school. Guess what? I decided to move my office to his room. What is going on here? I want to move. But how? And where? It is not the room that makes a writer or an artist. I must go in, stay in, lament, agonize, THINK, and produce something. By the way, my new office is periwinkle. Everything is in it's place....except me.


Sunny - Humor is the key to all of it!
Debra - Your comment could become an essay.


Really? I will work on that! I'm looking forward to paricipating in your class from afar. How I wish I could be there! But having access to the assignments here is the next best thing. Thank you for doing this.

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