Cleaning a desk entails way more than the desk itself. There is the area underneath the desk, and if there is a closet or shelving in the office better count those areas too. If there is an area that can be used near the desk, it will be used. I have learned from my own experiences storing my own papers and seeing my parents needing more cabinets and shelving to store their papers. Neither of my parents is much inclined to go through accumulated papers. They will eventually, but not until things get out of control. However, I won’t let my desk get this way; not any more.
Back in high school I had the habit of leaving my bedroom a mess. I was the classic teenager “too lazy” to want put away what I used daily. If it were a piece of clothing it landed on a day bed I used as a couch. I would stick a pair of shoes underneath my bed instead of crossing a very short distance to the closet. I also put stuff on shelves like school books and papers. Eventually the items I placed on shelves or hid under the day bed built up. Soon my room looked cluttered and messy and it stayed that way.
I did not break the ‘messy’ habit until I made a bet with my Dad. He said electric cars would hit the market and if they did I had to clean my room. I said they wouldn’t and he would have to deal with the mess of ties hanging on his closet door. As the weeks passed, it was becoming clear I was right. At the same time my Dad won because I got increasingly tired of my messy room. Eventually, I sorted through all I had scattered and hidden in my room. I found many things I didn’t miss and once I found them I no longer wanted them. So I donated or put them in the trash. I got rid of a whole bunch of stuff; especially old homework and class papers that I swore I had to keep. I really didn’t though; especially when I saw how old a lot of them were. Since this time I have made sure every few years, no more than five, to go through what I call my accumulated stuff. Last year when I did this I found I had enough to do my first garage sale and what was left over I donated to three charities.
The same need to go through and reduce things kicked into gear this month when my Mom retired from our family Internet retail business. I am working out of her former office. Like past offices my Mom had before we started the family business, it was cluttered also. Okay that is a gentle word. It looked like “a bomb of papers hit it.” The sight bothered me and I wanted to get things in order. I gathered the papers under her desk, on the surfaces, from overflowing draws, off of shelves, behind a curtain under a window hiding even more papers, and looked in her office closet. Suffice it to say, Mom used every area she had. Hence my belief that cleaning a desk can go way beyond the desk!
I could have worked at my Mom’s former desk as it was, but since I have retrained myself to de-clutter, that cleaning urge kicks in when I mentally know it has to happen. I need a sense of order especially in an area I work. I have done quite a lot of work so far sorting essential and non-essential papers. I have refiled the first and shredded and/or recycled the unneccesary. I am not done yet, as there is still much more to do. I think once I am finished it will be easier to work in there, and most importantly when I need a piece of paper or information it won’t require lifting piles or having to get up and search a multitude of areas in the office to locate it.