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Cornered Office

with Mir Kamin

I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.

To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at

Things recently found on my desk

Categories: My boss is an idiot, Now I'm free(lancing)


So I finally decided that part of what I needed to do to break out of my recent slump was to make my workspace more inviting.

Although I would generally characterize myself as a tidy person, I am also something of a piler. And my desk tends to be the worst victim. When I wrote last week’s post, there wasn’t an inch of my office desk that wasn’t under something, even though it’s a pretty spacious L-shaped monstrosity.

That clearly wasn’t going to work. How could I feel motivated to work in such a cluttered space? (Answer: I didn’t. Which, on the one hand, sent me over to my little standing desk more often, which is good, but it also often just caused me to take one look at my office and turn around and leave, which is not.)

This morning I started cleaning, finally. I can’t say I’ve completely cleaned my desk, but let’s take a little gander at what treasures were unearthed this morning.

School paperwork. Well, you know, these things happen. The kids bring home papers and they don’t get filed right away, and then they get buried. I almost give myself a pass for this one, except that I had duplicates of several things, paperwork from last year, and—the best!—paperwork for my son for the school he’s not attending this year. Ahem. All school papers have now been dealt with accordingly. Until the next batch comes home, anyway.

Bills to shred. I have a shredder under my desk. Why do I not open mail and then shred things right away? I can’t answer that. I had a gigantic pile of to-be-shredded papers. So this morning I shredded them! It was kind of cathartic, really.

Bills to deal with. I also had a stack of I’m-sure-I-paid-this-why-do-you-keep-sending-me-bills type things, and this morning I finally made the phone calls I’d been putting off to deal with everything in the pile. Done and discarded.

Receipts to scan. I’ve already sung the praises of NeatReceipts here, before, so you’d think I wouldn’t have a backlog of receipts sitting around. But that assumes me to be far more organized than I truly am. My scanner was sitting underneath a pile of receipts that needed scanning, plus I found a few other wayward ones elsewhere on my desk. Oops. All taken care of, now.

An unopened box containing a cord organizer kit. Okay, truthfully I have no idea when I’m going to feel like diving under my desk to tackle this project, but I surrender—I put the box in my closet, at least, to get it off my desk.

Random coupons. I… don’t know. Yes, most of them were expired.

Half a pack of gum belonging to my son. No idea.

A laptop cooler that I used to use when I only had a laptop. This has been sitting on my desk, unused, for so long that it’s covered in dust. Whoops. It’s in the closet, now.

Two stacks of books to review. Theoretically leaving them here on my desk keeps them in my “to do” pile, but it’s also distracting and annoying and adding to the clutter. I cleared off a shelf on one of my bookcases for all of them.

One dead plant. I hear you’re supposed to water those things. Weird, right? Now that said plant has been dead for several months, I finally made the bold move of removing it from my desk. I’m a pioneer, really.

Five pairs of glasses. That’s not a typo. Five. I have no explanation for this. They’ve been redistributed to their appropriate locations.

Two steno notebooks, one mini-notebook, and two Post-It pads, all with notes and phone numbers on them. Most of those very important notes made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I especially like my penchant for writing down phone numbers without names; that makes it all the more fun when I try to figure out whether or not I actually need that number.

I still have a ways to go, but at least I got things clean enough that I was able to 1) feel somewhat accomplished and 2) dust. It remains to be seen if this ends my slump, but at least it’s a good start on ending my sloth.

Please tell me I’m not the only person whose desk becomes a dumping ground for everything under the sun…?

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4 comments so far...

  • Umm, no you’re not alone - but I’m not ready to reveal all I find on my desk! :-0

    Mich  |  September 6th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

  • A few months ago, I actually posted a pic of my desk on my blog so that I would be accountable and actually clean it off. What did I really do? I moved into another room on a different computer, and closed the armoir doors on the first one. Guess I should deal with that, huh?

    jennifer gray  |  September 6th, 2011 at 5:57 pm

  • I’m tempted to send you a picture of *my* desk(s).

    Valerie Willman  |  September 10th, 2011 at 8:29 pm

  • My desk is the floor beside my bed. the end.

    Rachael  |  September 12th, 2011 at 3:18 pm