When it comes to our personal surroundings, each of us has a distinct comfort level and sensitivity as to what makes us feel relaxed and at ease. Not surprisingly, as an inherently organized person, I’m most comfortable AND productive in a clutter-free, carefully curated and orderly environment. In other words, if my desk is a mess, I can’t get a thing done!
Even if I didn’t organize people’s homes, offices and lives for a living, my office would still be the epitome of what I like to call “aesthetically refined.” My motto, which I am forever repeating to my clients, is simple, “A clean desk equals a clear mind.”
Function, form and comfort are paramount to my physical and mental well-being. Inspired by the visual and structural lines of a suspension bridge and designed to keep one’s spine in perfect alignment, I can’t live without my Herman Miller Sayl chair.
For years, I was a PC, but now I’m a MAC. Unless I’m teaching a class or giving a presentation where I need my laptop, it stays in my office. Call me crazy, but I don’t trust The Cloud. Part of my Sunday morning ritual is to back-up all my devices – manually.
One can never have enough light. I use a professional task light for working on the computer. For decoration, I have an elephant-shaped lamp. Someone once told me elephants symbolize power, wisdom and strength, but I just like the way it looks.
I love my desk. It’s some. I like the fact there are no drawers and love the tempered glass top, which reminds me of the glacier water coming off the French Alps. Clean lines. Spacious. Functional. Minimal. Modern.
I tried using a stand-up desk, but found it difficult to use my laptop standing up. That being said, I do lots of design projects, as well as all of my editing, standing up at a drafting table, which I bought at a thrift store for $10.
The few hard files I have are kept in a letter-sized rolling file cart (www.ContainerStore.com). Paperwork for current projects, such as speaking engagements, pro-bono work, client projects and travel plans, is kept in a series of neatly arranged, clearly labeled plastic project folders, one folder per project.
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
I simply cannot live without my Rolodex. A self-professed techie whose iPhone contacts are perfectly organized (of course they are), I have to admit not every contact is “iPhone-worthy.” I file business contacts by profession, not by last name or company. (i.e.: “R” for Realtor, “M” for moving companies and “E” for electrician).
I confess to having a few (judiciously edited) knick-knacks on my desk. My favorites include an antique stamp holder with a little dog holding a letter (a gift from a dear friend), a paperweight of a perfectly formed magnolia encased in blue glass (a gift from a favorite client/friend), a few family photos and a repurposed candle jar filled with loads of ultra-fine point pens and pencils in every color imaginable.
Upon seeing a photo of my office, my cousin Adam exclaimed, “Where do you keep all your stuff?” Since I don’t buy office supplies in bulk and don’t like clutter, everything fits just right in a closet where I’ve devised a simple storage system using wire shelving racks, a piece of white melamine as a table top and an assortment of labeled boxes and stackable letter trays.