Apr 16, 2013 •

I’ve thought for awhile now that the perfect desk situation for me is a clear slab of desk with a bare minimum of items/distractions on it. To that end I bought a very long IKEA desk that has a plain woodgrain finish, mounted my monitor on the wall, and got a wireless keyboard and magic mouse (and now magic trackpad). If you’re like me and not a naturally organized person, you know what comes next: the additional things seemed to quickly pile up.

Some of the things seemed reasonable: a box of tissues, the notebook where I take handwritten notes (I’ve become a bit obsessed with pen and paper over the last few years but thats an entirely different discussion for a later time), a book or two that are handy for reference, and of course a stress ball (or two). Then there were the things that weren’t quite as productivity focused: a hardcover copy of Walter Isaccson’s Steve Jobs biography that I was proud to display, the broken (read: shattered) screen from my first generation iPad that was replaced after its abrupt meeting with a high school multi-purpose room floor, the stock hum-bucker pickup I took out of my first electric guitar, a few batman toys from McDonald’s happy meals, and other sundry tchotchkes.

Obviously the ‘clean and clear’ desk of my dreams was gone, and this distressed me. So I responded by getting some shelves up on the walls (again IKEA, I really like the look of their ‘floating’ shelves and it matched my desk perfectly) and moved most of the tchotchkes and some of the reference books off the desk. But as you might guess this became a recursive cycle: my desk would fill up with stuff, I would clear it off; rinse, lather, repeat.

Fast forward to a few months ago and we learned that Lindsey is pregnant! This is awesome as we’ve been trying for awhile and dealing with some challenges and issues (another subject for another time, also she has been incredibly open about the issues on her blog and I highly recommend giving it a read, I’m really proud of her), but it does mean that I have to give up the spare bedroom that has been my catchall for random boxes of stuff that I’ve never unpacked as well as several bookcases worth of books. So I decided to move stuff around in the office to make room for a large bookshelf on the wall (IKEA again) and took the opportunity to buy some cabinets so I could organize all of the cables, adapters, and accessories that I’ve been hanging onto over the years. The ultimate goal is to completely empty the spare bedroom so that we can move the baby’s stuff into a blank canvas.

In this organizational/categorizing process the office and more importantly my desk has been in a pretty impressive state of clutter. In fact its been about as far away from the clean state that I have been desiring and fighting myself to create as possible. But a funny thing happened the other day when I sat down to work at this desk filled with random things stacked all over the place: I had a sense of calm, of peace, and it made me wonder.

Have I been fighting a losing battle with myself? Creating tension unnecessarily by trying to be something I’m not? I’m not quite a hoarder, but I’m DEFINITELY a saver, and while many of the things I hang onto eventually (admittedly sometimes years and years later) end up in the trash, a fair number of them do end up repurposed or in some way valuable. Maybe I need to embrace the clutter on a day to day basis, and make the cleaning/organization process a once or twice a year process.

Or maybe I’m deluding myself, and what I really need is someone to schedule an intervention with the good folks from ‘Hoarders’.