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Does anybody really need four and a half cups of brightly colored paper clips in their desk drawer?

Existential questions like this over an extended period of time led me to re-imagine my office recently.

My corner office.

Before you get visions of some sleek silver skyscraper, the corner office I populate is in my home and is about the size of one of those pop-up tents at the street fair. My home is old (as am I) and so is the office, but it is where I spend a good majority of my time. Writing. Studying Spanish and practicing the newly purchased piano keyboard. (after a botched attempt at ballet)

I moved into this house at 215 newly widowed years ago and installed my late husband’s burl wood office suite—desk, file cabinet, bookcase, and recycle bin. I managed to squeeze a desk chair, printer, and computer set-up into the now overstuffed tiny office space.


I’m happy to say that I’ve been productive in this space.

Productive and claustrophobic.

I procrastinated over getting rid of my husband’s furniture. So many memories of him in his home office after his long and successful career in broadcasting. Giving it to Eric, my reliable handyman, eased my decision and led me to this project.

I decided to make a change.

More modern.

More minimalist.

With this change came a downsizing.

Downsized the number of file cabinets.

Downsized the number of desk drawers.

Downsized the number of surfaces and shelves.

Which led to a careful inventory process. Hence, the four and a half cup tally of brightly colored paper clips.

To the shredder, I sent multiple first and second and third drafts of my two books which were still in the now-defunct Kinko’s boxes. I added the contents of eighteen binders—reports on art and artists which I use for my work at The San Diego Museum of Art all of which is now readily available on the docent website. I piled on old receipts and no longer needed tax stuff and an assortment of old photographs (after scanning).

I waded through the contents of doors and drawers and tallied nine rulers, two electric pencil sharpeners, fifteen black markers and three packages of assorted colored markers, several stacks of old address labels dating back to the 1970s, old business envelopes, three scotch tape dispensers, two letter openers, four boxes of staples and no stapler.

Need I go on?

Finally, I threw a bunch of s**t away!

And then . . .

I recycled a bookcase from upstairs that fits nicely in the corner alcove. It now holds the printer on its shelf and inside my pared down collection of supplies.

I purchased five brightly colored storage boxes which add nice interest to the shelves.

My desk is now a slim white table that can easily serve as a bar if a cocktail party occasion should arise.

I have one small file cabinet—one drawer with fifteen file folders and one smaller drawer with one black marker, one pencil, one tape measure, and a newly acquired stapler.

My writing pens are next to my computer in a nice white container which has WRITE across the front.

I repositioned my new keyboard.

I added a new painting by my artist-sometimes-in-residence.

Also a giant potted cactus.

And the cherry on top of my corner office project? Neon! Two neon lights! One fire-engine red, the other marigold yellow!

I am once again inspired to WRITE in my corner office.

Wondering . . .

How will my writing change?



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Same thing going on here, but not as successfully. Congratulations on yours! I won't send photos of mine. But damn, I do love those neon lights. Bright and colorful as you are, my friend. xooxJudy


Doesn't it feel good to start a new? The memories remain of course, as do the projects. Now the big question is when does the "old gang" come over and have an office opening party? Surely some occasion is coming up for us to celebrate together.

On another note, my space is somewhat larger and my paper clips, still in boxes are boring. A few weeks ago my son came over and helped me re-organize my space. He took pictures and said, "When I come back in six months I don't want to see any more clutter."

Keep up the good work my friend.

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