Monday, February 24, 2014

Simple: Workspace

As a minimalist, I have to change my habits, the way I think, the way I act and the way I live. This might seem like a lot, but consider this: When shouldn't you be changing these things? If you're choosing a better lifestyle, you're choosing to change yourself, your core being, the way you show yourself to the world. Keep in mind, I'm not changing my religion or my character or my foundation, I'm changing my life. I'm still me, just living differently. In this way, by changing my life, I'm reaffirming myself in my religion. Wasn't Jesus a minimalist, after all? His Heavenly Father provided for all his needs, so he had no need for a house, garage and car crammed with stuff. I want to be more like Jesus. I want to trust my Heavenly Father to provide for all my needs and not rely on my stuff to make me happy, to make me feel fulfilled.

I should say that I'm not going to live like a monk with a robe and a cup, but I am going to start living with A LOT less stuff. I would say half as much, maybe less.

I thought that since I just did my filing cabinet, I'd do the rest of my workspace as well. At this very moment, it is what frustrates me the most and I currently own all the supplies I need to fix the problem. So what's the holdup? I made this list before I started the project last night, so I have marked off a few things that I have finished already. Also, in between the picture below and now we have moved to a new rental so the after picture will look a bit different, but it's still the same work space.

As embarrassing as it is, here is a picture of what I started with:

Like I said before, I'm a messy person. But I don't want to be anymore. I don't want to be embarrassed to post a picture of the inside of my house. I don't need to be proud, I just want to be comfortable with people seeing my space.

For this project, I'll follow these steps:

1. Get rid of all trash, shredding and recycling and stage it for proper disposal. I'll make a run to the recycling bins up the road after I've completed all the other steps.

2. Find a picture of what I want my workspace to look like when I'm finished.

Here's what I found:

3. Remove all things that don't belong on my desk and put them where they belong. This includes crackers, baby snacks, a can of spray paint, a bottle opener, a digital scale and some sunglasses among others.

4. Start scanning in paper documents that need to be archived. Recycle or shred when finished. (will be completed as time allows)

5. Empty my bench seat of all unnecessary items and refill.

6. Purge all items from the large filing cabinet that haven't been used or are unnecessary.

7. Purge all out dated files (anything older than 12 months for tracking, and anything other than important personal documents).

9. Remove inbox bin. I will no longer use a bin to corral paperwork that needs to be acted upon. I'm setting the new expectation that I'll take care of the items immediately or leave them front and center on my desk until I do have time, preferably the same day.

10. Update household binder. We keep a household binder with information about how I run our house. This is so my husband knows how to run things if I'm gone and so everything we might possibly need is all contained neatly in one place. It's also a place for me to corral my grocery lists, tracking and coupons.

11. Move the printer into the top section of the filing cabinet. This is to keep it out of sight because I use it maybe once or twice a week so there's no reason to have it so visible. At this point, I'll also move all the accessories for the printer (paper, specialty paper, spare cartridges, etc.) into the same space.

12. Remove all trash, recycling and shredding again and deliver to appropriate bins.

13. Pour a cup of tea and admire your handiwork!

Here is the final result:

Not too shabby, I'd say! It's certainly not magazine-worthy, but it's neat and tidy and organized.

In the wicker basket on the right is all the items I have listed on eBay and any packaging supplies I have on hand. On my desk you'll see the teal plaid edge of our family binder and next to it is my notebook for thinking on paper and a little basket of items I need to put away. Then of course my laptop, mouse and coffee cup. these can be stashed in the storage space inside my bench. In the drawer of my desk I'm keeping my checkbook, camera, glasses, tablets and 'out' basket (any paperwork that needs to leave the house. Right now there's a bill and a stack of mail for the previous tenant). I'm keeping my purse on my bench or on my eBay basket for now until I mount some hooks just inside the front door. Inside my bench is my laptop case, my tripod, and a box of items I need to return via mail.

On top of the filing cabinet is my money jar, my business books, a magazine holder with paper office supplies, a photo box with other office supplies and a photo box with (gasp!) photos in it. The photos are for a future project but I'm collecting them as I unpack so I'm keeping it handy for now. In the upper portion of the cabinet lives my printer, scanner and paper. In the top drawer are my files, user manuals and a box of checks. In the bottom drawer are some random things I'm not ready to get rid of and my CDs. In the lower right portion of the filing cabinet, I'm storing a basket of technology and cables on the top shelf and some curriculum, business archives and a giant manual for my car on the bottom shelf.

Just the fact that I can describe everything that's in or on my desk in two short paragraphs is pretty amazing to me. Previously I couldn't find hardly anything, didn't want to put things away because it was difficult and had way too much stuff for the space. I do have another box of items that need to be fit in the space but the the good news is there is room! And if there isn't, something will have to be purged.

Now if only I could keep it clean...

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