Zen Office Makeover – Before and After

Ok, my office “situation” was beyond unbearable. I had actually started queuing up the Flickr slideshow of Uncluttered Office Spaces to try to inspire myself. My “borrowed” desk was supposed to be temporary, but it had become way too permanent. It was too tall, which meant that my feet were dangling from my deskchair and I was “reaching up” to type. I sit at my desk alot, I type alot. I was starting to experience weird aches and pains. I couldn’t wait any longer.

So here’s a shot of my un-touched up, uncleaned, uncleared desk. Look quick, because I may lose my nerve soon and pull it down and vehemently deny that MY desk ever looked like THAT. Right now, I make myself feel better by knowing that this IS, after all, the before. :O)

Crazy, Messy, Difficult place to work

There, confession made. Complete with photographic evidence. So I looked at that mess and tried to determine what was essential to my work and happiness, and what was just extra stuff.

I determined that since most of my “stuff” was digital these days, that I only needed a few things that weren’t on my computer. I also decided that having my daughter’s desk right beside mine was not the best choice.

So I moved her into the adjacent room (where I can still see her while she’s completing her homeschooling assignments). I also moved my desk away from the window to avoid the early afternoon sunbeams that often blinded me.

I also moved the printer to a closer proximity (you can’t even see the printer in the “before” photo.) I pulled the cheap (but functional) kidney shaped computer desk from Serenity into the house and set it up with only the bare necessities. I’m keeping only those items I need every day at fingertip access. The rest, I’m tossing, donating or storing elsewhere.

It’s liberating!

I’ve also recently reworked the way I handle my finances, the way I keep my books and store my client files (the few that are actually physical paper). These items must be easy to access, so they are on the shelf to the left of my workspace. There’s even a place for my new, wonderful, PERFECT purse on that same shelf so those essentials can be reached without getting up.

My new space looks like this:

It's smaller, clearer and more ergonomic.

I do have a cluttered framed print above my desk — it’s plastered with a slew of my favorite photos. Not serene, not feng shui, but I love it and it makes me happy to focus on those photos and those memories at a glance while I’m working.

The light is a clip-on metal with a conversion “swirly” fluorescent bulb that really brightens up my work area without wasting energy. I tamed the tangle of cords and used twist-ties to group them and keep them unknotted.

The “new” desk is missing something, my largish stereo speakers and the huge base unit. I’ve replaced them with the tiny ones you see on the top of the new desk. They sound pretty good, but they can’t thump like the other ones could. That’s ok. I’ll make the sacrifice.

Clean, clear lines of the new workspace

This is where the non-digital supplies are stored

This isn’t the “ultimate” office, but it’s much closer than what I had before. I still need to add a rolling storage cabinet with a hanging file folder drawer in the bottom and a shallow drawer on the top. I’d like to have it outfitted so the printer will live on top. (I’m still looking for that cabinet.)

I’d also like to have a “hot file” for the incoming papers between the time they are received and the time I handle them (pay the bills, complete the project, file the papers). I’d like to hang this folder-sized hot file on the wall beside my desk.

But for now… I have to run and get my desk dock for the iPhone (thank goodness Apple designs things sleek and small!)