Desktop Dilemma

Clump #56: Clear off papers on top of desk in study and whittle down monster paper pile.

These papers have been piled on this desktop for so long, they’ve calcified.  I put them together with the Pile Within the Pile left over from the previous paper purge.  We do have file cabinet drawers, but the papers in there must be mummified by now.


I did a bunch of sorting today, but the process was overwhelming; I couldn’t finish the job in one day. To paraphrase Roy Scheider in Jaws, I’m going to need a bigger boat. Must repeat: one clump at a time.   I had to see this desk completely cleared off, and here it is:


I read about clean vs. messy desks in an article that was one of the top 10 most emailed from the New York Times online this week.  I’m kind of upset about it.  Apparently, “People blessed with innate conscientiousness, meaning that they are organized and predictable, typically eat better and live longer than people who are disorderly.  They also tend to have immaculate offices.”  The researchers also discovered that “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition … which can produce fresh insights.”

So, our choice is living healthier and longer with a clean desk, or imaginatively and creatively with a messy desk. Am I alone in desiring, even demanding, both?

The little boy on the cover of one of my favorite catalogs (in the recycling bag) is urging me to continue this quest.  I’m searching for a middle ground between abject messiness and sterile cleanliness.  I can’t lose sight of the forest for the trees (papers).


One Comment

  1. My office is unusually messy right now, but I’m trying not to be too hard on myself about it. These things go in phases. It seems like life has called me into an unusually busy and creative period, which won’t last forever. I still enjoy a neat clean office and this will return again before long.


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