Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Work Space, Reworked

As I am trying to grow my Etsy Shops, I'm Making It! and ArtiZen Beads, I'm spending more and more time at my desk.  When I bought it, I could not afford to purchase the entire set-up that I would have liked to (damn you, disability!) which included a corner extension and a return, but the basic desk has been wonderful.  I'm not pretending that it isn't cheap furniture, likely to fall apart if it's ever subject to a serious move rather than the 20 foot repositioning that I gave it a few months ago, but the basic premise of it is clean, simple, and functional.  I love that it has a glass top - something that I have not been able to damage, believe it or not - and that it had a nice little shelf built in at the back.  And a computer keyboard tray.

But as time has moved on and I am using my computer and desk space for way more than just answering e-mails, chatting it up in Richard Simmons Clubhouse, and paying bills, the clutter associated with it became unbearable.  So I first answered an ad on Freecycle for a small, 2 drawer filing cabinet which has been an amazing help.  But it still did not take care of all the junk that I was accumulating, and I had to resign myself to cleaning it up on a regular basis, or not and suffering the consequences of not being able to work efficiently.  I would say that the latter scenario was much more prevalent than cleaning.  I was meant to have servants (weren't we all?), and not have to spend so much time in pursuit of housework and organization.

Then, Eric gifted me with wall-mount shelves from his Mother's home a couple of weeks ago.  Although I could take the shelves, the tracks which they were hung on were so painted onto the wall that I couldn't get the screws undone and a trip to Home Depot was in order.  You've already seen - just a couple of days ago - what a difference the addition of those shelves have made to my bedroom, and what a difference the bookcase that used to be in that location made in my Dining Room. 

It's wonderful!  I suddenly have more storage space and can function more efficiently.  But the desk remained problematic, and while I was at Home Depot, I noticed that next to the wall brackets, there were the fixings of a small wall-mount shelf.  "Voila!" I thought.  Just a little more space on which to put my stuff would make all the difference, and I think it has.

I thought I was in good shape, but realized this morning that there was still serious issues.  I had what I needed to function now in the way of space between what I had and what I have, but my organization was going to leave me still a mess.  And so this morning, I tackled reorganizing how I laid out my office supplies; all things I had on hand, and I think I have lit upon a solution where, while I don't pretend that everything is always going to be neat and clean, I do believe that I won't get totally out of control anymore, and clean-up will be a fast and easy thing to tackle.  Kind of like when I added the Baker's Rack into my studio (another gift by Eric from Anne's home).  What a different that made in there!

So here is a picture journal of my desk as it now is.

The overall view:  Not gorgeous, but definitely functional.

I love this little lamp.  It belonged to Eric when he was growing up and I found it on a top shelf of his childhood bedroom and absconded with it.  I think he was a little discomforted (not angry, but surprised) when I told him I had it - I picked it up on a trip over to the house for other purposes without him - but he agreed that he really didn't have a purpose for it and that I could use it.  I love it because it's just the right size, I love it because it's ceramic and I have an affinity for both ceramic pots and baskets, and I love it because it is a part of Eric's past. 

I used to keep all the loose desk equipment (paper cutting and punching devices, tape, staplers, and such) underneath the little built-in shelf.  That did not work well, as I was always pulling all sorts of  crap critical office supplies out from under there to get to what I needed.  And not putting it away.  The situation got better when I moved the desk into the corner where it's located now because there were already small mounted shelves on the wall where I put the tape and staplers, but there were still a lot of things like my wireless thing-a-ma-jiggy, modum, speaker, and other assorted things under there. 

Because of the new wall shelf, I was able to move most of that stuff out, and now, other than the modem which I seldom to never touch and is located in the most inaccessable corner, it has become an area simply for hole punching and paper cutting devices.  Clean and efficient.

The top of the shelf also lost a lot of the electronic equipment as well as the basket that I kept bills on, and I moved the stacking trays out of the closed cabinet I was keeping them in and put it directly behind the monitor.  This is going to work so much better for me because, as I change papers in my printer often, I will not have to open and close the cabinet doors, not only inconvenient, but disruptive to Sunny's sleep, anymore.

I still have my box of Kleenex - a CRITICAL office supply - on the shelf, but in a much more convenient locaton.  Likewise, my vertical file tool has been relocated and repurposed.  Before, I kept everything I needed handy in it... loose papers, my notebooks (which were VERY organized) full of important documents, catalogues, receipts that I had not gotten around to processing, business cards, etc. in it.  Now it only contains current projects of loose papers, a couple of manuals I use on a regular basis, and my box of shipping labels, something critical to wrapping up packages of jewelry sold.

I have to add here that through Etsy, I discovered a new web site all about keeping track of business expenses and income, Outright, and suddenly, my system of recording my monies associated with Etsy went from very disorganized and probably not very accurate to an easy system to maintain.  I simply enter the receipts of purchases made immediately on the day that I make them (although it allows for later entry and I've taken advantage of that too), and then I put one of my Really Useful Boxes, something that I MUST blog about - I get them from Office Depot - in the corner to dump the receipts in.  I figure that with the Outright system keeping detailed records of my purchases, all I am going to have to do is keep the receipts, even if they are disorganized, and at worst, I will need three of these boxes over the next year for this purpose (one for every four months), and if I'm lucky, maybe only two (one for each six months).

The top, and new, shelf is now dedicated to the stuff that was really contributing to the clutter, is necessary for me to have easy access to, but the stuff that I don't have to have such easy access to that I don't want to stand up to retrieve or adjust it.  Speakers, Wireless thing-a-ma-jiggy, my camera for Skype (I'll bring it down and position it appropriately on those rare occasions that I actually use it,  and my box of cords and ribbons for packaging up shipments. 

The bottom side-shelf has remained essentially intact as it was - bulletin board included - except that I moved my phone off of the desk and onto the corner of it.  I'm not sure how this is going to work out, but having the phone get lost and tossed around on the desk proper absolutely was not working, so I'm open to this change.

The top shelf was just full of awful crap, fertilizer, a small case of CD-Roms, and I don't even know what else.  I finally moved them off, housing them in the closed up cabinet for the time being (I'll relocate the fertilizer into my hall closet the next time I decide to tackle it's cleaning... soon).

Then I took some of the jewelry display stuff that I am not regularly using off of my vanity (not pictured in today's blog because it is still loaded with other things that need to be put away), and up on that shelf.  It actually makes kind of a pretty display, I think.  It's accessible if I need it, but very out of the way.

The file cabinet is still to the left of my desk, and the interior has been working well for me and is essentially untouched.  Additionally, I have a Lucite jewelry display case (also gotten through Freecycle) that I've been using on top of the cabinet who's organization has worked well (I'm truly a very organized person under the surface if I give any thought to how things need to be laid out) and I have not changed up much.  Bottom shelf pencil boxes (again "Really Useful Boxes), second shelf tags, business cards, and shipping tape for sending off product, third shelf Thank You notes for my clients and a small pile of post-it notes, top shelf pills that I either take daily or on a regular enough basis that I don't want them in "storage" and out of sight-mind.  The only significant change I made to this set-up is that I have put a small glass container (yet another gift by Eric from Anne's home) to contain one pen and a couple pair of scissors because that saves me the trouble of constantly opening and closing the pencil boxes to take them out and put them away, a small candy dish to hold my return-address stickers since Lucy chewed up the dispenser that they used to be housed in, thankfully not damaging the stickers at all, and, Eric's idea, a day-by-day dispensery of my pills so that I always know what I have taken or not taken. 

I should note here that I hate the ones sold in the drug stores.  What I am using is a tower of small plastic containers obtained at one of my bead sources although they are available everywhere including Michael's and JoAnne's.  They make me happier, and also go nicely with the theme of clear storage in that section of my work space.

I've had an article given to me by an old friend who I am out of contact with for many years, Shirley... I miss her, written by Erma Bombeck (yes, that dates both of us), extolling the virtues of a cluttered desk.  It was already mounted in a Lucite frame, and what could I do but finally hang it up over the whole Lucite section?

Finally, one last addition to my work space.  Again from Office Depot, I found small inexpensive bulletin board bars which mount on the wall using double sided 3M sticky pads.  One of the biggest problems on my desk is that as I complete taking pictures of jewelry in preparation to list them on line, I tend to throw them onto my desk.  I need them readily available because as I'm listing them, I want to review the details... beads, tones, measurements, but they have been a significant source of clutter for me.  I mounted those bars on the wall directly to the right of my desk, and have hung the majority of jewelry that I need to work with there so that it is easily seen, but not in the way.

I found an old basket from another location in my home which is now located underneath the jewelry which is the perfect size to store all those notebooks in which I keep important documents and want readily at hand in case I need them, but don't use them on a daily basis.  I always loved the shape and size of that basket (remember, I love baskets!) but it was so beat up over the years that I didn't want it displayed in a social area of my home.  Now it's in a place where it's function is totally utilized, I can admire it despite the wear-and-tear, and it's pretty, at least in my mind.

I do need to note a couple of things about my desk top.  I normally keep a cutting board as a desk mat on it; it will be returning to the top of the desk, but right now I am using it for other purposes in my studio.  I have put back the bottle of water on top of the desk that I had let go.  I dehydrate so easily, and forget to get up and get drinks of water, but I also know from old usage that if the bottle is right there, I will stop and take regular swigs.

Finally, I was reading something written by Janel Laidman.  I can't remember if it was her blog, The Beebonet Report, or her on-line fiber magazine, Spindlicity, but she was talking about keeping fiber journals, and how to do so effectively.  I've often thought over the years that I should do something like that for my jewelry, but never got around to it.  After reading her article, I was inspired to get immediately out to Barnes and Noble and picked up a journal in which I am doing all sorts of things.  Taping business cards and making notes about the vendors that I got them from.  Making diagrams of some of the jewelry I am making.  Clipping and pasting jewelry pics from various sources that I will not copy exactly, but give me ideas and inspiration for some of my own work.  I can't say enough nice things about Janel.  She is truly an artist par excellence... she is a caring, generous, and giving person, she is a fantastic teacher, and I'm thrilled about her relocation to Eugene, OR because I know that is an area where fiber artists thrive and a long-time dream for her, even though I recognize the loss to the L.A. community.  Thank you Janel for finally getting me off of my duff and inspiring me to get that journal started.  It's already become invaluable!

Now, one last shot.  I just think you should know that in my organizational frenzy, I removed all the shoes and used socks left underneath my desk from there, and put them where they belong.  I don't pretend that there is not going to be a build-up of them again shortly, but thought that a photo-document of a clear under-the-desk was in order.  Never mind that I have not vacuumed yet.  I'll get to that in good time.

28 posts in 28 days.  Today is day seven.

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