Short people live dangerous lives. We hit our heads on doors. We fall off of step stools and while reclining in the bathtub, we can't quite reach the other side with our feet.
We can't see out the windows of large vehicles. Our legs won't move fast enough to run away from large dogs who decide that we look like lunch and we drop cans on our heads while trying to retrieve them from the top shelves of a pantry.
Knowing all of this, you'd think I'd be more careful while designing my environment, right?
Not so much…
A couple of years ago, I had some beautiful new cabinets installed in my home office. As you can see, they are very, very tall. Once they were ready to go, I moved in. But instead of carefully going through my belongings as I worked, I jammed things wherever I could. I was in too big of a hurry to do it right.. I was too busy… I had more important things to do.
I threw sewing needles into containers of paper clips. I stuffed reams of paper on high shelves. I balanced heavy dictionaries on top of tiny paperback novels and I tossed powercords for the cassette recorder I no longer owned into the same box that held my Nikkon camera's battery charger. I squeezed everything I had into the first spot I found and called it good.
Last week, I realized that I was feeling a little choked…a little claustrophobic…a little frightened, but I wasn't sure why. One day, I looked up at the shelves in my office and said, "Ahhh… that's what's bugging me. No wonder I hate it in here. I am in danger in this room. Things constantly fall from the sky, threatening to knock me senseless. Since I need all of the sense I can get, I better shovel the mess out."
The "before" picture… well, sort of…
I forgot to take an actual "before" picture off the disaster, so you'll just have to use your imagination about how bad it had become. You'll have to make-do with this pre-pre-pre-pre-disaster photo. Actually, it's an "after" photo from another cleanup job I did a year ago, so it's not horrific at all. BUT if you squint your eyes a little, you can sort-of, almost tell how bad it was.
Oh, okay… I give up. You're right. The office is clean in this photo, but since it's all I've got, go with me, okay?
Trust me…before I cleaned my office, the cabinets, shelves, drawers, and closet looked like Fibber McGee had organized the contents.
One shelf had turned into a phone book graveyard. These dinosaurs are now in the recycling bin.
This perfectly good cabinet had been relegated to housing empty software and equipment boxes. I don't know why. Maybe I imagined that Apple would break into my house and take away my iPad if I didn't keep the box it came in for the rest of my life.
Trash. Lots and lots of trash. I was harsh as I made decisions about what I wanted to keep. In all, I hauled out ten garbage bags full of what-was-I-thinking and it's-time-to-get-rid-of-it stuff.
I reclaimed a forgotten storage cabinet filled with art supplies – such as my oil paints.
The end of day one.
My drawing supplies are now located in one spot. When I looked in this turquoise box, I was reminded that I cornered the colored pencil market a few years ago.
I am addicted to the delicious, woody rainbow-ness of colored pencils and shall never, never, ever rid myself of them.
But I must confess that my color-pencil addiction has altered my life a little. I am now forced to buy my all of my office supplies over the Internet so that I can't go into raptures of pencil-ecstacy in the middle of the Office Depot pen/pencil aisles. I can't resist kissing the packages.
Okay…I made that last part up. I don't kiss all of the packages – just the cutest ones.
I discovered these precious drawings Julianne made for me when she was a child. They were already framed (I think they were a Mother's Day gift.) I am key-lime-pie delighted that I still have them.
Red hair? Yes. I had red hair for a couple of years. Julianne didn't like it at all and protested until I surrendered myself to the traumatic torture required to get red dye out of blond hair.
Julianne, even though you are nearly ready to deliver my first grand-daughter, you are still my little girl. Don't forget it. Ever.
But then again, you are almost ready to find out for yourself how it feels to have a daughter…so never-mind. You'll completely get how I feel about you in just a couple of weeks.
I've had the two Mary Engelbreit images – the one in the pink frame and the card next to it – since the 90's. After I hung them up, I had an Eureka! moment. Can anyone guess why I wanted my office to have a black-and-white checked floor so badly?
It's called subliminal influence.
Check out the "I have permission to think" button on the top-left corner.
I am now formally giving you permission to think. (You'll have to make your own button.)
THE HEAD finds a home. Mickey guards my ears. A Peruvian doll protects my Brownie camera. The framed quote from my Wasatch-front Scrap Girls friends tells me how fun it is to have friends.
The Better Business Bureau plaque hides behind a photo of Gary and me at a 1985 Valentine's day party. My R's tell me to laugh. And the cool bird feeder that Heidi gave me for my birthday feeds my soul.
I have pens…and scissors…and white board markers…and permanent markers…and boxes of chalk…and rulers…and packs of gum…and chords for my equipment…
…and notes…and ear plugs…and ink cartridges…and calculators…and hole punches…and elastic bands…and paper clips…and ear plugs…
…and photo paper of all varieties…and printer paper… and CD labels…and page protectors…
…and printer ink for the printer I don't use anymore (but keep in case I need it as a back-up)…
…and printer ink for the printer I use now…and CDs of my compositions, recorded a decade ago.
Sorry, Amazon and Office Depot…I won't need to visit your office supply sections for quite some time. You must be so disappointed.
I know I am.
A week ago, I had a vague idea what my secret closet was hiding, but now I know what is in it – and I can find it all.
See the big stack of white 12×12 paper on the bottom shelf? I used to scrapbook with it, but now that I am a digital scrapbooker, I draw on it.
Oh dear… now that I have showed my secret close to you, it isn't a secret closet anymore.
This bookshelf used to be the home of so much stuff that the top shelves were double-lined with books. Because I access the contents constantly (it holds some of my most-used belongings), it's confused state confused me and I was nearly decapitated more than once by falling rocks…ehm…I mean, books.
The end of day two.
Have you noticed a theme developing in my after-photos yet? The top shelves of most of the cabinets and book cases are empty.
Because short people fall off of step stools.