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Why short people live dangerous lives


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.


I am very patriotic.US citizens might want to salute the flag and sing the National Athem when they enter my office door.


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 envelopes…


…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.

Problem solved.


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.

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About Rozanne Paxman

Author, blogger, graphic designer, cartoonist, doodler, thinker, do-er, entrepreneur, mom, grandma, and lover of life.


  1. Too funny! I have to do that soon, but school and homework first!

  2. I love empty shelves. They are resting places for my eyes. They tell me my life isn’t crammed, there is room to breath. Consider it white space in your office. Your organized office looks wonderful

  3. Nola Child says:

    I love it! Incidentally, the walls of my scrapbook room are EXACTLY the same color as your walls! They definitely inspire creativity!!!!

  4. How cool, Nola! It felt kind of scary to put something this bold on my walls, but I adore the color!

  5. DragonsLady (aka Francine) says:

    Loved this post. Although I am not vertically challenged, I can very easily relate to your desire to re-do your scrapping room. Like you I have an addiction to pens, pencils and other types of colorful drawing/marking items. I can relate (though I’m not one to randomly kiss beautiful packages of colored pencils – even if they’re REALLY cute.) Now you’ve almost motivated me to collect on last year’s birthday gift from my husband (and another birthday has already passed.) He said I could re-do my craft room – put in all the neat cabinets etc. But now I really do lots more digitally than I do with paper. (In fact I just backed-up my unzipped digi-supplies yesterday – took over an hour and totaled 30 GB. Still have to back up the zipped files – but that’s almost 90 GB. Yes I use Carbonite but I’ve exceeded their limit for personal at this time. I guess once a pack-rat, always a pack-rat just now it’s in cyber not paper.) Just curious – how many gigs of digi supplies do you have?

  6. This made me smile! I don’t use my top shelves either!

  7. It must be that time of year. I’m in the middle of de-cluttering my office/craftroom as well.
    Tall people fall off step stools too. I did that 2 Christmases ago. And when tall people do it, they have farther to fall!
    Glad you’re okay.

  8. I love this muse. I SO identify with the art supply thing–I have every size of watercolor paintbrush that I could afford. I own cute composition books that I’ll fill up someday (I AM doing it, but very slowly.) My office needs cleaning too.

  9. You’ve inspired me, but where will I get the time?
    I was tickled to see you have a passion for colored pencils. I have been to three national color pencil shows, was a member of the Colored Pencil Society and have works published in a couple of their books. I GAVE IT ALL UP when I started digital scrapping! But I sill have all my pencils. Love them…almost as much as my computer and Scrapgirls.

  10. Ah, the plight of the short person. I don’t realize I am short until I need to stand on a step stool, or I stand next to someone who is 5’3 or taller (I’m 5′ even, 5’1 on a good day when I’m standing straight and proud). Why is it when we have empty shelves we feel the need to fill them before too long?
    On another note, I’ve been noticing the trim around your doors. We will be doing new trim in our house in the near future and I’m looking for ideas. Yours look nice. I’d love to see some close-up pics.

  11. Francine… I’m to sk-eer-eed (yocal way of saying scared) to look at how much stuff I have. I can say my photos, layouts, designs, and supplies are on one Internet drive. It’s a 1TB drive and it’s over 60% full.
    Lotta lotta stuff…
    I need to clean out my drives next…
    Barbara – look at the tall book case again. On the right side, 4th shelve up – on the right side, is a stack of notebooks. They are all empty. Guess I don’t need to buy any of those for a while… (I do love notebooks!) We ought to get together for a virtual coloring party. (HA!)
    Lou Ann… I had no idea there is such a thing as a Colored Pencil Society. No kidding? I doubt they would allow someone who just smells the pencils and uses them to draws in journals into it. ;-)
    Tonya… I’ll try to remember to take some close-ups of the trim. It’s very simple, though – kind of reminiscent of Art Deco in the way it is laid out. I like it. But hey… I simply tower over you! (I’m 5’2″) Since I rarely tower over anyone…ever…I’m pleased to meet another vertically challenged person!

  12. Oh, my birdfeeder! I wondered where it was in your new house. :) Looks great. You need a wonderful, calming place like this for your very own.

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