Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Useful and Beautiful

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

- William Morris

This is probably a familiar quote.  I have a version of my own that I attempt to apply.

Have nothing in your house that is there because it was put there six months ago and never moved or that you do not know where it is (like what is in that box or drawer).

Intentional is the key word here. Choice. Did I choose to put [that] there or is [it] there by accident?

More wise words (bear with me, here). The best way to organize and clean an area - drawer, cupboard, shelf - is to completely clear it out. Empty. Nada. Then, clean it, and replace only what you use, love, appreciate, enjoy or think is beautiful enough to adorn your house.

So, I sit here at my desk, surrounded by piles, and That Voice says, "So, Miss Phoney Baloney. What do you know about cleaning things up and organizing? Look at this disaster! You call it productivity, creativity. I call it a mess. What a joke!"

And I have to admit, That Voice is correct. Insulting, intimidating, but correct.

Act Two: The Nester, for the month of June is going au naturel - sans accessories. Nada. She cleared off all her surfaces, plunked all the stuff in their guest room, and will go without for thirty days. With the one rule, if they are using it, it can be out, like candles, computers, a book you are reading, plants, things alive. Her boys were not relegated to the guest room for the thirty days. They all still live there, and whatever is involved in that busy family life is good. But not all the deco, pretty, cute stuff.

So, I sit here at my desk, surrounded by piles, and That Voice says, "Why don't you do this with your desk? Clear it off completely, except for what you really truly handle and use every single day, keep it bare and maintain it that way for thirty days?"

And I have to admit, That Voice is correct.

My desk is my personal disaster area. Much in need of a drastic diet. A fast is in order. A clutter fast. A time to be honest with myself. Instead of calling it creativity and productivity, call it what it is. A disaster, a mess. I have cleared up and organized much of our house, but my desk - sigh.

The Nester is doing a linky party, so others can share their progress, demise, fears, successes. Perhaps my desk is more about the amount of stuff on the surface. Way too much. The challenge to go without. To begin with the minimal basics, for the rest of June.

Life is not about stuff. What freedom to sit at my desk and not be afraid to knock over a pile when I reach for the coffee. I am thinking this will give me inspiration to focus on one project at a time. That it will give me more productivity and creativity.

For some of you, this may come naturally. Not me. This is a process. The Nester is taking on her whole house. Me, just my desk. This is my Everest.
Breathing room. I did leave my calendar, my computer and my devotional books.  And my coffee.

The pile that was on my desk - embarrassing.
I want what is on my desk to be useful and beautiful.
Traveling Lighter, not buried in stuff.


  1. Replies
    1. I marked the calendar for thirty days - determined to keep it bare! It feels great.

  2. I also just did my office area! It feels better already :)


  3. "My desk is my personal disaster area." truer words have never been written! mine too

  4. Your desk looks fabulous "au naturel"...Happy Nekkid June!

  5. 'Have nothing in your house that is there because it was put there six months ago and never moved or that you do not know where it is.'

    Oh so true! Except for me it's been about 37 years. And the party is over! I am loving this challenge!


  6. Hahaha, moved a bunch of junk from the rest of my house to my desk. It's a vicious circle unless I just get it out of the house. ;)

    1. It is a process - even baby steps are good. And yes, the ideal is to get it out of the house.

  7. A very motivating, brave post! Love your desk all neat and clean... then had to chuckle at the pile on the floor. But I'm chucklig with you, not at you :) Your kitchen cupboards and now your desk... way to go!

    1. The pile was completely cleaned up by dinner time. Lots of trash - why oh why was I saving all these papers and lists? Some filed away where it should be. Some on the bookshelf. It was amazing how it all just "disappeared." I am lovin' a bare desk!

  8. My personal disaster zone is my dresser top. Many of the things I need and use, but don't have a better place to put them :P

    I would love to see it clean and empty.

    Your desk looks lovely and inviting now.

    1. Have you tried emptying it off completely, enjoying the space, then put back only what you really want there? It is amazing how, once you clear off a space, the stuff finds surprising homes elsewhere.