There are some things in life that you just have to accept. For me, it is that, no matter how much I will it otherwise, my desk will always be cluttered. Each spring, I de-clutter my desk. Each spring, I make a solemn vow that this time, my desk will remain uncluttered. Thus envowed, my desk remains uncluttered. I think the record is about a week. Then it resumes its natural state of clutter.
I’ve come to accept this as one of those things about myself that I cannot change. I remind myself of that clever epigram:
If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what is the sign of an empty desk?
What, then, can I change? Why, the desk of course! I used to have a great big wooden desk. Despite its size, there never seemed to be enough surface area for my needs. I got rid of it years ago, and switched to a smaller, glass-topped desk. This made it easier to have two computers, but still, there is never enough surface area.
The problem is that I don’t use both computers at once. But I often have a notebook open to take notes. Meanwhile, books and things pile up. My spare glasses are there. A stack of critiqued manuscripts that I got back from my writers group two weeks ago. Atop one pile is the smoke detector from our bedroom. The battery began to give out the other day, and is sitting there awaiting replacement.
I tried solving this problem a while back by adding some wall-mounted shelves above my desk. Frequently used things went there: my dictionaries, The Elements of Style, my Field Notes notebooks. What happened was that within a week, those shelves were cluttered too.
At the end of the month we’ll be moving to our new house. There, I’ll have a brand new office, more than twice the size of my current one. I plan on giving this cluttered desk to the Little Man for use in his room. I will buy a new desk. I need one with a lot of surface area. I started browsing around for possibilities: there are small desks, large desks, sit-stand desks, computers desks, executive desks. But I have yet to see the one that I am looking for.
That would be the Uncluttered Desk.