…and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Although my office looks—and is—completely disorganized, I pride myself on being able to immediately find something I need.   But my powers of detection would be severely tested if I tried locating anything on my desk right now.  So today I bit the bullet and decided to clear it off.

I bet some of you are thinking you can identify with this; thinking you should clean off your desks, too.  If you say this to me, I will nod politely, and pretend we’re in the same boat.  Even though that’s not true: because you are in a rowboat and I am on the Titanic.

A normal person cannot possibly understand what it means to have a messy desk until you see mine.  Which you cannot do.   A—-because I am way too embarrassed to ever post a picture of what my desk looks like.  And  B—even if I showed you a picture, you couldn’t see my desk anyway because of everything on top of it.

In order to prove my point, that my desk is way beyond what you could imagine, I am going to disclose the actual factual truth–and give you a partial list of what I found when I started clearing it off today.  I won’t even mention the basics you’d find on anyone’s desk.  So this list will NOT include : paperwork, photographs, office supplies, paperweights, writing utensils, letters, and anything else that should be filed—all of which are on my desk.

What you are about to read—in keeping with my firmly held belief that I could never invent anything to compete with real life—is absolutely true.  Remember this is only a PARTIAL list of items found on my desk today:

An unopened package of waterproof lip balm

An earring I thought I lost 6 months ago

3 flashlights

A small UPS mailing box containing a small tool I’ve never seen before, described as a pocket saw and wrench combination

A hairbrush for our cat

2 discount coupons for Borders that expired in 2006

An unopened package of assorted artists’ paintbrushes

7 pairs of reading glasses

An entire edition of USA Today dated May 1, 2008

2 pairs of socks

A Bluetooth headset for use with my Blackberry–still in the unopened package

Another sock–without a match

A golf ball marking tool (because I don’t play golf, this allows me to say that V shares equal responsibility for the mess on my desk)

An empty glass jar with no discernible purpose I can remember

A Ziploc bag containing broken tiles that fell off a mosaic table I made last summer

4 spoons

A mobile phone charger

A small bowl containing 17 capsules of fish oil supplement and 5 multi-vitamins

A plastic Hawaiian lei from a party I went to a few months ago

A signed birthday card I meant to send to my brother-in-law Paul for his birthday last December–which I now plan to send for his birthday this December

I did mention this is only a partial list–and I’ll update it when I finish.  Maybe next week.  Or maybe next year.  I have to admit I already feel better…like I’ve accomplished something today.  And I can see some progress.  Although I’m not sure my desk would look any different to the naked eye.


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  1. Darryle says

    I had a feeling you would comment on this. And I think this blog should be very comforting and inspiring to your clients (my niece Rachel is a personal organizer.) I could be your greatest challenge and greatest success…if you could actually manage to succeed. I still wonder…given your obsession with neatness and my ….lack of that… how it’s possible that we could share any of the same DNA.

  2. says

    A good day–strike that–a good hour, is when I can look down on my desk and see wood. The solution is to move every 3 – 5 years, or persuade myself that I am moving. It makes it so much simpler to box up everything on the desk every 3 years or so, and take the boxes from old residence to new residence, untouched by human hands. I’d never trash the cartons, of course. Who knows what treasures are in there?!

    Searching for stuff on my desk is probably like carbon dating–as I dig frantically for, say, the defense brief for tomorrow morning’s mediation, I stop pawing at a particular file and find the next most likely pile as soon as I reach lost mediation briefs or letters dated 2005 or earlier. If your blog happens to bring you a cure–strike that, I mean a solution–please, please blog about it.

  3. Darryle says

    And I thought attorneys have organized minds!! Guess it doesn’t translate to having organized desks. Although it’s a little scary thinking you have someone’s life at stake on your desk among the piles. Have to say your comments are always, always comforting– to think you’re right there with me, no matter how down and dirty.

  4. says

    Too funny! Your desk sounds as bad as my bedroom floor! I’ll admit that my desk was horrible a week or so ago. It’s out in the living room, so I had to clear it off for hosting Thanksgiving. It’s still mostly clean, but everything that was on top of it is now underneath it. I still have to sort that out. Keep up the good work! You have my sympathy!

  5. says

    Hi Catherine, just noticed this comment today. Very brave of you to have your desk out in public view. In the past, I was too embarrassed to allow anyone to see my desk, other than my very closest friends and family. Now with this article, and Click for Clutter, I”m beyond humiliation.

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