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(c) 2016 Trina Lambert

(c) 2016 Trina Lambert

If you saw me this past weekend you might wonder just how and why I became coated in the dust of ages. Well, about once every 10 years or so I have to clean out the office—whether or not it needs it. Truth? It needed it.

However, changing around the office is not exactly a new year’s resolution project, despite the timing. I likely would have lived with the hidden dust behind the furniture longer if we hadn’t needed to find more space. I am formally welcoming an officemate—well, a human one beyond the two or three dogs that often hang out in here when I am working at my desk. Welcome, Christiana, to the office down the hall. The dog hair is plentiful (although not as much after the recent cleaning spree) but the commute is short.

My daughter recently finished additional schooling (a certificate in graphic design) to round out her BFA and has begun her job search. But as a fine artist/graphic artist, she’s always going to have work-from-home projects in the pipeline and since this is her home for at least the near future, I’d rather those projects not take over the living room too often. We’ve already tried out working in the same space while she created and completed projects for her courses and, so far, we seem to be able to finish our work without causing each other trouble—but more space would allow that to happen with a whole lot more ease.

And in this 1940s office, more space means moving on up—at least as far as storage goes. (“Moving on up” is also the phrase my husband Sherman and I chose for 2016.) No more (horizontal) credenza that has served me a little too well over the years. Sherman and son Jackson moved it for use in our basement. So grateful for their efforts—and that neither of them died during the process. Yes, moving furniture in this 1940s house is often a life and death pursuit.

Non-hipsters that Sherman and I are, we had never really considered that homes such as ours are exactly what IKEA furniture is designed for rather than for those modern suburban homes with up-to-code doorways and large rooms with few walls. My friends, we are no longer IKEA innocents, but after a two-hour trek checking out everything (I mean everything) the store sells, we decided that for now we’d stick with the cheaper (and much bulkier) close-out vertical wardrobe we found at Lowe’s. Should the both of us (my daughter and I) one day decide to make our fortunes full-time in this space, we will likely put some of those fortunes toward IKEA and its Tinker-Toyification of storage solutions.

But for now we’re settling for sturdy upright storage and a whole lot less dust. I love how the office is shaping up but what the heck am I going to with all those piles I’d rather just forget crowding the dining room table and other furniture? The point of keeping my daughter’s doodads from spilling into the other rooms is moot if I replace them with my own.

Dust in the wind I may be, but without tackling my own copious baggage and putting more than a little of the dust from that baggage into the air by cleaning and moving it out, I’m destined to be held back by the whatchamacallits and thingamajigs I have collected. When my days on this earth are done, I’d rather that stuff and dust are not the only legacies I leave behind.

Pardon the dust—it’s got to get a little dirty in here first in order for me to move on up.

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(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

Breaking news—I am tapping on my keyboard in front of the monitor in my office. This really is big news because I am no longer just using my laptop on my lap in some chair or on the dining room or kitchen table as I have done for most of the time since I got my puppy—yes, that’s the puppy who is now 2 ½ years old. You see I initially fell into that work-at-home habit because he was just too “big” to fit in my office, no matter how small he was. He was always running around and needed lots of space—and plus, it was so much easier to puppy-proof the other rooms. Though I can work anywhere, I know it’s really helpful to have the option to go to a space dedicated just for working.

Just yesterday ARC picked up my old heavy oak L-shaped desk and drove off with it. My modest-sized 1940s former bedroom/now office breathed a sigh of relief—and so did I. Until I figure out just what sort of work space I want to create, I am working from a short utility table that has just enough room to fit the printer, monitor, keyboard, laptop, and a pencil cup. It’s the end of the world as I have known it lately and I feel more than fine.

My husband Sherman is going to make me some sort of desk from a solid-core door, but we haven’t quite decided what all it is I need in a desk. So far we’ve looked at Lowe’s and Pinterest for ideas. I’m feeling the need for advice because, let’s face it, we use desks differently than we used to do. Though I’m still trying to break away from all the paper documents and references, this isn’t going to be a virtual-only workspace yet. However slowly I am making strides toward saving the trees of the world, I am still going to need some file cabinet space. Nonetheless, I am trying to figure out if I can live with some sort of bins instead of a drawer for supplies—isn’t that what right-brained organizers, such as I am, are supposed to like anyway?

Anyway, getting rid of the desk and reorganizing the office is just another way we are clearing out the unnecessary clutter that has been hogging too much space in our home. Time seemed to stand still and speed up at the same time when my mother’s health troubles set in—leaving little time and energy for the difficult tasks surrounding keeping track of “stuff”—especially that belonging to others. That my back injury followed soon after her death most definitely did not help with the process, either.

Though it is way past time to move everything out, thank goodness we’ve made such great progress this summer. As I mentioned earlier this month, Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way program reminds artists and other creative people that getting rid of what no longer works for us creates space for new growth. On that vein, taking care of the office is especially important to my long-term professional growth, whether more of that growth happens here in my own space or in someone else’s space. This room is the room where I get down to business more than any other room in my home. This is my “room of my own”—and I’ve been away from it for far too long.

Glad to be back in my own office chair in my own space where my seat is most firmly planted. Ready, set—grow!

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(c) 2009, Christiana Lambert