|Steven and I are now on day five of our big Spring Clean/Declutter. We felt such success with the garage, so we walked around the house enthusiastically making notes of other rooms or closets we thought we should tackle during this big effort. Somehow, my tower office made it on that list. I was on a high, now that I can actually walk through my garage. I really thought I could once and for all take on my office and win.
I was sorely mistaken. To quote my 17-year old daughter, "epic fail". Or worse, "fail sauce".
My tower office is one of those rooms I fought hard for when we built this house. When we met with our designers, we told them there were three major lake view rooms. First was the combo living room/dining room, second was the master bedroom, and third was my office. In the early days, as we began the design process, we would pore over new drafts of our proposed dream home. One of the first things I noticed was that my office was tiny, and it was off the kitchen, and it had no view. Steven's office, on the other hand, occupied prime real estate, and had a fantastic lake view.
As a filmmaker, Steven wanted his office to be a dungeon. Dark and quiet for editing. I wanted a primo view, and I wanted to be away from the kids. But with each successive design draft, my office got smaller and smaller, and never left the vicinity of the kitchen. I finally asked Steven about our designer, "do you think he's mad at me?" He told us that offices such as mine are usually considered "the hub". I told him I wanted to be far away from the hub, in fact, consider me hub-less. The anti-hub.
It was around this time that our builder/designer brought to our attention that we might be "closet contemporary" folks, and that got us to thinking. Yeah, so maybe we should hire an architect to help us through his process. We did, though we kept our builder, and in the end, he did a fantastic job for us. But it was our architect who finally gave me the office I desperately desired.
My office is a third story observation tower. It is truly prime real estate in the design. It is a one-and-a-half-story view room with a 270 degree view of the lake and surrounding land, and plenty of gallery-style wall space to show off my photographs. My door is a storefront glass door and window, so I can peer down to the kids level, while keeping an eye on all the lake activities. It was a dream room. Some would call it my "Ivory Tower".
Sadly, it is the least used, and biggest storage room in our house. I am sad about that, but it's true. By storage, I mean office kind of stuff. Receipts. Taxes. Letters. Envelopes. Files. Photos. And much, much more. We have hundreds upon thousands of these things, and going through them is time-consuming and boring. It will take weeks. We did not accumulate this stuff recently, it is years and years of paperwork, his, mine and ours.
Nonetheless, coming off our garage success, I was ready to take on my office. I pulled down every storage box from my office closet, and started culling through the massive paperwork. I soon got very depressed. I managed to lift my spirits briefly, though, when I went to Costco and bought a shredder. I am not comfortable throwing away old documents with names, addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, kid's names, you know, all that personal information. I felt so much better once I was able to shred these things.
That lasted about three minutes. I kept thinking, we have a dumpster outside that is ready and willing to take on tons of our discarded junk, yet I am spending hours upon hours sorting through over a decade of Starbucks receipts. What's wrong with this picture?
Okay, so it was more than just Starbucks, but you get the picture. Teeny little pieces of paper.
So I gave up. I managed to bring downstairs seven full garbage bags of trashed and shredded papers, but I simply combined the rest and put it all away for another day. In my heart and mind, I did not complete what I had set out to do - rid myself of the office clutter. It's not in the way, but it's in my mind, so that makes it clutter. Still, I have decided that room will be one of the very last we tackle once we are ready to put our home up for sale. There is just no other incentive.
While I was upstairs succumbing to defeat, Steven was downstairs tackling Pixel's closet. Pixel, you may recall, was our kitty cat who recently died suddenly. When we built this house, we put in a kitty door into one of the under-the stairs-type closets so he'd have his own room. This closet is big, and would otherwise have made a wonderful wine cellar. On our house plans, this room is actually called the "Galaxy". That's because when they were little, our kids were convinced that the room under the stairs in our rented apartment led to another galaxy, and they didn't want to go in there. Pixel didn't seem to mind, though. He was quite content to have his own galaxy.
Steven had managed to sift through piles of stuff that had been previously stuffed in the closet. I started clearing out the Elfa drawers, and before long, we had a bunch of empty drawers just waiting to be filled again.
By 3:30 p.m., we had had enough. Steven and I headed to the kitchen to make ourselves a blue skinny girl margarita. Our goal was to sit out on the terrace and wait for the American Goldfinches to show up. We bought new food for them today and had just filled our feeder. Three hours and a couple of blues later, no finches had arrived. Epic Fail.
More to come . . .