Prepared for Any Office Emergency

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Our Friday Fox asked,  “What is in your desk drawers?”

Here’s a clue to my desk organization: I once had a poster on the wall in the music office that said “A clean desk is a sign of an empty mind.” I was, of course, implying that the state of my desk indicated that my mind was far from empty.

When it comes to scheduling and goals, I’m fairly good at keeping things straight. But when it comes to stuff, I’m a mess. When I taught full time, my administrators constantly admonished me for my piles. Papers, books, craft supplies, and half finished projects were always strewn about the room. Most of the time, I knew exactly where everything was, but somehow that didn’t satisfy my neat-as-a-pin principal. I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that this tendency to be surrounded by stuff goes for most places in my home. Sometimes I think stuff breeds and multiplies when I’m not looking. As for my teacher’s desk, the drawers contained most of the items pictured above, and then some.

Nowadays, I’m at home most of the time. I have an oval-shaped table, about four feet long and three feet wide, that I use as a workspace. It has no drawers, so I suppose the literal answer to the question of what’s INSIDE my desk drawers would be “nothing.” This is actually a good thing, because I have a tendency to fill drawers with stuff

However, the answer of “nothing inside the drawers” applies only to the surface on which I work. Across the room from me is a wooden desk we purchased for our eldest daughter when she was in grade school. It would make a nice work station, but I can’t work there because it’s covered with stuff. About half of the desk’s surface is taken up by my wireless printer. The rest of the surface is covered in books that I haven’t yet figured out where to put. The four drawers under that work surface are each filled to the top with various  office supplies. The top side drawer has replacement printer ink cartridges, highlighters, and souvenir pens from various authors, as well as index cards and 4” by 6” photo paper. The next drawer is stuffed with paper – printer paper in various colors, and some printed with pretty holiday borders (one can’t send Christmas letters on plain paper!). The third drawer has other printable supplies: 8.5” by 11” photo paper, plain postcards, labels of various sizes, iron on paper, and page protectors. The “center” drawer, of course, has smaller office supplies: paper clips, push pins, binder clips, and more writing utensils. I’ve also got more writing tablets than I’ll ever use.

Do I actually USE all the stuff in these drawers? Umm, most of it, sort of. I haven’t yet used the iron-on paper. I bought that when I had a project in mind. A close friend of mine wanted a specific picture put on a t-shirt. I found the picture online and had in mind that I’d print it on this special paper and then iron it onto the plain t-shirt. This happened in late February of 2020, and we haven’t actually been in the same room with each other since then. When we go back to meeting in person, if she remembers wanting that shirt, I’ll make it for her. If I can find the picture. In the meantime, I suppose I could find pictures to print and iron onto other projects, just to use it and make extra space in that drawer. Except that I’ll probably buy some other kind of paper product to take its place. There are packages of labels, page protectors, and multi-packs of notebooks that I’ve used only a small part of, so the rest goes in the drawer “in case I need it later.”

Back when I taught full-time, my bottom drawer at school usually contained my purse, my lunch, and several file folders. My purse now hangs in the foyer of my house, and I eat at home as soon as I make it, so I don’t have to store it in my drawer. My need for file folders is practically non-existent now that most info I work with is online and my manuscripts are in digital files. Frankly, increased computer use has resulted in a lot less paper in my life. I’m sure my children wouldn’t believe it, but I truly have less office stuff now than I did ten years ago. Now, if only I could find a more efficient way to store my craft and sewing supplies…

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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8 Responses to Prepared for Any Office Emergency

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Several things caught my eye in your treatment today. Most will have to wait for Hound Day, but the area of printing less is one that sticks out to me.
    As I was messing around with my first novel ms. — the first that I tackled after retirement (not the one I tried to write in 10th grade) — I tended to print out practically every new chunk of writing, practically every day. So, if I’d added 3-4 new chapters that day, I’d print them.
    Not completely sure why I did that, because I’m pretty sure I was also backing up the file each day with a thumb-drive copy. But I had in mind — I suppose — that I’d pour over those printed pages, make corrections, and then correct the digital copy.
    But I rarely did that. Instead, when I got to work the next morning, I’d just pick up where I’d left off in the story and continue writing new stuff.
    That fruitless exercise resulted in filing drawers full of partial, early drafts.
    I eventually stopped doing that. I tend now to reread my most recent work each day and then begin writing my new stuff.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Yes, I definitely go through a lot less paper. I used to print recipes to try them out, but now that I have an iPad, I’m more likely to to set that on my kitchen counter as I’m cooking or baking. I don’t have to print out directions, because I simply plug my phone into my car and let “the voice” direct me. I DO occasionally print out my current manuscript when I’m in the editing stage, but that doesn’t happen too often.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yours sounds much like mine m,but oh, boy, do I have ‘stuff’ ! My post maybe long indeed.


  3. My husband tells me I’ve never met a flat surface I could leave alone. I have creative puddles all over the house. About once a week, I purge and clean, but they mysteriously continue to appear. I no longer have a desk, but I have a wardrobe that houses my printer and office supplies. It’s nice to shut the doors on the mess.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I can so relate! Stuff does multiply.


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