Monday, April 7, 2014

New laptop, "new" desk

We got a larger-than-average tax refund this year.  While most of it is being used for bills and savings, we decided that now was a good time for me to get a new laptop.  My old one is, well, old.  The Function key is flopping about, and it takes forever to start up and to do anything.  I've tried to clean it up, but it's just not working right.  I rely heavily on my computer for my business, and I was getting increasingly frustrated with the slowness and my inability do to some things I want to, like create my own database for some clerical tasks.  Spreadsheets are nice, but they don't do all that I want them to do.

I bought my new computer (a Toshiba, in case you're curious) last week, and I have been very busy transferring files, installing software, configuring the software, and finding my way around Windows 8.  It takes a little getting used to, but I've found that I don't have to rely on the "app" interface or whatever they call it.  It's easy to get to a desktop just like I'm used to on Windows 7, but I'm also flipping back to the other interface from time to time.

Here is how my desk has looked for the last week:

This is actually pretty clean - when I'm beading or getting ready for a show, this gets really messy.

Today I decided I needed a "new" desk to go along with my new computer.  I think I'm at the point where I don't need my old computer anymore.  I stashed that in the spare room and started cleaning off my desk.  I didn't want to just stack and rearrange - I've done that plenty of times, and it takes less than a week for it to look like this again:

There's always a big stack of papers and stuff (tools, beads, the phone if I'm not careful) to the left of my computer.  I got sick of it and decided I needed a much better solution.

While the clutter is a problem, the biggest challenge is that I use my desk for working on the computer and for beading, scrapbooking (which I haven't done in a long time because my desk is always a mess), card making, and preparing for shows (including pricing items, making kits and printing/assembling tutorials).  I'm fond of saying this is a "working studio" as an explanation for why it looks like a tornado has hit it.

I determined that I needed my "business" area (computer, printer, papers, cords) to take up less space.  I knew that cleaning off the whole desk would make me examine every single thing on the desk and decide if it was absolutely necessary.

That was quite a task.  I went through that stack of papers and was surprised that the vast majority of them could be recycled.  I was brutal.

I found a large number of notepads and notebooks in that stack and in other places around my desk.  I went through each of the "I'll just jot this note here" notebooks/pads and removed everything no longer needed, set aside the very few essential pieces of paper inside the notebook I've been trying to rely on.  I put all of the notebooks away so they're not in easy reach.  If I have one notebook, then there's a possibility that I'll not lose a note.  Of course, at some point I'll have to organize those notes and eventually do the tasks, but that's not for today.  I completely emptied 5 notebooks/pads and put those plus another 5 away.  Yes, those were all on my desk.  Yikes.

The next biggest trouble spot is this:

I bought this basket from Princess House years and years ago.  I love it - it has dividers for two large areas in the back and three small ones in the front.  However, every time I try to use the basket, it ends up being a dumping ground.  Everything goes in, and little comes out.  I went through the whole thing and completely emptied it.  Most things got recycled or put away, but a few things I set aside because there's something I was supposed to do a hundred years ago.

After that it was easy to clean off and clean the desk:

Then came the hard part.  I wanted to try something new, so I put the printer on the right side and the computer in the corner section.  I thought that would give me more room to work on jewelry in front of the computer (so I could watch Hulu or keep an eye on Facebook), but there was way too much wasted space.  I ended up with the printer and computer in the same places, but with Steve's help, the shelf above my desk now has a little notebook and calendar corral, the six-drawer ribbon storage and eight-drawer cute "cabinet" now have new homes, and my rulers hang in a place I can reach without having to partially close the laptop lid.

Here's how it looks now:

Yes, I did have to stash a few things to have that much space, but I'm very pleased with how it looks right now.  I'm going to get a few stackable file baskets for the back right corner to separate business and personal papers, but I will do my best to go through them regularly so they don't drive me nuts.

The other thing I did was to rearrange the magnet boards to the right of the desk:

I thought I needed to buy another magnet strip for all the new tools I've gotten lately.  They were being stored in that big basket, which made finding a pen a little challenging.  Once I reevaluated what was in the mesh magnetic baskets, I found a perfect place for all of my new tools with some room to spare!

The rest of the room needs some more cleaning (some things from the Art Glass and Bead Show haven't been put away yet), but I'm glad I took the time to revamp my desk.  Let's take a look at it again:

Ooh!  Lookie who's here:

Frisco approves!

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