Breathnach describes how “. . . the seeds of simplicity, order, harmony, beauty, and joy send their roots deep down into the earth of everyday existence.” In your mind, what comprises the opposite of this description? Do these negative adjectives include words such as monstrous, massive, menacing, disproportionate, messy, overstuffed, mismatched, out of place, jarring, imposing, assaulting to the eye, nonsensical, overgrown, out of bounds, and outlandish?
Chaos made manifest places stress on the perceiver. It’s the opposite of what our spirits need, and the antithesis of what our souls respond to with gratitude. I think the desire for peace is why we find solace in places like Cheekwood, Butchart Gardens, and The Opryland Hotel. They are master planned spaces in which meticulous thought is given to both visual appeal (and to placement of each item), and where the grounds are exquisitely maintained. These places are tastefulness personified, designed to evoke feelings of serenity and calm. They make people want to revisit.
How can you improve your own space so that it’s pleasing to those around you? What modifications/deletions/additions are necessary to transform it into an oasis which appears pristine, as opposing to a dumping ground for the putrid? Harmony entails finding the common thread within your surroundings, and continuing it within your own place of business and/or personal sphere. It’s a commitment to observe common standards, and to be a person who follows procedure.
If you want to spruce up your office and (simultaneously eliminate clutter), do a thorough purge so that things of value can be seen. Personal mementos stuffed inside a drawer (or shoved into a corner) do nothing but collect dust. Purge the excess to reveal the pearls hiding underneath accumulation.
With the advent of electronics, paper filing is practically unnecessary. If you haven’t already, invest in a thumb drive big enough to store all of your office documents. For a small cash outlay, you can store up to 16 GB of data in one medium. You can also take advantage of desk scanners for those small papers and receipts that end up clogging your drawers, and that you most of the time never need. I’ve developed (a slightly less high-tech) system of placing personal receipts for large ticket items in a shoe box, and weekly grocery receipts in a kitchen table drawer. Periodically, the drawer is purged and the process begins anew.
The most recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications: Secrets of Getting Organized: Stress Less, Find It Fast! provides websites of some master organizers (e.g., Laura Wittmann at orgjunkie.com), and some great tips on how to improve your space.
A small step I took at home entailed purchasing a mouse rug. This particular one matches my personal color palette (see Morgan Depot Mouse Pad and Coaster Rug Sets Gallery for the full selection; I chose the Chief Joseph in New Khaki Repeat Pattern). Although this was a modest outlay and a small purchase, it represented yet another way to invoke order and beauty in my small niche. It not only protects my property, but it provides something pleasing and color coordinated to see as soon as I walk in the room.
I think people put off purging because they’re daunted by what seems a gargantuan effort. If delineated into small, bite sized tasks that are continuously tackled, a workspace can be transformed in less time than you think.
In either your office or your garden (or if you’re feeling ambitious, both) think about several things you would like to accomplish. Make a list, and place a timeline associated next to each one. When you get ready to face your first organizing challenge, stop to consider what you’ll need. Does this specific action item involve a purchase (and possibly web research)? Does it include donating, recycling, tossing, mending, cleaning, or refiling? The “to-do” item may simply involve shuffling items from one part of your house to another, or to and fro from your office. Once you’ve committed to accomplishing a single thing per day (whether organizing or beautifying) over time you’ll create a momentum that’s fueled by the clarity of your new space.