Friday, June 1, 2012

A Desk for Mom (Featuring Habitat for Humanity)

Dear friends,

I haven't had a desk in about 15 years -- until two days ago.  I've cobbled by with the big bookcase next to the comfy chair in my bedroom, and stashes of paper hanging out here and there.  But I'm really trying to be more organized and productive, so I decided to get back on track by setting up my very own desk area instead.  I wanted it in my bedroom so I could have a little privacy, and so everyone else would be less likely to dump their junk on my desk.  (Yeah, that was sure to happen.  They do that in my bedroom too, but I'm going to be fierce about protecting my turf now.)

Eager to get started, I went to ReStore (a thrift store operated by Habitat for Humanity -- more on that later) looking for a desk, and instead found the black chair for $15.  That's my favorite thrift haul for the week.  When I got home, I got so antsy to get going that I decided to rummage around the house and see what I could come up with for a desk.  That's called "thrifting at home" or, what Grandma would say, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!"  In our computer room, I found the desk, which was holding an electric piano.  I shifted that to a different surface, and got my teenage son to help me move the desk, which is now occupying the space where I had the bookcase and chair before.  I had to move some wire shelving, a second easy chair (now in the boys' room), and a small bench that was between the two chairs.  When I moved the desk, I replaced a loose screw, and when I moved the bookcase, I hammered in the loose nails along the backside.  I also had to wash walls and scrub carpet stains.  Then too, I had to shift around the calendar and other wall hangings.  The ceramic bells (from Venezuela) were a gift from my husband when we were first dating.  The SUCCESS poster (bought half price with a coupon from Michael's several months ago, but just now hung) has a quote often misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson but actually written by Bessie Anderson Stanley.

To laugh often and much
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, 
   a garden patch or a redeemed social condition
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. 
This is the meaning of success.

It's really important to focus on truths like that to help me work at what is significant in life instead of trifling away the hours.

The basket of folders and magazines sits
on the (relocated) small bench next to the desk.
There is a small trash can under the bench.
Also, a three hole punch and
a narrow Longaberger basket 

(a long ago gift from my mom)
fit in nicely behind the lap top.
The kids have a bad habit of taking my lap top
to other rooms, and leaving it here and there.
I'm worried that all this jostling and cord bending
will shorten the life, so the new rule is:
"Lap top stays put unless you have
specific permission from mom!"
When I need to take it somewhere,
it goes in a travel bag under the desk. 

Under desk, the blue cabinet with three drawers
holds various kinds of paper and stationary,
health files, and school papers.
(Until recently, it was in our storage room
with other "stuff" in it.)
A file box on top of desk holds labeled folders
and papers to be filed.
It's not the prettiest looking thing, so I put
a more appealing box in front of it.
The framed poem is my 

Seven Blessings for One Marriage,
also a good reminder.  One blessing says,
"Purpose: As you embark on a journey of excellence together
Move forward faithfully and fruitfully as partners
On your mission, a grand adventure of faith and destiny." 

On the bookcase, two organizers hold
office supplies, jump drives, charge cables,
and small personal care items like
tweezers and nail clippers.
The small basket on the right holds
vitamins and supplements divided up
into a baggie for each day.
I need to get in the habit of taking them!
On the shelves above, 

a little Mary Engelbreit style: a card 
("Friends, books, cheerful heart and conscience clear
are the most choice companions we have here."),
gift bag (repurposed to hold my receipts), 

and mini tissue box.

A basket next to the recliner chair
holds books I am currently reading.
I also put a clamp lamp on the bookcase
tilted toward the chair
for extra light while reading. 

So that is my new desk area.  I tried to include some pretty, sentimental, and inspirational items to keep me motivated.  It is a happy place for me.

(Note: I did some more desk tweaking which you can read about here: A Space of My Own.)

As I mentioned in my last post, I started a new blog theme, A Worthy Cause, in which I highlight charitable organizations that are making a difference in their communities and/or globally.  Today, I'd like to feature Habitat for Humanity since I bought my desk chair at their ReStore.

"Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. We build with people in need regardless of race or religion. We welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds."

How can you help Habitat fulfill this mission here in the states and around the world?

  • Donate money.  Simple, huh?  Or maybe a car?  They resell those to support their projects.
  • Donate extra building supplies and household goods to be sold in their ReStore thrift shops.  Got a spare door -- or even a door knob?  A box of extra tiles left over from remodeling? A gently used dresser, throw pillow or toaster oven?
  • Shop at ReStore!  If you're going bargain hunting, why not do it for a worthy cause? I have found ReStore to be very reasonably priced with a good selection of stuff, including nice furniture donated by hotels.
  • Volunteer to help build a house or work in a Restore.  Hey, Habitat even has age-appropriate youth programs for kids ages 5 and up to make a difference!  Click the link to find fun ways (like on-line games) to explore what it means to help others with housing.  Teens who are 16 and up can actually be active on construction sites.  What a way to log in your high school volunteer hours! 

What do you think?

What can you do to motivate yourself toward greater productivity and organization?

And, can you help Habitat for Humanity?  Let's, like Bessie Stanley Anderson said, "Leave the world a little better... [with] a redeemed social condition."

Brought to you from the desk of Virginia Knowles...


This post linked at Simple Design's Share Your Thrift Haul

A Bowl Full of Lemons
Organizing Revolution Week 1


  1. Just want to say I love your space.
    Restore is a great place to go and find things! We are a HFH home owner, house #4 in our area. They truly do great things.

  2. You make a good point about others putting things on your desk. That is one the main problems I have with mine. I hadn't thought about the fact that its location may be part of the problem.


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