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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Every other year or so, some study pops up telling us what we already know: people judge us based on our office décor and level of cleanliness. It’s basic human nature; i.e. “I see this man sits in a pile of his own excrement. I probably shouldn’t ask to use his stapler.”
I work from my home office, which takes up a hefty corner of my one-bedroom apartment. The place is never outright dirty, but there does tend to be a fair amount of clutter when I leave books, papers, or projects lying about. My desk is usually buried underneath to-do lists and pens. No one ever sees it but myself and my friends, and they already know I’m a bit off-kilter – the clutter is just to be expected because that’s what happens when you’re in a creative position, right?
Here’s an MSNBC article that discusses it in more depth. Researcher Sam Gosling has this to say about the subject: “The more research I've done, the more I've come to believe that what's going on outside the mind reflects what's going on inside the mind.” Specific items you have out can also represent how welcoming you are, as well as your values.
The handymen were over at my apartment complex today installing new carbon monoxide detectors. They knocked on the screen door while I was brushing my teeth; I tripped over my printer and nearly faceplanted when I hurried over to get them.
The apartment was mostly clean, thankfully. I have some framed posters leaning against one wall that I haven’t gotten around to hanging yet, a stack of magazines and a notebook on the coffee table, and a sweatshirt lying on the couch. Then there’s the giant leaning bookcase, which a friend and I put together years ago (we’re both amazed it’s still around at all, much less survived three moves and all the books I pile onto it). People tend to side-eye it, as if waiting for it to collapse on them.
Other than that, the apartment was vacuumed and nothing jumped out to scream THIS GIRL IS A SLOB.
(Well, to be fair, my bedroom wasn’t in great shape, and I cringed when one of them wandered in there to install the detector. Ah, well. At least I didn’t leave any underwear out.)
Apparently there’s a difference between what you display for visitors (big pictures of your family, empowering phrases) and what you display for yourself (things that you can see without turning away from your computer). A giant picture of your Great-Aunt Martha might tell visitors that you care about the elderly, but if a tiny wallet photo of your Harley Sportster is glued to the side of your computer screen, that’s what you really care about.
So what did my desk tell the handymen about me today?
I have a little paper filer on one side, so I at least attempt to organize myself. My planner was opened up to this week, with all my tasks and to-do items carefully written down. Index cards and fish oil pills sat next to each other. I had my desktop (which is still in questionable health) on while I transferred data to the new external drive. Sonata Arctica’s “Cinderblox” was playing softly, indicating that I am either totally badass or want people to think I’m totally badass. My flatscreen monitor is on a traditional monitor stand and three gigantic books about nautical history and the RMS Titanic.
(History major. Can’t be helped.)
Oh, I also had a copy of Zero to Bitch in 10 Seconds or Less by Amy Hatch sitting there. I’m using it to try to improve my witty one-liners.
The bossman looked around while his accomplice messed around with the detector. “So…how’s work?”
I’ll take that to mean my desk suggests work clutter, not “Holy moly, get her a on an episode of Hoarders clutter.”
I have plans to fix up my office area just as soon as I have time, which, the way things are going, will be sometime in 2013. Maybe I’ll run a column about it. “Redecorating on a Budget,” maybe. Or “How to Bribe Your Friends Into Helping You Move Furniture Around.”
I also need to move that damn printer.
What do your desks look like, Style Quirkers?