There are many upsides to working at home. But one of the downsides is that generalized house clutter quickly becomes workspace clutter. With small children, there is just no avoiding a certain amount of messiness. I took a few minutes yesterday evening to put all the books back on the shelves in my boys’ room, only to come back 10 minutes later to find the baby pulling them all off again. There was a certain cosmic message in this, I think. He could have chosen any other part of the house to wreck, so why did he choose the one area which I had just spent time cleaning? I will, of course, never get those minutes back.
Even if I try, in a small-ish apartment, that messiness extends into my work area. Of course, I can’t say I try that hard. Except when I don’t feel like working. Because here’s the worst part of it all: while I usually let clutter sit, it can become an easy procrastination excuse in a pinch. I have to clean the place so I can think! I’ll just take a few minutes away from writing this essay to pick things up and… hey, is it 5:00 already?
I am curious how other home office workers deal with this. Do you need a clean desk to think? Or do you prefer to surround yourself with anything you might ever need? How do you keep other family members’ messes from extending into your workspace? And if the messes do build up, how do you keep the mess from becoming a priority when other things really need to be?