Downsizing by Design

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For the past couple of weeks I have been working from the Microsoft Surface Pro which we bought before we went overseas.  I looked long and hard but in the end we opted for it instead of an iPad.  The main reason was that it has a USB port (so that I can connect my camera to download photos) and a keyboard cover which functionally turns it into a laptop in addition to the features of a tablet.

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The main desktop computer had really reached the end of its useful life so we went to our local computer shop to buy a new ‘tower’.  In the process we discovered a ‘mini’ computer which is 10cm square and about 5cm deep.  Obviously, it is not suitable for everyone as it would depend on how you use your computer.  We decided to purchase this little box and had all of the data and files from the old computer transferred over.

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We picked up the new computer on Saturday and intended to sit it on one of the small shelves above the desk.  Imagine our surprise when we unpacked it and found that it could be mounted on the rear of the screen.

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Since the tower is no longer in the cupboard on the left-hand side of the desk and requiring ventilation, we have replaced the door and relocated the boxes of computer-related manuals and accessories from the top of the linen cupboard.  The battery charger for the rechargeable batteries is also in there.

I decided that the small desk that was beside the computer desk could go in the guest room and I re-arranged the armchairs.  Finally, I moved the office chair out and have temporarily replaced it with a ‘spare’ dining room chair.  The office chair had arms on it which consistently banged the front of the desk.  Since the chair could not be rolled in under the desk, it took up a lot of space in what is essentially quite a small room.  I am going to replace it with another office chair without arms.

The office/library decluttering has been a long journey but it is interesting to contrast the photos from today with this one from a little over 5 years ago.

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Clean and Ready

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My workspace in the office is pretty well uncluttered.  Even though I often have piles of papers that I am working on during the day it is all packed up at the end of the day.

This is pretty much how I leave it every night.  The laptop is packed away as I also work from home on some days.

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I am quite excited as I am getting an adjustable Varidesk next week.

This is what it will look like.  It sits on the existing desk and can be adjusted to be used in either a sitting or standing position.

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I am really looking forward to the option of standing for at least part of the day and expect that moving around will be one of the positive benefits.

The limited amount of stuff on my desk means that I will easily be able to accommodate the Varidesk with almost no interruption.

Keeping it Clear

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At the risk of boring you, I have one more post about the new desk.

After years of an open table top with no storage, it is a novelty to have 2 large drawers on the right-hand side of the desk as well as the storage above.  The top drawer has some paper that I salvaged from the IKEA packaging which our grand-daughters will be able to use for drawing as well as last year’s Christmas cards that I need to sort and file.  The lower drawer is designed to hold suspension files and there is nothing in there at the moment.

2015-07-20 01This is a close-up of the left-hand side of the shelving above the desk.  From the top – monitor for solar panels, modem, phone and stationery items (pens,paper clips and bulldog clips).  There are 2 speakers on the centre shelf but the remainder are empty.  How long will that remain the case?

I have a couple of lists and a notepad in the small drawer on the left.  I really like the idea of being able to put them in the drawer so that they are not lying around on the desk.

My plan is to keep the desk looking pretty much as it is and I see no reason for that not to be the case.  It is a great opportunity to start with minimal stuff and keep it that way.

A New Desk – Part 2

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Well the desk is all assembled but not without a hiccup or two.

This morning we opened the box containing the hutch and it was the wrong colour!!  Yes, we had managed to pick up the wrong one.  So, it was off to IKEA again which really threw our plans for the day into disarray.

The traffic was a nightmare on our way home but we finally made it back and set about assembling the hutch.

Here is the final item all completed and in position.  It is shorter and narrower than the old table so creates a bit more space in the room.  I have been able to conceal almost all of the cables behind the desk which is much neater than before.

2015-07-18 01I moved the pictures that were above the old desk to the other side of the room now that the second bookcase has gone.

2015-07-18 02Now I need to find a suitable chair to place in the corner to create a comfortable reading nook.

I am really pleased with how this room has been altered and redefined.  I have some plans for minor alterations to a couple of other rooms in the future.  No doubt, I will post about those when they happen but please don’t hold your breath.

A New Desk – Part 1

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I have just checked the date and realised that it is 10 days since my last blog post.  I have been busy – in that time my mother has come home from hospital after having undergone heart surgery, I have attended a gathering of my extended family which I organised to celebrate a milestone from my grandfather’s life and been away for a work conference for 2 days.  That has all been in addition to running a household and holding down a full-time job.

There will be some blog posts about some of what I have been doing,but that is enough of my excuses for the moment.

GMan and I both had a day off today and we decided to make a round trip of over 200km to IKEA to buy a new desk for our home office.  I had searched online for either a new or second-hand desk and the one we bought was definitely the best to suit our needs.

indexWe arrived home this afternoon with 3 large packages.

2015-07-17 01GMan and I have spent several hours assembling the desk.  We are very happy with how it has turned out so far.  It is currently sitting in the middle of the office.

2015-07-17 02Tomorrow we will move all of the stuff of the existing desk and position the new one in its place.  The next step will be to build the bookcase/hutch section which attached to the desk.

Watch out for tomorrow’s post in which I hope to show you the completed desk and revamped office/library area.

Piles of Paper

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This photo of the study desk which I posted yesterday, is the superficial face of what is lurking deeper.

2011-08-24 02‘Study’ is probably a bit of a misnomer for this room as neither of us are studying anything and haven’t done so for many years.  I should really call it the office as it is the office from which we jointly run the business of our lives and our home.

The business of our income and expenditure includes bank statements, tax returns, superannuation information, rates, utilities and various insurance policies.  We have a filing cabinet in here.

2011-08-25 02Like this…..

2011-08-25 03I have found that simply filing everything is not enough.  We need to regularly check and cull what we keep.  There is no benefit in keeping bank statements from 20 years ago unless you are planning a museum.  My theory is that since tax returns need to be kept for 5 years, it is reasonable to align other financial paperwork by the same criteria.

Each year when the tax is finalised and we receive the paperwork from the accountant, I remove the oldest year and rename the file for the current year so that we can collect any relevant  information in one place.

I sorted through the bank statements and found that they dated back to 2004 which means that I had not cleared any out for at least a couple of years.  This has now been rectified and I have a pile ready for shredding.  I will add bank statements to the list of things for an annual cull at the end of the financial year.

2011-08-25 04I keep folders of instructions, receipts and warranties for all of our appliances and equipment.  I check these from time to time and remove the details for anything we no longer own.

Keeping the paperwork under control seems to require constant vigilance, otherwise it can very easily get out of control.  It is a fine line between hoarding everything and retaining what is required by law, such as tax returns.

What documents do you keep and why?