Friday, December 14, 2012


     I am a sucker for hints at organizing, or simplifying, my life and surroundings.  My Myers-Briggs profile (yes, I'm a "J") and my astrological sign (Virgo) confirm it!  So, earlier this week, when I walked past a table upon which was a copy of the (April 2012) Real Simple magazine that promised an article entitled "The Organized Home Office", I simply had to pick it up!  I quickly flipped to page 100, and found a picture of delightfully neat-and-tidy workspace.  So I started reading, and learned, that to have a "really simple organized home office", I needed:
  • Bedford small desk ($468 from Pottery Barn)
  • Logan Pharmacy table lamp ($210 from
  • Modular flip-out bins ($14 from the Container Store)
  • Drafting chair ($288 from schoolhouse
  • Fabric for the bulletin board ($196/yard from
Figuring that the bulletin board would need a couple of yards of fabric, my nifty, simple, organized office would run $1,372!  And that's just for the desk, chair and bulletin board. Another $650 (plus upholstery fabric at $200/yd) would get a vintage, reupholstered, side chair!  Now the office is complete!
      In an interview sometime back, I heard these kinds of magazines described as "house porn".  I had an idea I knew what the interviewer meant, but, now that I've seen it, I know what it is.  This little office space barely took up one-half of one wall.  I haven't had the time (nor energy) to compare Real Simple's home office with something similar from Ikea or Target, but I would imagine that something just as serviceable could be had for less than one-third that price (or even less, with a trip to a Thrift Store, a little elbow grease and creativity) . My cinder-block and board bookshelves from my college days did just fine holding my books (and I could organize them any way I wanted!), and were dirt cheap.    So I got to wondering about how we equate simplifying with spending more money?
       When I was in college, I was part of a traveling singing group that would help raise money for the school.  In concerts, the nine of us would pass around the responsibility for introducing upcoming songs, and, if one of us would start "waxing eloquent", someone else would start making "kissing" noises, the meaning of which was "wrap it up NOW!"  The kissing noises were reminders of our mantra:  "KISS:  Keep it short, stupid."  (Another interpretation, equally apt, was "Keep it simple, stupid.")
       The underlying message is that more -- whether words or stuff -- is not necessarily better.  Or, addressing the message of Real Simple's article, spending more money won't necessarily make you more organized!  In this season where "conspicuous consumption" is everywhere encouraged ("You wouldn't want your loved ones to think you didn't care would you?  So remember us 'when you care to send the very best.'") . . . . in this season, I guess taking a step back might be the better way to simplify.  And I'll have to stop indulging my belief (hope?) that others have a quick, simple, fix to my issues!
       Oh, any comment on the picture above would be . . . too much.

Chaplain Gary


  1. Dear "Hat" -- I hope you'll have a good holiday! My first desk was two 2-drawer file cabinets and a flush mounted door (gotten free from a friend). I'm LOL, because that desk has finally been replaced with one from Pottery Barn - my big splurge and the marker of my shift in duties. Peace! Anne

  2. Thanks, Anne! I've no complaint against Pottery Barn (or any of the other places who sell similar things). I was just struck by the apparent equation of "simplicity" with "$$ spent"! As I said in the reflection, I'm a sucker for simplifying -- and am willing to pay for it . . . up to a point! But not $2K! Blessings, Gary