I Design Stuff

Where I work, part 2.

At my work-office, I try to keep my space very clean and tidy. I don’t have control over things like desks (they are awful wood-grain laminate) or carpet (industrial-grade blue), but over the past 10 years I’ve tried to make it a little more personal.

I have plants in the window. When I bought them, they were teeny-tiny. I’ve had to re-pot them twice (potting plants is a weird thing to do at work, but it had to be done!). I feel happy to see them every day, and to give them water from my bottle. I am very lucky to have this huge, old window to look out during the day! It’s especially wonderful when it’s snowing.

I keep a set of resuable plastic utensils here, as well as a supply of chemical-laden drink mix packets that encourage me to drink more water throughout the day. I also buy my own storage boxes (like this pink one, which holds CDs) instead of using the ugly black plastic ones from the office-supply catalog.

There are pictures of my loved ones, of course.

I keep my paper clips and rubber bands in a little green glass Marimekko dish. I bought this clock at a stoop sale years ago, and it worked perfectly until recently, when the cord suddenly started to dissolve and ooze green goo everywhere. It’s just for decoration now.

I have a Cable Turtle to control the slack on my extra-long mouse cord. I use an ugly, old Logitech mouse instead of a pretty Apple one because I’m so used to it. It’s hard for me to adjust to anything new!

My beloved Sigg bottle, which I fill up at least 4 times a day.

If you work outside of your house, what do you keep in your office to make your days a little happier?

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26 Comments

  • Reply verhext August 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    aahh, this is good. i start cubicle office land next week and i have to remember – i can make it pretty.

  • Reply Jenni August 25, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I keep a crystal clock that was given as a graduation gift, an ipod dock for continuous tunes all day long, a special letter opener…..and green staples that I buy myself because they make me smile anytime I staple pages together!

  • Reply Lonnie August 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    I have a sigg bottle and I love it too. But I don’t fill mine up four times a day, as you do. You’re inspiring me to drink more water! Your office looks so nice, so “You.” I’ve always had a fantasy of working in New York, something similar to what you’re doing. I get a little “fix” by your posts like this. Thank you!

  • Reply Janelle August 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I wish I worked at a place where I cared enough to make it prettier.

    I post little sayings around to remind me that the job doesn’t matter and I shouldn’t let it get to me, that there are more important things.

  • Reply Orange Pattern August 25, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    haha. Chemical laden drink packets. I suck those things down daily, too! (It’s better than soda…)

  • Reply kellyt August 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Did you buy your cool yellow/green chair (looks like a Arne Series 7??) or did it come with the office? It’s not pictured in this posting but was in your first “where i work” posting last week.

    Also, thanks for turning me on to Living Etc. I’ve been pouring over the online edition. LOVE IT! I tried finding a hard copy at the local Barnes and Noble but they don’t carry it. Do you have a subscription to it or do you just look at it online?

  • Reply Anna at D16 August 25, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    kellyt, yes, it’s an Arne Jacobsen chair in lime green. I didn’t buy it, it was an inter-office scavenge — I found it out in the hallway about 7 years ago, and “relocated” it to my area. Nobody’s said anything yet, so I’m assuming they don’t miss it. 🙂 Are you in NYC? If so, most of the larger news stands sell LivingEtc. I buy mine at Grand Central.

  • Reply zan August 25, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I do keep a few things around to remind me who I am outside of work: a few vintage Ohio postcards and some wooden letter blocks I picked up in Latvia spelling out the first line of a favorite Latvian poem on my windowsill. There’s a tub of Mighty Tea teabags and a jar of honey to get me through the day, and plenty of my favorite books lying around. Also, a little illustrated greeting card from the seventies I keep on the shelf with three pairs of sneaker propped up on a porch rail overlooking an autumn sunset. On the inside, the words “LIFE IS GOOD.” Because I can always do with a reminder.

  • Reply Kathleen August 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    I actually just did a blog about my office space too!
    http://jeremyandkathleen.blogspot.com/2008/08/office-space.html

  • Reply Vicki August 25, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    There’s a short learning curve…But I will never go back after switching to a Mighty Mouse (and preferably a cordless one)!

  • Reply superblondgirl August 25, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Mine’s not pretty, but it’s decorated – I have pictures my son drew me, my cool Metropolitan Museum shoe-a-month calender, a card from my husband, some toys (because I’m a dork) and little figurines, a seashell I keep my paperclips in, and some stress-reduction stuff (spray, Rescue Remedy). I have a Sigg, too, a big red one, and I try really hard to drink several bottles-full a day.
    I wish I could have plants, but I am windowless and so they would die.

  • Reply yvette August 25, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    been lurking for a while (love your blog), and thought i should finally say hi. this post is just what i needed to get me to finally decorate my cubicle. a mixture of “i’m still on probation” and “i don’t plan on staying” has stopped me from even trying.

    thanks for the inspiring kick in the you-know-what.

  • Reply sunny August 26, 2008 at 10:08 am

    I just completed an organization of my office. What energized me the most was handling a stack of files/papers that had cluttered up a bookcase in my office for over three years! Once that was taken care of, the rest fell into place. Now I want to bring in more personal touches…and your blog entry has inspired me to do that ASAP!

    I should do a post like this soon… a before/after scenario perhaps.

  • Reply heather August 26, 2008 at 10:47 am

    You’re office is fun, cheerful and very you!
    I’m in a fairly new office with large windows and a view of Manhattan. I’ve pinned up photos of the husbie, the bf and another of a field of bright pink tulips that I inherited with my old desk. There’s a small fridge next to my desk that I keep stocked with snacks and water. I also have two large plants in huge pots that I’ve moved with twice now and another that has completely taken over an old Victorian terrarium.

  • Reply Adam August 26, 2008 at 10:59 am

    In my classroom, before it was destroyed this summer, I kept a few mugs that have been gifts, my favorite from my friend and co-worker Sandy who gave me a great big lime green and black polka dot mug that says “Innocent Bystander” on it (I have a reputation at work for being a bit of a rabble rouser”, pictures of Chloe and Thurston, some of my sculptures, an earthenware urn that says “Ashes of Former Students” on it, a set of old clothes and sneakers in case I need to do something particularly messy and of course my Nalgene bottle (which I need to replace) to stay hydrated throughout the day.

  • Reply Maggie August 26, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Long-time lurker, first-time commenter here (love the blog, just very shy!) but your pink box brought me out of hiding! Where can I find one like it? Do they come in different sizes?

  • Reply Anna at D16 August 26, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Maggie, don’t be shy! 🙂 The pink box is from IKEA, it’s part of the STRIKT line. Yes, it comes in different sizes and colors. They don’t show everything on the website, but if you search for STRIKT, you’ll get an idea of what they have. They come flat and you fold them together — nice and sturdy, and covered with fabric.

  • Reply nicole August 26, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    just moved into a new office, so i still have a lot of work to do to make it feel more comfortable. but i do have a really cute teardrop shaped black enamel table lamp from CB2 (more for aesthetics and mood than function since it’s not very bright), a kooky bird’s nest fern that sits in a simple, modern black ceramic planter, and some choice pieces of artwork, including a print of the sign language alphabet (an homage to my love of hands), a framed antique first aid bandana that is printed with numerous emergency care illustrations, and many inspiring postcards. fortunately my office is in an old building, so i am one of the lucky few with an original red brick wall. what’s missing? more art, another plant (that can survive my windowless area) and a simple area rug.

  • Reply david August 27, 2008 at 8:30 am

    don’t drink too much water, it’s bad for you ….

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/aug/19/healthandwellbeing.fitness1

  • Reply Anna at D16 August 27, 2008 at 8:50 am

    David, did you actually read that article, or just the tagline? It’s about hyponatremia in marathon runners, not people sitting at their desks all day. There’s quite a difference. Water intoxication is practically non-existent among anyone other than extreme endurance athletes.

    Drinking 3 liters of water spread out over 8 hours not “bad” for me. Healthy adult kidneys can process at least 5 TIMES that amount (15 liters!) over the course of a day. It keeps me from mindlessly snacking on garbage, prevents my skin from getting dried out in the recycled office air, and wakes me up when I hit my usual afternoon slump.

    FAR better than drinking 8+ cups of coffee a day, which is what I used to do before I started using a refillable water bottle.

  • Reply lee August 27, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    🙂 I finally moved the whiteboard in my new classroom so that I’m not teaching in dingy narrow room, but a wide, brighter roomier one. Tomorrow – rainbow walls:)

  • Reply Adam August 27, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    I drink a lot of water and still drink about 8 cups of coffee a day. Hopefully the water is canceling out the coffee. 🙁

  • Reply laura @ the shorehouse August 28, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    If you saw my work office you might spontaneously combust! Yours is so calm and happy (no wonder I’m a stark raving lunatic at work half the time). Since I work in marketing my space has bascially become a vast wasteland of boxes of promotional tchotchke and archived marketing plans. This post is inspiring me to get my act together (and get everyone’s crap out of my way! 🙂

    p.s. I’ve never seen a cord dissolve and ooze green goo. Ewwww…

  • Reply Robin August 30, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    do you pack your lunch or eat out? what do you usually pack if you do and any good recipe websites to share? I’m changing to an office job and was just curious what others are eating.

  • Reply Susan September 9, 2008 at 11:21 am

    My office plants don’t survive. I have tons of plants at home I’ve had for over 10 years, but the circulation in the office (or lack there of) kills them.

    The pic of your dog….looks exactly like my childhood dog, Micki. Totally makes me miss her!

  • Reply alis November 3, 2008 at 6:05 am

    I sit next to a window but the view is far from spectacular! I think my office can’t be saved with decorations as the corridors and the spaces around the desks are filled with ugly cardboard boxes and product samples, it looks like a hoarder’s nest! I brought a mug once but it was stolen/broken/lost within a week, so I would never bring anything I actually like. I do have a stack of design magazines though! I also have a drawer stacked with healthy food; dried fruit, nuts, tea, salt, and I bring my own lunch everyday.

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