by Sue Sutherland Wood

Although I enjoy the magazine and many of her ideas, I have to say that I do not consider myself to be a Martha Stewart acolyte – I’ve never seen a pyramid of size 11 Nikes in her foyer for example and our cat litter will never be housed in a decorative Grecian urn; however, I must confess that I frequently turn to the comfort of flipping pages that depict storage organization: baskets of tightly rolled white towels, cobalt-blue bottles full of vinegars, those round orbs fashioned from twigs often on a coffee table (why, I wonder — what are they for?), and I’d especially like a willow-pattern umbrella stand for my shooting sticks whilst I toe off my riding boots in the front hall. (You know, right in the front of the empty pizza boxes spilling out of the recycle …)

But I digress. I pride myself on being a realist so rather than try and convince teenage boys to roll towels, I seize the only power available to me – my office.

Office supply stores have long been exciting to me – I know it’s a bit sad, but there’s a hopefulness that comes with purchasing the perfect gel-tip pen or the ideal new, notebook. (Moleskine or Hilroy? Vintage or ironic? Blank? Lined?) On my last pilgrimage I bought a stapler (purple, since you ask) that stands upright and a box of red staples to feed it. I also organized the surface of my desk with the eye of a minimalist. There are now stamps, envelopes, some cut-price Easter eggs (who knows how long I’ll be in here?), and I gave an old retro-typewriter a place of honour to inspire me as I work. Elastics live in an old tea caddy, paper clips in a “curiously strong” peppermint tin. The cats have a soft round nest under the window perfect for assuming the shape of a cat donut.  I have also positioned my shredder so I can lean over and whoosh away any junk mail as it arrives. (A recent purging session was halted when I realized that in my zeal to shred some old dog license documentation, I had failed to remove the tags, still attached …)

There’s probably no hydrangea – dried or otherwise – billowing over an antique pitcher in my future. But, at least for now I can feel calm and organized at my desk and to me, this is a good thing.


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