Sunday, June 24, 2012

Turn Your Left-Brain Cabinet into a Right-Brain Shelf

This weekend, I turned a cabinet made for left-brain organizers into a cabinet for right-brain organizers. (Apologies for the poor photo quality. My camera is not working properly.)

Organizing for the Creative Person: Right-Brain Styles for Conquering Clutter, Mastering Time, and Reaching Your Goals by Dorothy Lehmkuhl and Dolores Cotter Lamping relies on brain research to explain why we have different organizing preferences, but it breaks down this way: right-brain thinkers believe that things disappear when you store them away in filing cabinets. Electronic files, as Nels Highberg explains, are like kryptonite for right-brain thinkers. 

This discount-store cabinet came with our house, and it’s basically a good, sturdy cabinet used in a mostly out-of-site location (my office nook), so I don’t have a good reason to get rid of it. I decided to repurpose it.

First, I took off the doors. 

Oh yes, this is what was behind the doors. For six years.

Don't forget to take off the door hinges. You'll see in the "after" photo that I forgot one. It has been removed.

Then, I realized the back had no “back” and I really didn’t like that, so I put a very old quilt that my great aunt made years and years ago behind the shelves and over the top. 

Last, I put some things on the shelf. 
At first, I didn't place anything on the bottom shelves. Then I realized I could use those shelves like horizontal file cabinet, so I have some project files there. It's a much more satisfying shelf now.

This little train was a special gift when my son was born. The gift came with advice about how to manage my dissertation and a baby: As soon as the baby falls asleep, drop what you are doing and go to your typewriter. The person meant the keyboard at my computer, of course, and every time I felt too tired to go sit at the keyboard, I remembered that she wrote her dissertation on a typewriter, so surely I could peck out a few words that I could edit later without having to retype a whole page or entire chapter. Now that my children have outgrown the train, I keep it to remind myself that to be a professor and a mother, I must sit down and write.

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