Solution to the Messy Desk

The front room from yesterday is actually supposed to be a dining room.  Some fool thought putting a flight of stairs, foyer and back door and hall in between the dining room and kitchen was a really smart idea.  This fool knows that we don’t really “dine” anyway.  We just like to eat and I like it to look pretty so we’ve settled our fancy dining room table into the breakfast nook of our house and never looked back.  Until a few weeks ago…

Anyway, the point is, clearly, I moved the table. Just to see.  And when I say “I”, I mean my husband.  I have been using this big table as a desk in my office for years and I’ve always wondered about using it as an eating table. And have I told you that we have another magazine coming in January? That always motivates me to destroy every room in our house like a mad woman.  So I’ve got that in my head and wanted to give myself some time to decide if I like a different table in the dining area/breakfast nook thing.  You will say you don’t like it because it’s not all cutsi-fied and staged like these other photos, but I’ve been sick and the sun hasn’t been out and I have no staged photos of the white table so imagine it all cute and in better lighting and without those place mats.

Here’s the old table and how it’s looked through the years…

We’ve had good times at this table.  Remember, I painted it?

It fits nicely turned this way, but then it takes up a lot more room.  We don’t have room for my precious tertiary table back there.  And I really love my library table and want to keep it. And now that we’ve gotten rid of the homework table I need my surfaces, people.

But we just like to have a lot of room in front of the table to be ourselves.  There’s also a door on the left so it’s a walkway.  So I’m not selling it or anything, but just having fun and moving things around just to see.


I had that huge table/desk in my office.  And now that I don’t just have to work in the cracks, but Nesting Place can be, like, my real job and junk, I wanted to be a big girl about my office and not have it look like a cute hurricane blew through.  Part of me wondered if having a super huge desk was allowing me to create a super huge mess.  Plus part of me just likes change and thought it would be fun to switch things up. “Just to see.”

So just for fun (don’t judge, this actually is fun for me) I moved the table out of the office, and my son moved the parson’s desk from the bedroom down.  And I put it against the window and ahhhhh. Let’s live with this for a while and see how it works.

Now all the hopes and dreams of our big dining room table have come true as it sits in the mattress laden bonus room.  We moved it up there and I hoped it could be used for ping-pong for the time being, and it was.  Then two days later Caroline and her family of six came and we had the most wonderful, restful, fun time

With friends stopping by and kids everywhere…

And it was the best time EVER!  Whenever we have her family at our house, the house feels very happy and the men always cook for us. But then they left and I think I’ve had the flu and now my table is all forlorn and sitting up in a sea of mattresses and we have two Christmas gatherings I can’t wait to host and a magazine coming to shoot for Christmas in January and my. house. is. a. dis. ast. er.

We decided now would be a good time to bring a shedding evergreen into our home.

And hey, grab all those red and green bins and lets open them all and spread their insides around the foyer!

And five minutes later we are all exhausted and have a fever and the house looks like this in every room.

And that is what happens if you decide to move your desk. Lucky me, I don’t have a messy desk any more. Problem solved.

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  1. Sure is a pretty shaped Christmas tree.

  2. At our house we call that game musical furniture and it seems like we play it at least one a month. That might be conservative. The last time I rearranged the whole house it was because I fell in love with a tray. A tray that somehow turned into my son’s dresser being moved to the kitchen. Just yesterday, his chair wound up in the living room. Luckily, all he cares about is the crib. For now…

    Take a break, and whatever you end up doing will be just right. Soak up the rest and close your eyes to the mess but feel better soon!

    • Its just so nice to know that I am not the only one in the world that does this. Getting ready to really move things around, because we have company coming in for most of the month of December and they will be staying in the family room, which will mean I need to move out my big coffee table so that we can use the sleeper sofa…which means that the bedside table in my room needs to be moved downstairs so that Grandma has a place to store meds and lotions and potions where a 3yr. old cannot see them…and so on and so forth….I have a 7 yr. old decorating my tree because he wants to and I am just not fast enough to get it all done before he does. And there are dirty socks in my living room.
      Thanks for keeping it real. Reading your blog doesn’t make me feel guilty for living a real life right here in my space. ;-) Get healthy soon!

  3. You know what I like about your blog … you move your stuff around to try better arrangements.

    I don’t move things around because it seems like so much work, but I can see that it does breathe freshness into a space.

  4. Wow you sound like me. . .I love to switch things up too. =) Take care of yourself. . .I have had a flu bug since Sat. evening.
    P.S. Because of you I have 2 pieces of blue painted furniture.

  5. I have a nice, little bit larger than a student, vintage walnut desk in a corner of my den. It has a couple of drawers, some really creative shelving and I love it. When I first started using this as my little office corner, I was in love with it. Now it seems stacks are growing, “want to reads” are taking up a HUGE corner and my shelves are filling. In other words, my perfect little desk is groaning! Problem? I have no place else to go! My husband has a nice office in a finished room in the basement, but he is the neatnik I am NOT and that would become an immediate PROBLEM. Should I find a bigger desk and take up more space in my den, move my office to my bedroom, the living room, or just deal with it?

  6. FIRST – take care of yourself. Don’t let a fever go for long without a visit to the Doctor – I did that a couple years ago and ended up with double pneumonia – not fun. So, I am going to say a prayer for a speedy recovery for you. SECOND – one thing always leads to another – in my case recently it was a cold that slowed me down and then plumbing problems the same week that resulted in a closet having to be emptied. The crates and boxes are surrounding me as I type. I have one string of Christmas lights above my kitchen sink to inspire me to get in the Christmas spirit and enjoy the season – Your disarray looks all too familiar which I find comforting . THIRD – You are the Nester – (you should really have a suit with an “N” on the front and a cape) – you can do this! I have no doubt that in no time your house will be right side up again and when the Magazine people come they will be in awe – as will all your readers! Can’t wait to see pictures once you’ve staged and decorated for Christmas.

  7. Amy Edwards says:

    Probably one of my all time favorite blog posts EVER! Thanks for being real and down to Earth and making me feel like I’m not the only person with a messy big girl desk in my big girl office and for showing that you don’t always live in a made up, perfectly clean home! I love it that you are so real!

    • Totally agree! I laughed out loud through this post; you and Emily are two of my very favorite writers. And, just so you know, your freedom and joy in decorating has done for my home-making skills what “Chopped” did for my cooking skills…ah, FREEdom!

      Get better soon! All of you!

    • You are so right. You are keeping it real. Hope you feel better fast. Try not to stress out over the holiday decorating mess and the photo shoot. When you feel better, it will all come together. Praying for health and peace.
      Ps. Love your blog.

  8. and this is why we love you….AND your style! :) Hope your all getting better at your house, the stomach flu is now hitting ours! UGH! ~Kim

  9. Teresa Banman says:

    This reminds me of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” …lets see it would go If you give Nester a new desk idea she’s gonna want to…..etc.

  10. i don’t want the flu. my desk is staying where it is.

  11. Melissa McIntyre says:

    Hilarious! Rest Nester, rest! You just made my day, I’ve been all freaked out with boxes and furniture and crafts and paint cans everywhere for the past few days. We’ve gotten a good bit of it taken care of now and I feel ever soo much better! I LOVE the process though. You are SOOOO inspiring and REAL, thank you!!! And again, REST! Prayers for wellness coming your way!

  12. Flu here too – immediately after 2 weeks of re-carpeting the entire upstairs, stripping wallpaper, prepping and painting 3 rooms, and moving almost the entire contents downstairs so that we had somewhere to live while all of the above was going on. There’s a ladder next to a pile of winter coats, beds are stacked in the sun porch, the dining room table and chairs in the kitchen leave us about 18″ to walk around and maybe open a drawer or the dishwasher. And our house is going on the market in…oh about a week. (breathing….i think). I just read this to my sons and they said “it like The Cat in the Hat! She needs Voom!” I’ll be sending Voom! your way…as soon they finish up here ;o).

  13. You could make a little slipcover for that too long cord if you wanted to. Tell me how long and wide it is and I will make you one. Burlap would look nice. You would velcro it on.

  14. We call that “Joel-ing around”– named after a friend who worked nights. He had the days at home alone while his wife worked. When she came home in the evening the furniture was always rearranged. Love it that Joel, the husband, was the culprit. We Joel-around a lot at Christmas time too. This week our couches will be rotated to accommodate the tree. I love how you show your crazy.

  15. I loved all those pictures! I was kind of hoping that you had THE solution to every messy desk, like mine for instance! This week I’m changing the downstairs windows, so the whole house is messy, not to mention, dusty! But on the bright side, when I’ll put everything back in place, I will probably change a things and find new way to display things!

  16. I actually like the desk in the eating area better. Adds different shape to the rounded area and I am a fan of table/desks anyway. I loved your recent redo of your office but then I think I like the calmness of the way it is now with the smaller desk and relaxing chair, facing the window. Anything you do is always great and change is refreshing and shows growth. Hope you can all get better to really enjoy your holidays but is does require REST you know!!

  17. Very beautiful! I love it all! Please share more about the bird picture chandalier thing hanging over your desk. pretty pretty please <3

  18. ok so maybe it’s the radio person in me that wonders who gets royalties from your magazine, ebooks and what nots. YOu have mentioned in times past that this is a rental, so in essence you have built your whole career (and a darn good one might I add) using someone else’s house. You are like a stage mom…but instead of using your kid you’re using your landlords home. Do they require any percentage of the money you make? I, as a landlord would just be honored that someone took this great of care of my property, but I am not everyone. So if you don’t mind me asking – do they ask for some kickbacks because you are shooting in their home?

  19. I am so there some days! It’s starting one project and then it creates a mess here, then there… Hope it all comes together for you very soon! Question: I notice you have pages over your light fixtures in the living room and your office. I have a shade cage I found at a second hand store that I want to do something like this with. Did you do a protective barrier or anything to make it safer (i.e. paper against a hot bulb worries me a little)?

  20. I would never judge you for thinking it’s fun to move stuff around :-) I used to move my room furniture around even back in grade school. I couldn’t wait to get back home to walk in and experience how different it felt with the bed in a new place or a bureau rearranged. It’s so interesting to reinvent.

  21. I had 22 people for supper in our small living quarters on Saturday night so I removed all extra stuff upstairs and in the garage to put up an extra table. Also brought the rocking chair down as the cutest granbaby ever was in town for a few days. Still enjoying the space opened once I put the folding table away. Still deciding which removed pieces I can live without. One thing I have learned about a home is nothing is static. It keeps changing as life changes. Rest and recuperate and have a happy day.

  22. Lovely to see your mess! And people living and loving in it.
    My house looked like yours earlier this week with all the Christmas boxes out, the house half decorated … Kept working on it bit by bit then I decided to just put the boxes away, even if the decorating is not “finished”. Ah, soooo much better. Life can go on, after all.
    Now to tackle the everyday mess ….
    Take care of yourself and enjoy your tables/desks.

  23. There is a Haitian proverb Nester
    Piti, piti, wazo fe nich li.
    Little by little the bird builds its nest :)

  24. Thank you for this post! Being sick in bed this week, I have fallen so far behind in housekeeping/Christmas decorating/party-planning projects I had planned for this week, so I can totally relate to the state of your house. In the downtime, I challenged myself to simplify some of my plans and let go of some projects. That can be difficult for us creative types, but a blessed relief when we allow ourselves some time to rest and enjoy.

    With your upcoming magazine shoot (congratulations!), I bet your girlfriends would be happy to spend a day deep cleaning before the crew arrives. I am always amazed at how efficient mothers are at whipping a house into shape! Your stress will diminish as the house starts to sparkle, you spend the afternoon laughing with friends, and you will have more time to accomplish any last-minute creative projects you think of. As a thank you, maybe you could plan a little meet-and-greet with the crew at the end of shooting since your friends will have had a part in making your house a showplace. I am a reluctant housekeeper myself, but would jump at the opportunity to help a friend out. If I didn’t live so far away (well, and if you actually knew me), I would totally help you out.

    I hope you are feeling better, but pray for rest and peace of mind in the meantime. Blessings!

  25. If it’s any comfort, my house looks the same!! Guests overnight for Thanksgiving, bringing in a real tree, decorating and a dog that SHEDS…I tell you, I’m on the brink of moving out and leaving it all behind!

  26. I just want to say I’m new to your blog, been following a couple months and I just love you!
    Your style, your candor, the intuitive process of your decorating…it’s all so real and delightful.
    So glad I found you.

  27. This is so funny and true and sad (the fever part) all at the same time! One thing always leads to another doesn’t it? My husband is getting wise to this – now when I ask him to help with a project for a room he will ask, “Is it jus this or are you going to end up redoing the whole room?” But he still loves me : )

  28. Anonymous says:

    An office without files? I’d love to work on a Parsons table (named for the founder of the Parsons school of design and not the possession of a country preacher!) but there are no drawers. Where are your files? And as long as I’m asking, where do you keep the books in your house? Papers and books are my clutter factor. I love your colors and your paint instructions; have already purchased paint to re-do my sad attempt at a rustic finish on a china cabinet rescued from the curb a few years ago.

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