By Kristin van Ogtrop
Updated January 22, 2015
Home Office
Credit: James Merrell

I am in the process of carving out a little home office for myself and you would think I was about to get a free trip around the world, another baby, or a Lexus with a giant bow around it in my driveway, like you see in the commercials at Christmas. I am just that excited.

Except for childhood and a brief period in my 20s, I have never had a room of my own, much less a home office. A place where the mess is only my mess, not the mess of a child or husband who—despite being wonderful in nearly every other way—never remembers to put his dishes in the sink. Back in college I read Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and, honestly, didn’t see what the big deal was about. Now that I work full time and have three children and a husband and a dog, there just seems to be mess everywhere I look. And I mean mess both in the literal and figurative sense. I have a messy, messy, messy life. And so I find myself having Woolfian fantasies of just walking out the door and never coming back. Do you have those fantasies? Can you have those fantasies and not end up drowning yourself in a river? I sure hope so.

So my life is a “mess,” but I don’t want to be a mess. (As in: “Oh, you know Kristin, she’s such a mess.”) And now I think I’ve found the ultimate anti-mess plan, which is to have my own office. The Path to Office looks like this:

Old house with no accessible attic = no place to store random crapola, which all goes in unoccupied bedroom

Old house needs to be rewired = suddenly there is a way to get into the attic

Attic needs to be insulated = attic gets a plywood floor

Plywood floor in attic = new place for random crapola

New place for random crapola = new empty room!

Now when I wake up in the night and can’t fall asleep again, I think about my new little office. I think about the wallpaper I chose, back when I was silly and naïve and thought there really was no big financial difference between painting a room and wallpapering it ( I think about putting my desk under the sunny double window and opening my laptop and instead of answering e-mails, just looking out the window. The door is closed on my otherwise messy life, and I have a moment to myself in a room where everything is in its place. And I will never drown myself in a river, at least not anytime soon.