My workspace makeover

The desk of The New Paper reporter Jennifer Dhanaraj before and after it was tidied up by Miss Au-Yong Haw-San.

For almost one and a half years, my desk has resembled a war zone.

Colleagues who sometimes gathered around my desk would even offer to clean it up.

They did - but two days later - it would be back to being messy.

Of course, I tried tidying it myself, but I usually lost those "I bet it'll be messy again" wagers with my co-workers.

So, when my colleague Benita asked me if she could get a professional organiser to tidy up my desk for a report she was doing, I jumped at the chance.

Little did I know that it involved a lot of planning.

Usually, Edits Inc's Miss Au-Yong Haw-San, who prefers to be called San, would assess the situation a day before by personally taking measurements of the workspace which she would be working on.

But I had to do this myself to expedite things for the article. I also had to take photos of my workspace, including the drawers, and send them to San.


Interestingly, I also had to fill up a questionnaire which included my likes and dislikes and what I do at work.

The next day, San came to my office armed with containers and book ends.

She also presented a draft plan based on the questionnaire, telling me how she wanted to include an "inspiration corner" where I could generate ideas.

My excitement level rose, only to dip when I heard about the "purge stage", where I had to discard things I deemed unnecessary. The hoarder in me was petrified. I was especially reluctant to throw magazines and newspapers away. But once I did, I could see a difference.

Anyone can do this and there is no need for a professional organiser, I thought. But I soon found out this was just the beginning. San asked me to leave after that first stage. But I was extremely apprehensive as I'm not a fan of other people tidying up after me. Thankfully, this was not a problem.

When I saw my desk again after San had worked on it, I was surprised because I had not seen this much desk space since my first day on the job.

All my things were put into little containers with labels and each drawer had been allocated to store certain items so I knew which item went where.


San even gave me tips on how to maintain my workspace, the first of which was to stand up and clear my desk immediately after finishing a task.

Another was the five-minute rule where I had to clear the desk before I left the office for the day to avoid clutter.

Her services for a desk like mine that measures 1.8m in length would cost $440.

I did feel that my desk was a little too bare though, but San said it could double as a storage space.

While I understood sentiment, I need my desk to reflect my fun, easygoing personality.

I spend many hours there, so I want to feel comfortable and at home.

So it is up to me to maintain what San had done for me, while at the same time adding a little "life" to my workspace. 

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