Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Clean Desk Day

Thank God it’s Monday, again. I personally look forward to all Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with everyone! Therefore, happy Monday to one and all.



If getting more organized was your New Year’s Resolution, then today is a great day for you because, being the second Monday in January (for 2024), it’s National Clean Off Your Desk Day. says, “having your workspace uncluttered and organized will help you work more efficiently. A clean workspace improves productivity and inspires us, too. It often gives us a sense of serenity.”

Cleaning (and organizing) anything, even my desk, is something I would celebrate any day. However, not everyone else would. I know my mom wouldn’t have. I wrote a little about that last week (pictured below). In fact, any given Monday, I’m usually cleaning the previous week’s accumulated pile of stuff off of my desk.

Throughout the week, when I get busy with other things, my desk quickly becomes a convenient “catch-all” spot for anything I don’t TAKE the time to put where it belongs. That’s the key. I can tell myself (and anyone else) that I don’t HAVE time for this or that. The truth is, I’m in charge of my time, therefore I don’t MAKE the time for this or that.

I have to work on changing that bad habit. Thus, it’s part of my continuously renewing resolution to get more organized. If there’s a bad habit that you want to stop or change, step one is to consciously recognize WHY you do it, in the first place.

There are many recognized benefits to cleaning and organizing. It’s commonly known that any activity burns calories. Additionally, these particular activities can also produce improved moods, decreased stress levels, and increased creativity – especially when concentrated around one’s desk or work space.

For most people, a clean desk is more efficient from which to work. In a perfect world, when there are less distractions around us, a clean work space improves our focus on the task at hand and, thus, also saves us time.

Dad cleaned off his desk regularly – maybe that’s from where I got it – not only before the start of each new work week but especially at the beginning of each new year. After preparing all the records he needed for their yearly tax filings, he’d file all of their receipts and paperwork away, from the previous year’s record-keeping, and start anew.

On the other hand, Mom was not like most people. She had her own version of organization for her desk and work area that never hindered her creativity, as proven by her several dozen, successful, self-published cookbooks and hundreds of newsletter issues, during her 40 years as the ORIGINAL Secret RecipesTM Detective.


I’m sure Mary Ellen Pinkham, the famous household hints author who was interested in Mom’s recipes, years ago, would’ve suggested many solutions for the chaotic organization of her desk and workspace. Something like 94% of workers feel more productive in a clean workspace.

Yet we’re all different. Mom is part of the 6% that prefer the messy workspace. Her own system suited her just fine and she wasn’t alone, as many famous people are/were disorganized – Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Oprah Winfrey, to name a few.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 119)


LUCK, as the critics said, really had nothing to do with our success, unless the definition of LUCK is when preparation and experience meet opportunity. That is, indeed, a blessing worth counting twice, also.

However, I have learned from my very wise mother, whose advice was always inspiring and encouraging, that rather than count my BLESSINGS, I should carefully count my OPPORTUNITIES!

In my kitchen, where all of these famous recipes are developed and tested and prepared for publishing, I have one significant problem. The ‘Good Hands People’ are about to declare my kitchen an accident going someplace to happen!

My sense of organization is not what Heloise would enthusiastically endorse. So, even when my cup runneth over and over and over, I can’t always find my mop!

It is with appreciation that, in spite of my lack of organization, Mary Ellen Pinkham, the famous household hints author, took an interest in our recipes just recently. I really should get together with Mary Ellen and learn exactly how to become better organized but, somehow, time keeps getting away from me.

I am either in the kitchen, cooking up something for the next book [or] the next issue of the newsletter; or I’m writing about what I’ve been cooking – with time in between to do two, sometimes three, radio shows a day, on a regular basis, running anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours.

No two shows are ever alike – with the exception of the [wonderful] hospitality and warm response from the listeners. I have had very few unhappy experiences on the air… Some of the highlights of these radio broadcasts will probably remind you of the first time you heard of me, through one of these shows…

This is where most of our family of readers have come and they continue to listen with as much enthusiasm and as many challenges [for me to decipher] today as they did the day I spoke to my first radio audience and became affectionately dubbed by them ‘The Recipe Detective’. I thank them!

In Mom’s defense, a 2019 Harvard Business Review study showed that neat and orderly environments make us more likely to conform to expectations and play it safe, while a messy desk seemingly makes one more creative, moving them to break away from “the norm” and look at things in a new or different way. Adapting to change was also easier for them.

A messy desk often indicates creativity and innovation, as well as being busy; whereas a neat desk can be indicative of order, structure, and attention to detail. Both are perfect examples of Mom’s and Dad’s desks and who they were, respectively.

Messy or neat – both are open to interpretation. Both are also completely satisfactory. Some studies have found a hybrid to be beneficial – with a messy desk at the beginning of a project, to increase creativity, and a clean one at the end to focus better on order and expectations. Don’t worry about whichever one you are, as either is perfectly acceptable.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop, (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 14-15)


WHILE SOME FOLKS claim to have been born under a sign related in some way to the stars and other heavenly bodies, I wish to establish, right here and now, the sign under which I must have been born. It reads: ‘DO NOT TOUCH THE MESS ON THIS DESK OR YOU’LL GOOF UP MY SYSTEM.’

From this, you can imagine how astonished I was when, one day, it occurred to me that Heaven had certainly poured me out a blessing and my cup was running over. But I couldn’t find my mop! That has more or less (actually MORE) been the story of my life…my cup runneth over and over and over.

Cleaning your desk off, on a regular basis, has proven, concrete benefits – helping you to declutter both mentally and physically. A clean workspace increases your efficiency, professionalism, and overall image. The same thing can apply to students’ study areas, as well.

Cleaning your desk daily (or even weekly) is an important habit to develop, for maintaining a positive work environment. A regular cleaning routine can help you reduce clutter and stay on top of messes. Keep important items organized and within reach for better efficiency.

On the other hand, according to, “When asked about his messy desk, Einstein remarked, ‘If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?’


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 15)


COOKING IS ONE OF THOSE personal accomplishments that afford us all the opportunity to express ‘talent’. We love being approved of. In fact, we eat it up! It’s the little pat on the back that gives us the incentive to continue trying. And where else, but in the kitchen, can you try to win approval with such satisfying results!

I’m very partial to my kitchen because it is the one place in our home where I feel the most comfortable! Whether I’m there alone, working on a recipe, or sitting at my desk, looking for inspiration on a new article I’m writing, or sharing a cup of coffee with a neighbor or a friend, who’s dropped by – it’s my favorite room!

I have a desk in the kitchen right next to the [sliding glass] door…that overlooks the yard. Our daughter, Debbie, and our son-in-law, Jim, gave me a flowering Crab [Apple] tree last Mother’s Day, which they planted right in the middle of the yard.

I can enjoy it’s flowers each spring; also the very long bare, red branches during the autumn and it’s snow-covered limbs all winter. It’s my sundial, by which I observed the seasons and the changes involved with this natural wonder.

While the Scotch pines around this little tree never change, never go through the transition of bud to blossom to barren branches and then buds again, I can see the contrasts that are parallel to our own personal predicaments.

Some things, places – and yes, even people – never seem to change, while others go through budding and blossoming and withering away, only to come right back to life again in the sunshine of human kindness; as does my tree, in the sunshine of the seasons.


Unless your work relies on creativity, it’s really not ideal to have your desk in front of a window. It might seem like a pleasant work environment but it can actually distract you from whatever your focus should be on. It’s better to have the window to your side for little breaks.


In honor of January, being National Soup Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Big Void Cheese Soup” (like Big Boy’s); as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 71).


P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…


January observes, among other things… National Hobby Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Mentoring Month, National Oatmeal Month, and National Slow Cooking Month.


Today is also… National Bubble Bath Day, National English Toffee Day, and National Joy-Germ Day.

January 9th is… National Apricot Day. Plus, as the second Tuesday in January (2024), it’s also… National Shop for Travel Day.

January 10th is… National Bittersweet Chocolate Day, National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, National Oysters Rockefeller Day, and National Save The Eagles Day.

January 11th is… National Arkansas Day and National Milk Day.

January 12th is… National Curried Chicken Day and National Marzipan Day.

January 13th is… Korean American Day and National Peach Melba Day.

January 14th is… National Dress Up Your Pet Day, National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day, and National Ratification Day. Plus, as the second Sunday (for 2024), it’s also… National Sunday Supper Day, as well as this month being National Sunday Supper Month.

Additionally, as the start of the second full week in January (for 2024), it’s also… Universal Letter Writing Week, National Pizza Week, and National Mocktail Week, among other things.

…2 down, 50 more to go!

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