Only a couple weeks before he died, my little brother helped deliver his old desk to my house, where it has become my scrapbook desk. It’s a huge thing — a 30-by-60-inch oak desktop held up by two two-drawer oak file cabinets. The desktop was most recently Mikey’s, until he moved away to Orlando. Before that, it had been my father’s. Before that, it had been my grandfather’s.

I love having this desk. I love it because it has been passed around through the family; I love it because I clearly remember Mikey helping to bring it in, along with my dad and my uncle, and I suspect that was the last time I saw him before he went into the hospital. (If it wasn’t the last time, it was one of them.) I love it because it’s huge and gives me a lot of room for all of my scrapbooking supplies. No more having to clear off the dining room table — an impossible task — and rummage through a giant box for some widget that’s invariably at the bottom of the box. The desk is piled high with supplies I sometimes use, always use, or haven’t found an excuse (yet) to use. In a way I feel a bit silly, because I have SO MUCH stuff and have created so few pages. But I suspect this is the norm with scrapbookers who have lives away from the scrap desk.

As far as scrapping goes, the best feeling — even better than finishing a project — is starting one. It’s sitting down at a nice clean desk, where everything’s in its place, and gradually pulling things out of drawers and supply boxes and laying things out layer on layer on the desktop, seeing what might work and what might not. (Coincidentally, this is the same feeling I get when I have a story idea in mind and I open Word and am greeted by that empty, hungry white page.)

But you know what feels almost that good? Cleaning the desk after finishing a layout, or opening a store bag and putting away new supplies. I feel like a decent, organized person — the type of person who can locate a chipboard letter “d” or a tiny aluminum eyelet in seconds, perhaps even the type of person whose clean underwear is in the dresser drawer and not in a pile of laundry on the sofa. Even better, I get to see allllll of my stuff, my toys and gadgets, my cardstock and patterned paper and assorted whatnots.

I’m grateful for a hobby so enjoyable that even the cleanup is fun.