Every week I post about a clutter hot spot in my home. I’m currently working on my desk, including a box of paper clutter I filled up from the desk a few weeks ago.
I started again with that paper clutter box. I haven’t touched it since last week, of course. Except that one thing was added to the box. That’s not what’s supposed to happen!
I set the timer for 10 min. and went to work, with the same basic process that I used last week. I was moving a little slower today, so after 10 min. was done, I wanted to make more progress, so I set the timer for 5 more minutes. The recycle bag is not just from this week’s project. It includes papers from last week and some others from throughout the week.
I gave myself 15 minutes to deal with my little piles and work on the desk itself. I was so excited to get to work on the desk, that I forgot to take a before picture, but here’s how it looked after that 15 minutes, plus I went just a few minutes over.
My Take Action pile is there to the right of the computer, and some unopened mail is there on the left.
What I am learning:
- I need to make time for actually dealing with the Take Action pile. You know, maybe I should spend some time taking action.
- Blogging about my progress really motivates me!
- If I keep the same pace on that paper clutter box, I should have it emptied in 2-3 weeks. I hope I can pick up the pace a little more!
What motivates you to work on paper clutter?
A couple of weeks ago I invited my MOPS group over for a play date. Doing things like that is a stretch for me, mostly because my home is not usually ready to be seen by the outside world. But I love having people over. I love connecting with people and having good conversations.
And I think it’s important to connect with people in person, and not just through email or Facebook.
I also know that inviting people over motivates me to clean.
I focused on the main floor of our home, which includes our living room, kitchen, and powder room. I was just hoping that there would be no desire or need for the guests to explore further.
I took lots of before and after shots, so here we go:
Living Room After:
And if you are looking for a yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffin recipe, my friend Kristen over at The Fugal Girl can help you out!
The play date was fun!
- Starting early was important, and helped a lot! Of course, things weren’t perfect, and I acted like a crazy lady for the last hour before they arrived. I know if everything was maintained better, that would make it much easier…. we’re working on it… slowly… and that’s OK.
- I didn’t know where to start, so I just started by the front door. It worked.
- I tried to focus on having some cleared horizontal surfaces. I learned this from my sister, and Rachel over at Small Notebook wrote a nice post on the topic. Any cleared surface really helps!
- I want my home to be welcoming, not scary. I think I achieved that goal.
- I swept the floor while I was on the phone this week, without even thinking about it. Strange, but good!
- I’m thinking about an experiment where I make myself go to bed at 10:00 PM for an entire week no matter what and see how it impacts my productivity.
I’m linking up with Orgjunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing!
OK! I’m feeling good about things this week. I started to deal with that box of hidden paper clutter. The whole box was just too overwhelming and I knew I didn’t have time to do it all, so I set my handy-dandy timer (I use the one on my oven) for 10 minutes and I went to work.
I decided to just make some quick piles and not bother with boxes/bags/containers. Part-way through, I made those labels for the piles using envelopes from the recycle pile, to help me keep on track.
My piles included:
- To File
- Mr. RSS (That’s anything for my husband to deal with)
- Take Action
Next I dealt with each pile instead of leaving them there for days to get all mixed up again by a certain toddler. Why didn’t I think of this idea before?? (I forgot to set the timer for this part, but I’m estimating it only took me 5 min.)
- Recycle – into a recycle bag. Easy!
- To File – The pile was so small and not so overwhelming, so I actually filed everything right then and there. I’m not even kidding. Crazy.
- Mr. RSS – I put his pile on his desk for him. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled!
- To Take Action – Well, I moved that little pile to the desk, right next to the computer. Not much action on it yet.
But, wait! There’s more!
I set the timer for 10 min. to work on the desk. After that, I really wanted just a little more time, so I did 2 more minutes and then 1 more for the finishing touches. So, that’s 13 min.
What I am learning:
- Small chunks of time seem to work well for me.
- The timer helps me stay on task, work quickly, and have the end in sight.
- It was good for me not to set up boxes to sort papers because:
- That takes time, or I need to find my old boxes which are….somewhere….maybe in my room?
- I feel the need to keep the boxes to use again, or wait until they are full. Then I have boxes sitting around somewhere. Not good for me.
- In the case of a quick sort, the papers are not getting out of hand, and It helps me to deal with them more quickly.
How is your desk doing today?
I’ve been checking in on a clutter hot spot each week. I take a picture of that spot and post it for all to see. I just spent 7 weeks on the kitchen island, and now I’m moving on to the desk (AKA The Desk of Paper Clutter Madness).
Tuesday night, I started instinctively clearing the island to get ready for my hot spot post. When I remembered that I was moving on to a new spot, I almost stopped….but I decided to keep working at it even though I wasn’t taking a picture of the island. Yay!
About 6-7 months ago, I did a major desk declutter/clean up/organize session, and the results were great. Some of it has stayed under control, some of it hasn’t.
Paper clutter is one of my biggest clutter struggles, and of course my desk loves to collect papers.
Here’s a picture of how it looked about a week ago:
But you might remember that last week I was hosting a playdate, so I was doing some major cleaning up. Our desk sits right between our kitchen and our living room, so it is very visible. I worked on cleaning it up, but in the end I did not have time to deal with all of the paper clutter, so I put it all in a box and hid it in the basement. Hey, at least it fit in just 1 box, right?
Here’s how it looked after the clean up/declutter/clutterhide:
And now, here’s this week’s picture:
Most of the clutter that was added there this week is actually because the kids were using the desk as their “teacher desk.”
I am planning to go through that paper clutter box. In fact, it is now sitting next to the desk. Feel free to ask me about it if I don’t report back with an empty box.
I hope you’ll join me as I figure out what works and what doesn’t with the desk and the paper clutter!
- I’m thinking about a post about the pros and cons of hiding clutter, since I’m becoming an expert on that, it seems.
- I’m excited to show you some before/after pictures from the playdate clean up sometime soon.
I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.
You might remember that we were hit by Hurricane Irene recently. We got through the hurricane and 5 days without power/running water without any damage to the house. (Yes, this is a laundry post. Hang on.)
About a week after that, Tropical Storm Katia came to visit. We weren’t really worried about her. It was mainly just a bunch of rain.
So the morning after the storm I went down to the basement to get something out of the dryer, and when I stepped off the last step, my foot slipped and I slid down to my back in about 2 inches of water that was covering our basement floor. It turns out that our sump pump failed in the middle of the night. So everything that was sitting on the floor of the basement was wet.
Including Mt. Laundry (I took this picture the day before the hurricane):
It’s funny what can motivate me to catch up on laundry. The thought of a really big pile of dirty, musty, mildewy clothes was all the motivation I needed this time.
So I just cranked through it all.
I even collected all the laundry from all over the house.
From the stairs…
From the kitchen floor sweep pile…
And now we have a cleaned-up laundry area! Those white doors have not been closed in a very long time!
- If I am able to maintain a mountain of laundry in the basement and still have clothes for everyone to wear, it probably means we have too many clothes.
- I need to keep up with my 1-laundry-load-a-day idea better. I said a long time ago that I was going to revise my weekly cleaning schedule. I need to actually do it and use it.
I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.
OK, just for fun, I’m going to use last week’s ‘after’ picture as this week’s ‘before’ picture.
Last week’s ‘after’ picture:
Some of the changes are subtle, but I’m pretty happy with how things are going. I’m thinking about checking in on a different clutter hot spot next week.
Maybe The Desk of Paper Clutter Madness?
That could be fun.
Or productive, anyway.
- Still working on getting the house ready for a playdate! I’m making progress…and I’m taking pictures!
I sort of forgot about the kitchen island post until late in the morning today. I took a picture, but I was determined to make improvements. I just wasn’t willing to let it sit like that today. Hooray for determination!
So here’s my before picture:
I didn’t have time to properly clear it all off, so I decided to time myself for 5 minutes while I worked on clearing it, and then take another picture.
The five minutes seemed to fly by, and I was making good progress, so I decided to give myself 1 more minute timed.
After that, I was still super motivated and really wanted to work on it for just 1 more minute (and that’s really all the time I had anyway).
So after 7 minutes (plus a quick wipe of the sponge), here’s how it looked:
I really need to remember that timer thing again. The timer helped me to stay focused and it helped me to work fast! Now, I can get work done on the island and the clutter that is left doesn’t seem so overwhelming.