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?
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.
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.
How are your clutter hot spots doing?
Well, I have a cleared island, and a mostly decluttered kitchen and living room, but I’m not that happy about it.
Can you guess why?
A bunch of the clutter was just moved to a different location.
What is it about guests coming over that changes the way I see? I suppose I see the clutter through their prospective eyes.
We had friends over for dinner on Tuesday (Yay!). So, I started thinking about cleaning up over the weekend.
I got a bit more serious and actually worked on it on Monday with the kids. It seemed like we accomplished quite a bit.
We cleaned the kitchen floor!
We decluttered and organized the children’s books in the living room!
We moved some of these books to another room, put some in a give away box, and put the rest in one red box that we keep in the living room (you can see it by the fireplace in a picture at the end of the post).
We cleaned out and organized the shoes, etc. that were pouring out of the coat closet!
We took most of them to the bedroom closets upstairs, and one pair is heading out the door. We are trying to just keep 1 or 2 pairs each in this closet.
Monday night I even made a ‘To Do’ list for Tuesday.
On Tuesday, I spent the day working on decluttering and cleaning (and of course making dinner), but it seemed to be going very s-l-o-w-l-y. At about 3:00, I realized that there was clutter everywhere. I was seeing clutter and dust that I hadn’t noticed in….months. It was worse than I thought.
Around 4:30 I started doing bad things with clutter. You know. The crazy desperate clean up. Throw everything into a container and hide it somewhere!
Trash, papers, toys, food….all together in laundry baskets in my husband’s office . Oh joy!
And check out this before picture of our fireplace.
A lot of this is evil paper clutter that I thought surely I would sort through and organize if I put it right there in the living room!!! Nope. Apparently not.
This next picture shows the recycling that went straight from that pile out the door!
And now for the “After” picture. The “After-hiding-a-bunch-of-the-clutter-in-another-room” picture. Let’s try to get excited…
I know from my past that I really need to dig into those laundry baskets and boxes soon and not just ignore them. At the same time, I need to maintain the order that I have. I’m not expecting it to be easy, but I am going to fight for it!
By the way, we had lots of fun with our guests!
Do you know what else is fun?
I told them about my blog.
I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.
Like most kitchens, my kitchen gets a lot of traffic and is one of the most popular places to be in our home. With 3 kids, including a toddler, it gets messy and cluttered in an instant. As you might guess, I’m not on top of it as I should be, and either are the kids. We’re working on it!
When I think of the “classic” way to clean up and sweep a really messy floor, I think of these steps:
1. Go around and pick up all of the clutter on the floor, putting everything away in its proper place. Throw away/recycle larger pieces of trash.
This is what I used to try to do. Sort of. Every now and then-ish. Not often enough. The going around picking up things and putting them away part is really overwhelming when there is so. much. stuff. all over the floor. Seriously.
But it does need to happen. Because the little crumbs, food and dirt need to go. Those things actually bother me more than the bigger clutter.
So one day, when I was somewhat frustrated with the situation and I really wanted to sweep the floor, I switched the steps. I just started sweeping. I swept up everything into a big pile. A really big pile. In some weird way, I felt empowered.
I remember that one of the things on the kitchen floor that day was a ride-on toy. I swept it into the pile, too. And I liked it.
The floor was cleaned up really quick, except for the one big pile, which I then sorted and dealt with. It’s been about a year that I’ve been doing it this way, and you know what? It works for me. For now, anyway. Of course the goal is not to have everything all over the floor to begin with. We are getting there, and I think my sweep piles are getting smaller!
Here are the steps I use for cleaning my messy, cluttered floors:
1. Sweep up everything on the floor that is not in its proper place. IF there are wet/sticky things, like banana, pick those up separately. Sticky-wet-messy things do not work well in this method. Trust me on this one.
2. Sort. Put the toys together (or have your children come and “rescue” them from the pile), the books together, the kitchen stuff together, etc. Toss or recycle the bigger trash.
3. Sweep up the little bits.
4. Put everything else in its proper place (I’m thinking maybe if I use the phrase “”proper place” enough, it will sink in and become second nature to me.)
So if you ever find yourself overwhelmed with a messy cluttered floor that needs cleaning up/sweeping, shake things up a bit and try this method.
I’m linking up for Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT Family.