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Desk Decluttering

Desk Decluttering

Desk Decluttering

Decluttering your personal desk at home can be a big task. It is an important one, however, because a person’s desk usually is the storage area for some of their most important paperwork.  You can get away with decluttering your home a couple of times per year, but your desk really needs to be done more often than that. This is especially true if you pay your bills at your desk. If you don’t keep it organized or decluttered in some way, you are likely to end up with some grouchy bill collectors wondering where your payments are. So let’s get that desk organized.

Starting to Organize Desk Declutter

First, get a large box. Clear off the tops of surfaces and put these items in the box. Then dump each of the drawers in the box, contents and all. Do you have any other shelves or cupboards in your desk? Dump those items in the box as well. There should be nothing left on your desk when you’re done, with the possible exception of your computer.

Next, pick up each part of your computer and look under it. Wipe or dust under and around each section of your computer. Dust the computer and screen as recommended by the computer’s manufacturer. It can be surprising what you will find under parts of your computer!

Categorizing Drawers

Then clean each shelf, drawer, and any other part of the desk until all surfaces are shiny and clean. You will then need a garbage bag and a box for stuff that needs filing. Then start at the top of the box and start sorting. Decide what category of items will go in each drawer. When you decide to keep something, put it back in the drawer.

Pens, pencils and other writing tools can go in one drawer. This drawer also can contain liquid erasing fluid, staples, and paper clips and other related items. When you decide to keep something, put it back in the drawer. If you are like most people, you will have duplicates of some things. Decide if you really need 5 packages of pens. You can store the extra pens for later use, but if you have LOTS of extras, either donate them or toss them. Put them in a drawer. Perhaps you already have an area in your desk drawer to store pens and pencils. If not, be creative.

You can run out and buy a couple of plastic storage containers especially meant for office desk drawers. But small boxes work well, also. Check book boxes are perfect for storing pens and pencils, and keep them from rolling all over the desk drawer. Another good place to store pens and pencils is in a container on top of the desk. Anything shaped like a vase or a jar works to store pens, pencils and other similar items on top of your desk.  And if you have the time and money, you can buy office drawer organizing units to keep all of those little items like erasers and rubber bands organized in your desk drawers, as well.

Stationary and paper can go in another drawer. Anything related to stationary or paper products can go in that drawer, as well. Computer paper, labels, envelopes and other such items can go in this drawer. This drawer should only be for paper items that haven’t been used yet, or for paper that you plan to recycle.

Bills should go in another drawer. Categorize bills by the order in which they need to be paid. Then put paid bills in another area of the drawer. Filing folders can come in handy for this drawer. You can also sort bills by month, if that makes it easier for you.

The point is to know where your bills are and whether or not they have been paid or not. Some people like to keep their bills in an inbox and outbox organizer. That type of organization is fine, as well. But if you don’t want your bills on top of the desk for anyone to see, sort them into a drawer. Set a specific day of the month to pay bills, so you won’t forget to pay them. Or pay your bills on line, using paperless bills and payments to avoid the clutter of bill statements as much as possible. That way, you’ll have less paper to keep under control.

An inbox and outbox on top of your desk will keep you organized. After you sort your mail, put the items that need to be sorted into your individual desk drawers and files in the inbox. Use your outbox for outgoing mail and bills that need to be sent. Correspondence and letters can go in your outbox, as well. Using an in and out box is no substitute for routine sorting and filing, however.

Take time routinely to clean off and declutter your desk. Before you know it, a clean desk and organized workspace will become a happy habit.


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Once Over Lightly

Once Over Lightly

The Quick Pick Up

A quick once over lightly of your home each day will help you keep clutter from piling up and taking over your home or life in general. Thankfully, many homes only need a quick going over to keep them looking neat. This type of quick cleaning looks good on the surface, but can hide a multitude of organizational sins. Not to worry, however.

This fast type of surface cleaning is perfect for a quick fix to outside appearances of clutter in your home. When this quick pick up is done, drop in visitors will be able to come into your house without your being embarrassed about the way the house looks.  And your unexpected visitors will never know that you didn’t spend hours cleaning before they dropped in. They will think, however, that you are a great housekeeper with excellent organizational skills.  What they don’t know won’t hurt them. When you get more time, you can choose more specific organizational issues to purse and conquer.

How to Accomplish the Quick Pick Up

Grab a trash bag, a damp cloth or disinfecting wipes, a good attitude, and let’s get the house picked up. It won’t be white-glove inspection ready, but it will look okay if you have someone drop by. And you will feel better when your house is picked up, as well.

Avoiding the Lived-in Look in the Living Room

The next quick pick up is the living room. Actually, you could start here, since this is usually the place most people see first when they come into your home. With your handy dandy garbage, pick up the extra papers, mail, trash, newspapers, and magazines that are lying around. If you aren’t sure whether or not to throw something out, put it in a drawer and save it for closer inspection. Couch, coffee tables, and end tables can be cleared of clutter.

Magazines usually go under end tables, or stacked neatly on top of end tables. When you furniture shop, be sure to buy end tables and coffee tables with storage for magazines and newspapers. That way, you can put them out of sight. Sorting and storing the magazines and newspapers you want to keep is a larger project for later. Our goal now is to clear off surfaces. If people can’t see the clutter, it doesn’t matter, at least during the quick pick up phase of our cleaning day.

Next, clear the floor of trash, clothing, shoes and other clutter that may be there. Dishes go in a sink full of soapy water to soak for right now. Laundry that happened to find its way to the living room goes behind that same closed laundry room door as the previous laundry did. Personal belongings can go into individual rooms, in draws or closets for them to deal with later. Now your surfaces and floors look picked up. If you think you have time, you can wipe surfaces off with a damp cloth. If not, wait till later and dust.

Kitchen Clutter Cures

The next most likely place in your home that unexpected company might come into is your kitchen. If you just want yours to be presentable until you can really clean it, here are some suggestions for a quick pick up.

Kitchens can get messy and cluttered quickly. To do a quick pick up in your kitchen, first deal with the dishes. If you are in a huge hurry, or haven’t done dishes for a while, fill your sink with hot, soapy water and let the dishes soak while you continue to pick up the kitchen. At least they are covered up with soapy water. And when you finally get time to put them in the dishwasher, they will be pre-rinsed and ready to wash.

Next, clear the rest of the kitchen surfaces. Fill the trash, cupboards and drawers in your kitchen quickly. If you need to sort further, you can do that later. Once you get your kitchen organized, putting kitchen items away will be a snap. But until that time, just get those surfaces picked up and stuff out of sight.

After cleaning surfaces, clear up items from the floor. Use closets, cupboards, the garbage, and drawers to get that stuff out of sight. Then sweep the floor. Don’t worry about mopping it until later. Move on to the bathroom.

Use a Quick Pick Up to Cure Those Bathroom Blues

Unexpected visitors may or may not use your bathroom. But nothing is more embarrassing than having someone use a bathroom that is a mess. Dirty clothes end up here frequently, hamper or not. Underwear especially ends up in the bathroom, and you don’t want to share that sight with anyone.

First, clean off the surfaces of your bathroom. Bathrooms usually have some drawers and a medicine cabinet to store makeup and medications, so toss some of the surface clutter in these places. Toss the garbage on the surfaces into the trash as well. Wipe the surfaces of your bathroom off with disinfecting wipes to help it look and smell cleaner. This room really needs to have the mirrors cleaned as well. Don’t put that off until later. Don’t forget to wipe the sink clean. Then pick up the bathroom floor, toss the trash, and put the laundry in the laundry room.

The most public parts of your home are picked up now.  If someone drops by, you won’t be embarrassed by the way your house looks.  You deserve to take a couple of minutes and take a break. You deserve it.


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Lifestyles of the Clean and Tidy

Lifestyles of the Clean and Tidy

Building New Habits

Clutter does not have to become a way of life. Some basic lifestyle changes will help you keep your house from getting out of hand. These changes aren’t too hard. They are also good candidates for a New Years’ resolution, if you need one. But you don’t have to wait till the New Year to start. Any Monday is a good time, just like Monday is a good time to start a diet. The point is to start. Here is a new routine that should help keep the clutter down in your home.

To get into a new habit takes a while. If you are trying to break a bad habit, it helps to replace that bad habit with a good habit. You have to do a new activity or action for 40 days consistently before it starts to feel natural. That’s why some people try to give up a bad habit during the 40 days of Lent. By the time that season is over, an old habit has less of a hold on you. You don’t need to make decluttering a part of your religion, however. Just choose a length of time to really stick to your new habits. One month is a good beginning. And hopefully a new habit has taken its place.

Reward yourself for sticking to your new routine by doing something nice for yourself when you are successful. You don’t really have to be 100% successful for the entire 40 days before you get a reward, also. And you don’t have to be perfect in your new routine to get a reward. You only have to do better.

Rewards can be something as tiny as a cookie and a cup of coffee during a break, or something as big as that new piece of furniture you’ve wanted at the end of a successful 40 days of following this routine. But if you buy something to bring into your house, be sure you have a space for it. Shelves and cabinets of some sort are a great reward, and help to keep you clutter-free, as well.

A new routine

The rule to your new routine is to put things away, right after you use them. Sounds simple, doesn’t it. But if it was simple, you would have been doing it all along, and the clutter wouldn’t have built up in your house.

The first thing to do each day is make your bed. If your bed is made, the majority of your bedroom will look cleaned and tidied. I know you don’t want to, but do it anyway. You’ll be happier with the way your house looks in the long run. And remember, it takes a while to build new habits. Next, pile those dirty clothes lying on the bedroom floor into you laundry hamper. Yes, they are supposed to be in the hamper already, but they just don’t always make it there. Not to worry. Just take your filled laundry hamper with its dirty clothing into your laundry room or area, start a load, and shut the door. Your floor in the bedroom is probably clear now. If not, finish putting shoes, etc. in the closet and shut that door, as well. If this sounds like to much to deal with first thing in the morning, put your clothes in the hamper at night before bed, and put your shoes in the closet, as well. This whole activity doesn’t really take that long, and your bedroom looks clean as a result.

The next rooms a person tends to go to is the bathroom. Once you are done with your daily hygiene routine, take a minute or two to put those items back where they belong. Makeup can go back in the drawer, and other hygiene items back in the medicine cabinet.

Next, grab those dirty clothes and towels and put them in the hamper.  Your next decision will be about whether or not you have time to wipe surfaces down and/or wipe off the mirror. Those disinfecting wipes you can buy at the local grocery store are great for this. You now have clean, disinfected surfaces in the bathroom. You might need to save cleaning the mirror for later. But definitely be sure there is not left over toothpaste spit into your sink. It sets up like concrete and is much harder to clean later. But for now, you have a clear floor and the surfaces of your bathroom are uncluttered. Close the shower door or curtain to hide any issues there.

Kitchen Clutter

First, get that cup of coffee or tea started. While it brews, make your breakfast. Once you are done eating, clean up after yourself. Do it right away, don’t put it off. Dishes go in the dishwasher. You can put dishes in the sink only if you don’t have a dishwasher.  Rinse them off first, of course. Take a moment to clear counter surfaces of any clutter that might have accumulated. Take a moment to put breakfast items away, coffee containers up, and cereal away. Any other dirty dishes you’ve made or found can go in the dishwasher, as well. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash the dishes you created right away. Leave them in the sink in a drainer to dry. By this point, most of us will need to be on our way to work or school. Be proud, because you haven’t let daily household clutter win today.


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Where do I start

Where do I start

Where do I Start?

There are lots of great ideas and rationales for starting a deep cleaning and decluttering of your house. Two theories are consistently used to tart a decluttering project. Just remember, it doesn’t matter which one you choose, or if you come up with your own idea. Just pick a spot and begin to declutter.

Theory Number One

Theory number one is to start your decluttering project on a part of the house that will be seen most frequently by you or by the people who come to your home. I f you spend most of your time in the kitchen, start there. ON the other hand, if you like to spend time in your living room or family room, start your serious decluttering activity there. When you are done decluttering that room you entertaining area is ready for visitors. You and your visitors will be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor, which is a very encouraging feeling.

Theory Number Two

The second way to start a decluttering project is to start at the messiest place and work from there. For instance, if you have a spare room that has turned into a dumping ground for odds and ends of projects, start there. Or if everyone likes to have out in the living room, and bring their belongings and projects with them, you might start there. Lots of people start in their bedrooms. Bedrooms can be used as storage units. This might be because people tend to close their bedroom doors and avoid the issue of cleaning the room, since it isn’t always a high traffic area in the home.

If you are a collector, pack rat, or haven’t uncluttered in a while, you may feel overwhelmed at the amount of junk you have collected. Just remember that there is no perfect place to start a decluttering project. Pick a place and go for it.

Pick it and Stick to it

Once you have decided where to start your decluttering adventure, stick to it. For perfectionists as well as many others, the project may feel overwhelming. You might be tempted to stop before you start, especially if you have to clear up lots of clutter.

Break the project into smaller tasks. If you are very uncomfortable or overwhelmed, break the project into tiny task. For instance, all you may be able to deal with is one drawer at a time. Take that drawer, dump it on the floor or a table, and start to go through the stuff. Have your garbage bag handy, and use it often. Then put back only the items you really need or want. If you have duplicates of an item, throw it away. If you feel like you are wasting stuff, you probably are.

People who have clutter have duplicates of many items. This is because they couldn’t find, for example, the masking tape. They had to run out and buy more for a project.  Of course, later they find that roll of tape, plus usually several others. You could organize your tape and keep it all. You could keep some of a duplicated item and throw the rest away. Or you can donate duplicates of items you find while decluttering. One thing that really helps you clean out that space is a box for donations. You have a perfectly good item that you just don’t want or don’t have room to store. Donate it to a thrift store or shelter. That way the item is out of your house, and may be helpful to someone else who might have a use for it.

The Timer Method

Another way to break a huge decluttering job down to reasonable tasks is to set a timer for a specific amount of time. While the clock is ticking, sort and toss your chosen area with vigor. When the timer goes off, you get a break. Start with a small amount of time if you really have trouble decluttering. You’d be amazed at how much you can get done in 15 minutes. If you discover that you become inspired by the amount you can accomplish in 15 minutes, you might want to do another round of decluttering. Or you can be finished for the day. Either way, you have accomplished something and are a bit more organized than you were. Reward yourself by enjoying the look of that empty shelf or organized drawer. Then have a bit of a rest if you’d like.

You may choose a longer time period to declutter. If you can, clean and organize for an hour. Then give yourself a nice break or rest. If you keep this pattern going all day, you will be amazed at how much you can get done. But even if you only declutter for an hour every day, your house will be organized in no time. Try to pick an area that can be finished in an hour. This will give you an amazing sense of accomplishment. But even if you only declutter for a few minutes per day, you will improve the organization of your home and feel more organized in other areas of your life, as well.


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