(Note: This post may contain affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you use my links to purchase a product but your purchase price does not change. I only recommend products that I believe in and want to share. Check out the disclosure policy to find out more. Thank you for supporting My Joy in Chaos.)
I’ve gotten real, quality work done this week because the desk was clean! I could have probably been so productive this summer if I had simply cleaned it off earlier. It’s making me look around the house and find places that are causing me to put off other tasks. Did you discover anything surprising on your desk?
If you are just joining us, here’s the deal:
I still had this mindset of decluttering being a big ol’ chore up until a few months ago when I read this fantastic post from Nony at A Slob Comes Clean. It was like a huge light went off in my brain! Decluttering is simply the act of getting rid of what doesn’t belong, isn’t needed, or belongs in the trash. It doesn’t mean buying a whole slew of new bins for your things to go in or coming up with some type of system that you hope will change your life – that’s organizing. It’s a whole different ball game. Right now, I’m in the game of decluttering. I just want things GONE.
When there’s less stuff, especially less of what has no purpose in your home anymore, organizing can often happen naturally. You won’t be cramming thirty towels into the closet because you only need ten and they fit nicely. You don’t need to dig through a tub of medicines to find what you need only to keep coming across bottles that are long since expired.
Here’s my challenge: Each week, take on ONE area of your home. I’ve already made the list for you so that part is done. Go to the area, throw away trash, put items that you no longer need but are still in good condition into a donation box, and put other items where they belong. Simple!
You can read more about the challenge on the week one post.
Week 34: Office Paperwork
For office paperwork I figured the place I needed to take on the most is the bag I use for MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers). I’ve been on leadership for the past seven years and I’ve had this bag for at least five of them. I honestly don’t know the last time I cleaned it out. At the end of every year I throw it in my closet until it’s time to dig it out again for another year. I knew this was going to be interesting!
The best place to start in a situation like this is to spread it all out. I made piles on my table for categories so I could better see what I was dealing with. And yes, that’s a camera manual in my MOPS bag. Why? Because it was in a pocket of a breast pump that I gave to a friend at MOPS and when we discovered it I threw it in the bag. And there it stayed. All of this had purpose at one point but most of it doesn’t anymore, at least not for the current year.
Here’s my garbage pile. Lots of old papers from previous years. I don’t need itineraries from meetings two years ago. I don’t need crumpled Christmas cards. And I certainly don’t need business cards for our group from five years ago when we were under a different name at a different church! Like I said, I don’t remember the last time I cleaned this out.
These are all the items that needed new homes. DVD went to our movie closet, markers found their way back to my marker drawer, dice container to the game closet, camera manual to the drawer where we keep manuals, candy to candy jar, and devotional books to the free book table at our church. I figured others would be blessed by those as much as I was wnen I used them!
What’s left in my bag? A stash of nametags that we use at the meetings, my clipboard for keeping track of attendance and paperwork, notebook for taking notes at leadership meetings and monthly MOPS meetings, and our card reader for collecting dues from members (I’m the finance chair this year). The Target bag had a few onesies that I gave to our hospitality coordinator to use as new baby gifts so those aren’t in the bag anymore.
My bag was cleaned out for a whole two weeks! And then I was given the mega finance binder for my new position which took up most of the bag. BUT! If I hadn’t cleaned out the bag to begin with I would have never been able to fit the binder in my bag. And it’s not clutter, just a really big binder. I’m ready to take on another MOPS year with my cleaned out bag!
What office paperwork did you find to clear out? Did you happen to find any paperwork that you thought was missing (I’ve had that happen)? Where did you find places to put this paperwork or was most of it able to be tossed?
Share a picture in the comments or on social media with the hashtag #clutterbusterchallenge of what you found to declutter.
Come back next week for week 22 to clean off the bathroom shelves. I use our bathroom shelves to hold most of the beauty products but there are also other random items that get set there so I’m sure I’ll find more to toss out.
If you are looking for a better way of keeping on top of your homemaking tasks now that you are steamrolling through all this decluttering you might be interested in a new course from Humorous Homemaking. Home Management How To: A Guide to Daily Success is open now! I’ve got a post about my experience with this course here but this is a great course for you to take control of all the household tasks in a way that is tailored specifically to your family and life.