Things I learned from my de-cluttering homework

Isn’t that nice?

Nadine at Jugglemum has me under her charge this next few weeks. I was lucky enough to be picked to be her case study for her Cybermummy2011 session about striking a blog-life balance.

I don’t think she was terribly impressed by my first attempt to do as I was told. At first she asked me to make a note of my work, blogging, chaos and thoughts thereof. I was supposed to do something every day and

An improved view from my desk

Boy Three helps me tidy up

¬†write it down. Instead, I wrote a jumbled and garbled email at the very last minute of the last day. But the subtext was clear – Nadine, save me. I’m drowning in stuff and there’s never enough time to do all the things I have to and some of the things I want to.

Her next lot of homework I’m pleased to say I’m halfway through. She told me to declutter my desk. It was full of potentially-organised baskets of stuff and quite a few heaps, piles and some mountains. Ta-da I did it this morning and here’s what I learned.

Specs must lose their shells like snakes lose their skins. I found three empty glasses cases… four if you count the one that held the pair I was wearing.

Just some of the stuff – includes three tubes of glue

Wishful thinking drives purchases. I found several calming and soothing unguents and lotions, some remedy drops, a scented candle and some nasty smelling organic oil. I suppose eventually I might find the magical product that affords me calm, serenity and order, but in the meantime I find that gin ensures I don’t care.

You can have enough staples. Three boxes full and I can’t remember the last time I had occasion to staple anything,

Who makes a mess like this?

Half-finished notebooks are an issue. To date, my notebook pile contains 14. Oh and while I’m there, it’s time to get my head round the fact I can no longer read my own shorthand… Hello Dictophone.

How it looked before I started

Nadine was right after all. She told me not to keep all those just-in-case things that fill my life. I was thinking that maybe she wasn’t so smart after all when I used an empty fancy tea tin to store all those staples. Or at least, I did think that until the ever helpful Boy Three decided to investigate and scattered staples far and wide. Nadine was right and the whole lot went in the bin apart from one small box of staples.

De-cluttering is viral. One small session of desk tidying and I was hooked. I went through my pending underwear collection and got rid of all the bras that – thanks to something permanent Boy Three did to my rib-cage – I will never be comfortable in again. Goodbye dainty, lacy things.

I’m allowed to accept I will never file things. Yes, I am. I’m 43 and I don’t file. I’m going to go through my to-be-filed-at-some-fantasy-future-date box, take out important things and put the rest in a box with the date on it. Hurrah, thanks N.

And for my next homework trick, the end of the Skype shame…. tune in next time.

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  1. says

    Wow, I'm impressed Ellen!
    The 'after' photos of your desk make me feel like a proud mum! How calm does it make you feel to have all the mess and clutter gone?
    I especially love how addictive it was- throwing the staples away and going at the bra drawer!
    Well done- I can't wait to see what happens with the Skype homework!

  2. says

    Thanks Nadine. I'll report back about calmness later. Moments after I finished tidy-up I got a call from one of the places I work to see if I could get in quick-sharp.

  3. says

    S, I'm still sitting in the kitchen I don't want to spoil the loveliness. Although Boy Three did get investigate the pen holder and tipped out the contents.

  4. Anonymous says

    Hmm, love the idea that you spend your time in the kitchen so you don't mess up your desk!! So when does de-cluttering move into the kitchen, or anywhere else?
    The 'don't do filing' thing might be my fault – it's something I share, I'm afraid! Oh well.

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