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project:simplify • paper clutter, day one

Friday, 18 March 2011

Apparently these Project: Simplify weekly challenges are really going to be two-day challenges in which I procrastinate all week long and then start scrambling Thursday night/Friday morning to get things done.

But no matter. Last night I finally got around to collecting all the paper clutter from around the house and going through it.

In addition to all the obvious clutter on surfaces I posted earlier in the week, I also went through my old desk—

{tidy sewing table on the outside…}

{cluttered disaster on the inside…}


and the secretary desk in the front hallway—

Here is what was staring back at me when I gathered it all together in one place—

I didn’t have a big box to put it all in, as Tsh suggested, so I used my laundry basket. Bonus: I have to finish quickly so I can use the laundry basket for its intended purpose this afternoon.

I couldn’t fit everything into the laundry basket, so I left the magazines & books in their basket…

and put all the stuff from the secretary into the top drawer of the desk.

Altogether it turned out I have more paper clutter than I thought. (I think the fact that most of it was enclosed in drawers I rarely open gave me a false sense of tidiness.) And of course, it isn’t all strictly paper—there are computer cords and pens and ink for the printer and all sorts of other things in there—and it isn’t all strictly clutter—I just need to find a home for the things we need to keep.

I didn’t follow Tsh’s instructions precisely. First of all—I don’t have any empty boxes sitting around that I can use to sort through this stuff. So instead I made piles on the floor roughly corresponding to “this goes back in the desk/secretary,” “figure out a place to put this,” “scan this stuff & then recycle the paper,” and “ask George to deal with this.” I used the recycling tote from our front porch to hold the things that can be recycled, and a kitchen garbage bag for things that can’t.

Some of the things I unearthed as I went through it all include—

spare keys to the houses of people who are no longer our neighbours…

an electrical inspection sticker from work we did six years ago on a house we no longer own…

take-out menus from a city in which we no longer live…

and a safety pin. Which in itself would be unremarkable, except for the two hours I spent in vain looking for a damn safety pin when I was making Zosia’s apron.


By the time I went to bed (quite late!), I was left with—

a much smaller basket of things that need homes…

two small piles of magazines to go through…

one pile of things that need to be scanned…

and two completely empty desks into which I can organize everything.

And that is what is on today’s agenda.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, 18 March 2011 3:58 pm

    It’s probably a good thing we don’t have a lot of drawers and desks…my clutter would be as bad as yours, if not worse. Though I suppose I cheat in this assessment- all of my papers are in boxes in the basement. Ugh, the more I think about it, the more I feel like getting to the basement soon and taking care of that mess.

    Nice job though! What are you going to do with all that empty drawer space?

    • Tuesday, 22 March 2011 9:33 am

      Eventually the space in the desk will hold sewing stuff. But what I need is a week to focus on “yarn/fabric clutter” to get that done, lol.

  2. Jill permalink
    Saturday, 19 March 2011 1:09 pm

    When I was reading through your blog I noticed you made a pile of “stuff George has to deal with.” Now wouldn’t it have been funny if you took everything and just put it into this one pile and walked away!! 😉

  3. Sunday, 27 March 2011 12:36 pm

    We are drowning in paper, I so need to do this!! What a great idea, and the empty drawers are inspiring 🙂

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