Continue To De-Clutter Those Areas That Catch It all, Throughout The Year

As we entered into a new year, I posted about some ideas of clearing out;  in particularly, the bathroom,help-me bedroom and playroom. There are a few more areas of the house I’d like to touch on now, for you to continue on your organizing journey throughout this year and beyond!

           Does Your Office Desk Turn Into A Catch-All?

officeI have certainly helped clear clutter off more than one desk in my day! It seems that so often, the desk is a catch all space for unopened mail, lost papers, homework, children’s artwork, bills, tools, tape; I could go on and on. For some, it becomes one giant junk drawer!

You have to be very intentional in your office space, especially if it is work space, that you hope to get anything accomplished!  The mental chaos of constant disorganization and clutter can actually be debilitating and cause extreme anxiousness.

In addition to organizing, I’m also passionate about our health, and alternative ways to keep it. I love essential oils, and how powerful they can be. I deal with many people that have extreme anxiety. I truly believe a lot of it is caused by our physical environments being in a constant state of craziness, business and absolute chaos!

I’ve put together a list of things that may be in the office, or on your desk, that need to be sorted through, thrown away, donated, or recycled.

  • Books you’ll never read again. I know. I know. It’s tough to get rid of books. Keep a reference section for those books you refer to for help (like a Dictionary,) but donate the rest. Trust me, someone else needs to read it instead of it collecting dust on your shelf.
  • Old address labels. You know the ones I mean. They came free in that charity envelope. You want to use them; it’s neat that they have your printed name…but you never remember to, and you can’t find them when needed. Toss ’em.
  • Unknown keys. Seriously. Where do these come from. I know I’m not the only one, I’ve cleared them fromkeys-pile other people’s desks as well.  They must go to something. That’s always the fear. Check all your locks. If you still have some, maybe it’s to your mother’s or child’s home. If not…garbage!
  • Old warranty manuals. If these aren’t in a file, they need to be. But, go through that file and discard any manuals to appliances that have broken or been replaced, or anything that you no longer own. I know you have some. We all do.
  • Old school papers. Another toughie. Here’s the plan: make a file for each kiddo. File the precious papers as they come home. As the file gets too full, keep the outstanding ones and cull the rest. Keep the ones that required extra work, or marked a milestone. Keep a record from each class. Maybe two or three samples. Then, keep it from each grade. You may have a file box at the end of High School, but it has everything in one spot. We home school, and this is how I stay sane.
  • Filled notebooks. Add them to your library reference section, or throw them away!
  • Expired coupons. Enough said.
  • Outdated electronics, outdated software, and old phone cords and chargers. With the way technology is moving so quickly; it’s hard to keep up. And the answer is NO. You won’t use it again.
  • Old magazines. Donate them to the library or school art program. They love that kind of stuff!
  • Shred all old receipts. While you’re at it, really analyze why you keep the receipts you do, and do you do anything with them?
  • Dried out pens and markers, dead pencils with no erasers or so short you get a paper burn every time you use it.mail-organizer

After the great cleanse in the office, try to find some ways to get it organized. I’ll post more on this later, but for now, put those pens and pencils in an organized fashion standing up (I’m thinking a good use for your over-abundance of coffee mugs). An inexpensive paper organizer is great and maybe something for in and outgoing mail. We’ll talk more about this soon!

Clean Out That Garage And Basement!

garageOther areas of the home that tend to get everything thrown into them; are the garage and basement. Especially if they are never really organized, and things do not have a place to go. It is so easy to think “out of sight, out of mind.”

But what is really incredible, is when you can actually use the space in this two areas, efficiently and effectively! You might even be able to get rid of that extra storage unit! Yay!! Let’s make that a goal!

Proper shelving, cabinetry, and storage, really helps in these areas. We have three portable metal cabinetry units, so we can move them where needed as our circumstances change, and at times; even our home. they can be used in the garage, for tools, for craft items or anything you might need. In the basement, for sports equipment, tools, and extra cellar type space. Currently, we have one set up as an apothecary, for all the DIY Chemical Free products I make with essential oils. It’s in our garage!basement

At one point in our lives, we had just moved into an apartment. We had no storage; not even a dresser. We knew the situation was temporary, so we didn’t want to invest a lot in shelving and storage; that may not fit the next home. So…we made cubicals out of the moving boxes! We put all the things we needed to in them. It actually worked great, and we were able to keep things in order, without losing our minds!

A few things to de-clutter in the garage or basement space of your home:

  • Old paint (it doesn’t last forever).
  • Outgrown bikes. Donate them to local charity to pass onto someone who doesn’t have a bike!
  • Old outside toys. They tend to get trashed easily, as the weather is hard on them. If they’re broken and unusable, just go ahead; throw them away.
  • Old sports equipment. Has Little Johnny moved out of baseball and on to football? You get the idea.
  • Broken tools. Just plain dangerous.
  • Old rags. Yes, even rags DO get worn out.
  • Unused holiday items and home decorations. Both the garage and basement tend to be storage areas for these. During the “off-season” is the best time to really do a thorough purge of items that are no longer used. Good rule of thumb: If you didn’t use it this year, or even last year (when you changed things ups a bit) time to let it go. One great way to do this; especially if sentimentality is involved. Make up a box for each child, or perhaps a close family member of these heirlooms you hold dear.

Just A Few More Things…newspapers

Old cleaners, old newspapers, old detergents, expired batteries, unused craft supplies, and stored collectibles; all fit into the miscellaneous category, and could be about anywhere in the house. Find them. Analyze them. Discard them.

I hope these lists help you find ways to go through these rooms and simply get rid of some extra clutter and chaos that may be weighing you down. Please comment below and let me know what helps! I’d love to answer any questions you may have. Please share this post to help people you love get on this organization journey with us!

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Shelli Thomas


  1. I enjoy a good de clutter. I recently just did one to make my working area at home more suitable for me. One think I did not think of using was essential oils. What oils do you recommend for stress relief?

    • Hello! thank you for the wonderful question. I love to talk oils. Stress relief is a broad area. I often ask, what is causing the stress? Is it overall anxiety, or just a need to calm and relax? I have several oils and make rollerball blends to help with all of the above. Lavender and Roman Chamomile are both excellent to calm and relax. Be aware though***not all essential oils are created equal. You can buy them almost anywhere nowadays. By regulation, they only need to be 3% of what the bottle is labeled. the remainder can be any type of carrier oil. Even when it says 100% pure essential oil, this can still be the case, as any oil from plant qualifies as an essential oil. Olive, sesame, coconut, etc. So make sure you get 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. You can check out what I use here: http://www.mydoterra.com/shellithomas Let me know what the root of the stress is, and I can recommend particular oils or blends for you!

  2. This article is so perfect for timing. I did exactly as you suggested in December-some de-cluttering. I did however miss a few cleans and thanks to your article, I am able to go back and finish it properly. It is amazing the difference it makes, and I am sure someone will appreciate all the tuff I took to Salvation Army.

    • Yes Brad! Someone else will benefit, as well as you. I’m thrilled to hear I’ve motivated you to finish the job. It really is liberating to not be bogged down with all of the clutter and chaos. I hope you will keep organizing your life and let me know what you tackle next!

  3. A great reminder. I should spend some time to clear my spaces. My office looks alright most of the time but around the house and the bedroom could use some clearing 🙂
    How do you find the spare time to do all the clearing? My life is full of work time and when finished working I am tired and don’t like to clean the house.

    • Thank you for the comment and question! I have found that if you have things organized, and have a place foe everything to go, then it SAVES time! It’s really much easier to grab something, when you know right where it is, that take the time to find it in clutter and chaos. I recommend that you take some time to get things in their proper place up front. then I think you’ll find that maintaining it is much easier! Check out some of my other posts, about clearing out the bedroom etc. Please come back and let me know how you start your journey of organizing your life!

  4. My organizational style is “stacks”! Everything is organized into a stack – bills, to-do’s, to-file’s, etc… how do I keep things organized but accessible?

    • Hi Amy! You fit into my category of a “Piler”. I know your type of reasoning. You want everything right there, so you can find it when you need it. I suggest getting individual paper slots for your piles. Even magazine holders; you know the cardboard type that stand up? They work great for keeping things visible and accessible, yet in an orderly manner. Also, I would recommend you do the to-dos’s as they arrive. Pay bills and file stubs, make calls as needed, etc. If you keep up on each task, it eliminates the need to make a file to do it! Thanks for the great question. I hope this helps. Please come back and let me know how it goes!

  5. I am glad to find good methods to organize my office desk from your article.
    There are many good tips.
    I am going to clean them.
    Thank you.

    • Thank you for your comment! I’m glad to hear you like and will apply some of my ideas to help organize your life. I plan to continue writing about ways to keep organizing, so please return to this site to keep learning! Let me know how the desk turns out!

  6. Shelli, great ideas but my husband and I hate to throw away because it fills the landfill and is bad for the environment. Yet, some things just cannot be donated or recycled.id like to see more ideas for repurposing or places to donate that will repurpose.

    • Thank you Billie! Yes, repurposing is fantastic! By donating, you’re doing just that. People who have less, or just have different needs, will use what you are finished with, and it becomes their treasure! Depending on what materials you are throwing away, recycling is also another way that really helps our environment. Do you have recycling available where you live? Here in Montana, it has just become available at our local dumpster areas. I do plan to write more about repurposing as we organize our lives. Thank you!

  7. Thank you Shelli! I love reading these articles. I want so badly to de-cludder my house! So I can be stress free ok almost stress free.

    • I’m thrilled that you are enjoy my website! Thank you so much for visiting here. I love that you’re getting excited to clear the clutter and chaos. It will really help alleviate alot of stress, save time, and save money!

  8. We need major decluttering over here. The desk is a major catch all. The dining room table too. I’ve been slowly getting rid of stuff clandestinely as the rest of the family are bunch of hoarders. The children love to save things for “projects.”

    • It can be a challenge, when everyone isn’t on the same page. It will take alot of educating and reasoning, if they are hoarding. But my hope is, if you provide a place for them to keep their treasures organized, they will appreciate being able to find things when they are ready to start the project! Thank you so much for commenting, and please visit again and let me know how it goes! Will you start with the desk?

  9. Hi Shelli great article :).
    When I read this , that let me think that I have so many things at home, that I never use. My attic is a really mess. I really need to clean it up, You explained everything very well. Will follow your blog , it is verry interesting. thank you very much.

    • That’s great Damien. I’m glad you’ll start the organizing process and take this journey with us. Thank you for the comment and keep coming back to get more ideas. Did you look at any of my other posts for tips?

  10. Thanks for this post Shelli!! I REALLY need to start doing some de-cluttering around my house because those pictures are a complete opposite to what I see everyday. I’ll am definitely going to utilize your tips!

    • Thank you for stopping by! I’m glad to hear you are inspired by the photos of an organized life. Just take it little by little and you’ll work toward your goals. It will really save you time in the long run. Please come back and learn more tips and tricks for your new organization journey!

  11. Hello Shelli,
    Thanks so much for the insights. What you’ve taught me is different from the norm and a much easier way for doing things. Looking forward to learning more.

    • I’m so glad it’s helped you to get your life organized! thank you so much for the comment. Keep visiting back, as I will continue to share easy steps to take on your organizational journey!

  12. I would have to agree that getting rid of books seems like one of the best things I can possibly do, but I can’t seem to find a place to donate the darn things! I am moving soon and they are so heavy and I don’t want to move them, but the local library won’t take them and neither will any of the reselling shops. Any recommendations on where to donate them?

    • Do you have a Salvation Army, or a similar donation station? Or is that what you’re talking about that won’t take books? One idea would be to list them on-line, on a local yard sale, buy and sell, Craig’s List or the similar. If you sell at a low price, people love a great deal and you might make a little extra cash! You can also give away on these sites. Let me know if that works for you!

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