The Beauty of a Clean Desk

July 7, 2011

Guess what? I finished cleaning my desk a week before I expected to!

I was on a roll this weekend and COULD NOT BE STOPPED. Thanks to an understanding husband, I was able to work over 8 hours this weekend on my hot mess of a desk. Dang, it feels good.

All of my dolls are organized and my shelves are sparkling clean!

They serve a purpose again! They’re not catchalls for things Cooper shouldn’t get into anymore.

I hung up the word SIMPLIFY on the shelf as a constant reminder of my goal.

Remember that pile of garbage on the right? GONE! My scanner is put away (I don’t use it that often) and my broken-beyond- repair printer that I loaded things on top of is ready to be e-cycled.

On top of my cabinet, I have a little section for papers & pens now. I recovered the pen container that Cooper drew all over with a new piece of paper. It made me feel good that it has a “fresh start.” All of my notepads, stickies & post-its are within arms reach now and there’s also a dedicated section for where I charge my cellphone and I’m super happy about that.

Let’s take a look at the insides of the cabinet. They’re dramatic!

Here’s DRAWER 1:

And what’s inside of it? OFFICE SUPPLIES. I know where everything is now. Post-its, paperclips, paper, stapler, YOU NAME IT. Let’s see if I can fend off the grubby hands of a super curious 3 year old boy… He’s already gotten into this drawer twice!

Here’s DRAWER 2:

Nail polish in tupperware, batteries, important cables, blank cds & dvds live in this drawer.

Here’s DRAWER 3:

Cooper’s drawer! Filled with art supplies and activities for us to work on in the future.

So how did I get to this point? A LOT OF WORK.

This is how I “organized” myself:

I tackled one thing at a time.

I went through every little part of my office and sorted things into piles:









-TO ASK MY HUSBAND ABOUT(everything went in a box for him to look through)

During my sorting I looked at the One Bite at a Time e-book  I downloaded from Simple Mom and was relieved when I saw this quote. It was exactly what I needed while I was looking through piles of buttons, pens, papers and office supplies.

While I was taking a break after hour 5 of working, I saw this:

Gretchen Rubin (writer of The Happiness Project) also kept me going with her tweet!

I was DEEP in mess by the afternoon.

One of the most OVERDUE chores was sorting through my pens. Many of them don’t work anymore because SOMEONE forgets to put the caps back on… It was good to reduce the stress of using pens that don’t work. This is a big deal, believe me.

Let me tell you…IT WASN’T pretty. Many times I wanted to just walk away and shut the door.

I almost thought about stopping and picking up another day but I powered through. I had to!

Now I have this clean desk and life is good! No clutter with a lot less paper.

I was even able to do a craft project (which I quickly cleaned up) on my desk today.

There you have it. The beauty of a clean desk. It makes such a difference, doesn’t it?




44 comments on “The Beauty of a Clean Desk

  1. Belle Dec 7, 2011

    Ahhh, Tracy! This is so motivating! Go, you!

  2. This is such an inspiring post!! Ever since I started my grad program part-time 3 years ago, my office has been labeled a hazardous waste zone (I think my stapler is here somewhere…). I promised myself that when I was done, I would make it a personal goal to get my office squared away before New Year’s so that I can start 2012 off with a (literally) clean slate. Now that I am one week (!!!) away from finally finishing my degree, I was starting to dread my promise – until I read your two posts about cleaning your desk! I’ll definitely be printing out your sorting list and use it to tackle this mess. Thanks for the motivation to get ‘er done!

    • YOU CAN DO IT!!! You should totally send before & after photos!!

  3. DAYUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DAYUM. DAYUM. DAYUM. a week early?! amazing.

    you go girl! thank you for the inspiration.

  4. Great job Tracy!! It looks wonderful and must feel great to step in there and it look so nice.

    • It does. Weird fact: I just stare at my desk sometimes just cuz..

  5. This series has totally got me into tackling our clutter. I’ve cleaned out the lazy Susan, I tidied up the shelving unit by the front door, and I’m about to attack our cookbook book shelf, which is now a dump it all station and needs to be remedied. Thanks!

  6. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I needed to read that tweet right now. I am currently cleaning/organizing/rearranging my kid’s room, and man, I feel like it keeps getting messier the longer I am in there. I can’t wait to be done.

  7. CobyLyn Dec 7, 2011

    AMAZING!! GOOD JOB!! I started reorganizing and cleaning my craft room on Saturday (hubster calls it the Crap Room) and didn’t finish that night. And then got distracted on Sunday :( I SO want to get it all organized so I can start making beautiful things to sell!!

  8. CobyLyn Dec 7, 2011

    PS: LOVE the color of your office walls and your curtains! :)

  9. I TOTALLY did the same thing. Gave myself the entire month of October (yeah, it was THAT bad) and finished with a week to spare. So, it’s been a good 7+ weeks – and it’s still clean! Neat? Yeah, neat too. I could use more desk space, but there’s an I-wont’-get-into-it design detail in our entire apartment that prevents ANY piece of furniture from going up directly against the wall. Hence desk options being limited. Whatever. It feel good that it’s clean and organized. Congrats – you must feel neater and cleaner, too.

  10. Wow! You are an inspiration to hot messes everywhere.

  11. Tracy, 100% important, serious question here. I want that adorable elephant quote on a super-fun print to frame and hang in my ridiculous mess of an office. I need it! Will pay big for it! Just sayin’… *waves bills*

  12. Amanda Barkey Dec 7, 2011

    Loves it! Wish we had room in our place for a home office- yours is inspiring!!! I love that on one of the days on your calander it just says ‘Lemoncello’ and on the next it says ‘Amaretto’ :) Made me smile :)Good job organizing girl!

  13. I’m wondering what the title of that book is on your shelf that the little dolly is cutting her eyes at??? Did I read that right 😀

    • ummm yes you did! I was wondering if anyone would catch it! they are note cards!

  14. Now we have so much extra room for activities!

  15. Well played! Looks amazing! I smell a craft night coming on…

  16. It looks SO good! And ditto to the “things always get messier before they get neater” !

  17. I just tackled mine yesterday. Had been putting it off for so long. My favourite part is all the wires are now cable-tied in little bundles instead of all over the floor like squid ink pasta. Ps your dolls look sweet all along the top shelf!

  18. Adeline Dec 9, 2011

    I love tidying stories SO MUCH, it makes my stomach feel all happy!
    I’m so impressed by the before-after, it’s a real inspiration!

    My desk/office/room is about 75% tidy but lately I’ve felt I’m leaving in clutter and can’t be bothered using my desk. Those posts have seriously kicked my butt to spend the weekend clearing things out. Thanks Tracy!

  19. Oh well isn’t that just a gorgeous site. One day I will get organized. One day… Love that bulletin board behind your computer. :-)

  20. Yay! It looks FABULOUS! Thanks for the inspiration.

  21. Good job-your desk is beautiful!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Darci Dec 11, 2011

    This is on my Hit List for the upcoming winter break…Thanks for the inspiration. But can I play I Spy with you photos and ask where the labels are from which you did your craft? I so need those asap.

  23. Thanks for the inspiration! Reading gave me the motivation and today I straightened up my desk area and the bathroom closet. Now I have space to write and work on crafts at my desk. And I can finally find things in the closet without everything falling on me first. Looking forward to more straightening ideas!

  24. Your newly organised space looks AWESOME! I am totally using your post for inspiration to help me move. Sorting & getting rid of stuff when packing & then organising nicely into new spaces.
    Hope you are still enjoying all that SPACE!

  25. Sarah R Dec 12, 2011

    Thanks for the inspiration Tracy! So far I’ve tackled two problem areas in my home- both took much less time to take care of than I thought once I finally stopped procrastinating.

  26. Wow! You should be seriously proud of yourself. Give yourself a nice pat on the back. Awesome job! I am normally super organized, but I have spots, too that are crazy. Once the holiday baking gets done and Christmas away, i’m going to reorganize things as well. I want to have a craft drawer for some of this stuff. I never add pretty embelishments like your ribbon and stickers, cause I don’t have that kind of stuff. I throw them away cause I have no where for them to go!

    Awesome ideas. You inspire me, chicky~

  27. Can you please tell me more about those adorable dolls? Where can I get them? Love, love, love them! (I’ve already searched the web…closest I got was Blythe dolls, but they’re only about 2″ tall and not nearly as fab).

  28. Wow, great work, Tracy! I love your dolls–it’s nice to see someone else who has an appreciation for dolls. :) Also, where did you get those white shelves from? I think they just may be the perfect solution for some of my (dis)organizational issues.

    • Tracy Dec 20, 2011

      Thanks Heather! They’re from IKEA. I LOVE THEM!

  29. MARVELOUS. I was going to comment in the awesome FliKr wardrobe post then saw this title….we have a HIDEOUS desk too and I just promised last night to my Hubs I would work on it. UGH. AGAIN.

  30. This is exactly the inspiration I needed today. I am definitely going to tackle my home office this weekend! Thank you, Tracy! You rock! :)

  31. Teresa Finnern Dec 24, 2011

    I am inspired!! I recently painted my bedroom and closet which turned out wonderfully. Then finished the curtains and ran out of steam when it came to finally cleaning off the desk. This is just what I needed!! I’ll try to send pictures!!

  32. o my flippin' goodness Dec 28, 2011

    um…high straightenence, super awesome desks,AND the happiness project???? this is amazing!!!!!

  33. Kevin Oct 12, 2013

    Stuff to ask husband about… Those are some Grado headphones in that bin!

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