Friday, July 17, 2015

34 Weeks of Clean! Week 29 - The Office (Paperwork and Bills)

Welcome back to 34 Weeks of Clean!  We are nearing the end of our series and by now you should be feeling really good about your homes.  One week at a time, we have been on a mission to take back our homes!  If you are just finding us, it is still not to late to get started.  Just pick a room, set a timer for 15 minutes if that is all you have and go!  If you do that each day, you WILL see results. 

Slow and steady wins the race, promise!

It is not by coincidence that I saved the "Office" for next to last.  Or that I will be breaking it down for you in three week assignments. This is a hard place for me.   Obviously!

The sad thing is that this is not even in a room by itself where I can shut the doors and pretend it doesn't exist.  Our current home does not have a separate office room and so this desk sits right in the middle of our downstairs family room.  Nice, huh?  In my defense it starts out relatively clean on Monday, but by the end of the week, between two boys using it for school, everyone using the printer and all of us being lazy, it usually looks pretty rough by Friday.

It has been brought to my attention that we are fighting three problems really-




Here is how we are currently dealing with those issues.

Laziness.  We have, all of us,  got to commit to finishing what we start.  That includes if you take something out, you put it up.  Sadly, the kids are not the only ones guilty of this.  This summer we are working on character training and yes, diligence is up at the top of our list!

Too much stuff.  Well, by now you know that I like to throw things away!  I went through this desk and the shoe holder I use as an organizer and got rid of extras.  Notice I said extras, not just what we did not need I think- there is a difference.  Yes, we need pens,  No we do not need 200 of them.  I seriously went through this whole house on a war path against pens and threw every last one of them away that did not fit my fancy.  The reality is I have never had to throw a pen away because it actually ran out of ink.  Do they even do that?  The other reality is that when I go to use a pen I seek out one of two kinds, ignoring the rest.  So those two kind stayed and the rest went out, with the exception of highlighters and pencils that we use for homeschooling.  Bye bye motel and business pens!  If I need your number I will look you up in the phone book.

Not having homes for everything.  I read in my Kathi Lipp book that one of the problems with organizing is that if something does not have a home, it just gets rearranged daily.  Yep!  Guilty! And paperwork seems to be one of those areas for me.  I am working to change that.  My new war cry is EVERYTHING. HAS. A HOME!  The kids are loving it.  NOT!  If something does not have a home, a place that it goes every single time, then we either find it a home or it goes out the door.  It is amazing what that simple little task will do for you.  Try it- go around your house one room at a time and anything that is sitting out, ask yourself, where does this belong?  If you do not have a home for it- find one.  Now! Or move it out.

We are going to divide the "office" into several weeks for sanity sake.  

This week then is all of that paperwork and the bills/filing system since for me, is where my clutter typically comes from.

For this job, go on and get a large trash bag out.  I am guessing you will probably need it. 

I will also introduce you to one of my favorite office supplies-

Yes, the paper shredder.  A wonderful invention!

Here we go!
  • Go through the stacks of papers you have sitting out!  This is everything from bills to receipts to flyers.  Whatever paper you have just sitting around.  Make three piles-
          Throw away
          Move somewhere else (the paper, not you!)

Your goal is to organize now, we will put it where it belongs later.

Don't judge
  • Now do the same thing with any paperwork or files you may have hidden in the recesses of your desk.  Or sitting anywhere else they do not belong. (Kitchen counter, anyone?)
  • Once you have left only what you need to keep- establish a system for filing and stick to it!  Here is where I made some changes, since my current system was obviously not working for me.  

Again using Kathi Lipp's idea from her amazing book Clutter Free, I established a daily file box to keep things in.  You can read all about it in her book, but the premise is that you have a specific place to house paperwork and such until you can address it.  You see, our office is downstairs.  Our kitchen counter is upstairs.  Hence the problem.  When the mail comes in, (bills, coupons, flyers, magazines, correspondence) it all gets stuck on my kitchen counter top, which drives me crazy.  Now, I sort it into my filing system, which also holds my calendar, so daily I can take a quick glance at the days file and handle any pressing needs, and then weekly, I can do any paperwork I need to.  There is a tab for each day of the month, as well as a file for each month of the year.  There are also extra tabs for coupons, recipes and more. You personalize it to make it work for you!  Love it!

Yes, I realize there is still much work to be done in the office, trust me we will get there!  But for this week your goal is to move through all the paperwork, get rid of the old you no longer need to keep, and organize what you need to.  I KNOW it is a monumental task for some, it was for me, but we can do this.  Once again, if you need to- set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes a day, work until the buzzer rings and then repeat the next day.  You might be surprised at how far you get in 7 days!

This week Kemi, from Homemaking Organized has a great printable to help you get organized.  Go check it out- it's FREE!

Week 28- The School Room

Week 30- The Computer

Speaking of how far you got- how did you do last week?  Let's see those school rooms!



  1. Seriously thank you for breaking it down. Even that probably won't be enough to get through our clutter though. Such a hard place to deal with :)

    1. You are welcome! And yes, it is one of my trouble spots for sure!

  2. I'm glad it's going to be a three week project, because my desk is usually a disaster. I got my school stuff pretty much done this week, so that was a big help.

    1. Mine too as you can see! I organized all of our school stuff, but I have been putting off the new school year planning!

  3. I like how you used an over the door shoe organizer for supplies. I'm don't think I have a place where I could use one of those right now, since we still have young children, who need to have supplies kept out of their reach /sight.

    1. Saw it on Pinterest, shh- don't tell, and have used it since. One house it was on the back of our hall closet door and this house it reside on the back of the storage room door. Just put kid friendly supplies on the bottom and mom supplies at the top!


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