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Simplify: Closets, Countertops, & Drawers

We’re halfway through Project Simplify! Feeling better yet? I’m excited about this week’s because it’s the cousin to my arch nemesis, paper clutter. Isn’t the note above hilarious? It’s from contributor Sarah Park‘s daughter. Perhaps she’s on to her.

This week, we’re focusing on closets, countertops, and drawers. Know that one spot in your house where everything is dumped? This week, you can clear it.

Or how about your coat closet where jackets are relegated to the floor because there’s no more hanging room? Now you can set aside time to weed through your collection and box some up for the thrift store.

Do yours kids have a craft station full of dried markers, like mine? Make a plan to cull through the defects and weed through the scrap paper pile.

Whatever’s giving you grief in your home in the department of closets, countertops, or drawers, this week it’s being tackled. Won’t it feel good to get this crossed off your list?

Paper: the beast that spawns

Paper tends to be cause for a lot of clutter in these specific areas, so here’s a few thoughts as you approach your hotspots this week.

Go paperless

Head online to your bill services and select the paperless option. You’ll receive an email when it’s time to pay, which can then obviously be done online. I don’t even know where my checkbook is anymore.

Opt out of junk mail

If you’re in the U.S., there isn’t one main government site to completely eradicate junk mail. Head here to be removed from Direct Mail’s “do not mail” list, though they can’t guarantee complete removal. At least it’s a start.

Head here if you’re in Canada. I’m not sure what’s available for those of you elsewhere, but if you know, please share in the comments below.

For any flier or notice related to an upcoming event, write down necessary info on your calendar, then toss the paper in the recycling bin.


Honestly, Pinterest has changed how and why I keep magazines. So many mags have their photos online, so if it’s a picture of a particular wall color, or if they have a recipe I’d like to try, I first search online. If it’s there, then I pin it.

If I truly love a magazine from cover to cover, I’ll keep it. I’m keeping all my issues of Cottage Living (may my favorite defunct shelter mag rest in peace).

But if I haven’t flipped through the magazine in about six months or so, I usually recycle or donate it.


This is a tricky one, because sometimes you need them, sometimes you don’t.

If they’re for a debit card purchase you know you’re not returning (or some other purchase that would otherwise show up online), toss it in the shred pile. You’ve got a digital record of that purchase, and you can use that to enter it in your budgeting record (we use Pear Budget).

If they’re for a cash purchase, grab the pen and label it with your budget category, then store it near your computer so you can add these to your budget record. After you record it, toss it in the shred box.

If you’re self-employed and the receipts are tax-deductible business expenses, store them somewhere logical and write down as much info on it you think you’ll need. (See below about a nifty receipt-handling tool you can week this week!)

Kids’ creations

There’s absolutely no way I can keep all my kids’ artwork, so some things just have to go. I love the advice to save three things from every age of each kid — one that shows handprint size, one that shows handwriting, and one drawing. Don’t ask me how to possibly decide which of those are the most save-worthy.

But I do love getting rid of stuff, so for me, unless it’s remarkably creative or unique, out it goes. I either stash it back in the scrap paper pile, to be drawn on the other side, I photograph it and store the digital file, it’s kept and reused as gift wrap, or — most commonly — it gets recycled.

I’m a fan of displaying kids’ artwork as unique and frugal home decor. I like framing it, displaying it on the fridge, and pinning artwork from a clothesline on the wall. I know other people take digital photos of artwork, too.

Tax info

I am not a CPA, so please, double-check with a professional who can talk with you if you have specific questions. But according to the IRS website, simple annual tax returns should be kept for a minimum of three years or a comfortable seven years.  If you’re not sure, then plan on keeping them for life. They’re usually a few short pages, and since it holds all your necessary financial information for that year, more than likely you won’t need to keep “extras,” like W2s or 1099s.

Instruction manuals and warranties

I like to scan these things. Quickly scan them, store them as PDF files on a simple CD or hard drive, and then toss the paper.

Even better, you can easily find instruction manuals online for many common electronics and appliances, rendering their storage at home rather pointless.

My plan

We have this lovely dresser in the dining room that serves as our craft station. I refurbished it last year, so it looks great on the outside. The inside, however, is horrendous.

I’m going to show those crayon stubs and dried markers no mercy, and I’m going to make it a lot easier for the kids to find the glue, pipe cleaners, and stencils.

I’m also going to clear one particular countertop in the kitchen that seems to attract paper like white on rice.

And then I’ll clear out our one closet, organize the ski stuff (man, that puffy winter gear takes up a lot of room), and make it a little less scary to open.

Your turn

One participant in this week’s Project Simplify will win a NeatDesk. Seriously! I’ve wanted one forever (we have their smaller NeatReceipts), and it’s already helped us streamline our receipts, notes, and contracts. Helpful, as we’re in the home buying process. I’ll show you how we use it on Friday.

This baby will seriously help you handle the paper clutter in your home. And I’m thrilled that one of you will win it!

Update: See my before and after photos from this week’s hotspot here.

What spots are you targeting this week?

Reading Time:

4 minutes





  1. Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm

    Ooh…our master bedroom closet is the one ‘room’ in our house that hasn’t had a thorough clean-out in the last 2 years. It’s a giant repository of clothes, storage, craft supplies…etc. Tackling it sort of terrifies me, but I guess now is the time!

  2. Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify

    I worked on the countertops last week while we were in the kitchen (Yay, it feels so good to have that done!), so I’m thinking this week I will join you in working on some drawers we use for arts and crafts and kid papers. And maybe the junk drawer in the kitchen, too. The Neat Desk looks…. neato! 🙂

  3. Leah Adamowicz

    I’ve wanted a neat desk forever as well!

  4. Amanda

    This is exactly the project I want to tackle this week! Except I can never narrow things down — I want to do every closet in the house! Fortunately, that’s only three. 🙂 Also, I’ve got two rolls of drawer liner sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be cut and installed.

    The big goal: A yard sale on Saturday to make a little money with all the stuff cluttering up my closets! 🙂

  5. Mrs. Luttrell

    Man I love reading this stuff, it gets me motivated to attack all my mess!

  6. Taloola

    This week I will be targeting bedroom closets. Maybe I’ll be able to finally walk into my walk-in closets!!

  7. Mackenzie

    I will be tackling the closet that is in my daughter’s room. She is a toddler and doesn’t use it yet, so we have just been throwing stuff in there and then shutting the door. The closet is super scary and I’ve been hesitant to tackle it. But, it must be done! 🙂

  8. Ericka Winston

    I am going to focus on my linen closet, my utensil drawers and my desk. It seems that when I cleaned the other areas of the house, my desk got messier.

  9. Ericka Winston

    I am also going to tackle my daughters room…again….

  10. Chris @ CleverFather

    This post turns me on in ways only an organized house can!

    I’m an expert at clearing the counter tops and drawers. The hardest part is keeping the mysterious piles of crap from growing again and again.

    • Kat

      Yes! I love Catalog Choice. It has reduced our junk mail intake so much. The mailman has actually commented about it — we rarely get pointless mail, especially wasteful catalogs.

  11. Encouragement for Homemakers

    I find that keeping the craft area pristine (easier said than done!) encourages the kids to craft and create more. This would create an artwork storage problem, but I have NO problem binning the art before it’s dry. I figure this keeps the focus is on the creation, not the keeping, and it actually means my perfectionist eldest daughter is more comfortable having a go and making mistakes. When she does finally do something she is proud of, if is hung on the wall with great fanfare!

  12. Jessica Wilson

    I plan to tackle the mail area, the craft area, and my desk. I know that might be biting off more than I can chew in a week with 2 year old twins and a 6 and 8 year old, but at least I have vision for myself! 😉

  13. The Accidental Housewife

    Our closet is so full that it’s taken over a room. It’ll take weeks to fix, and probably need a yardsale.
    Most if it is Mr Accidental’s. Actually, it’d probably be easier just to sell him… Going cheap, one devoted husband, good breeding, calm temperament, comes with full accessories. Owners screened for suitability. Contact The Accidental Housewife.

    • Alison

      This is hilarious!

  14. Jessica Wilson

    I am planning to tackle the mail area, the craft area, and my desk.
    I realize I may be biting off more than I can chew, especially with twin 2 year olds in tow and their 6 and 8 year old siblings. However, you can’t fault me for having vision for what I want to accomplish. 😉

  15. Anne Sharma

    New here. I’m working on the cabinet that houses our art supplies. It’s daunting!

  16. Lorain Berkley

    My husband and I had a complete house cleanup last Saturday. Our closet as well as my kid’s took almost half the cleaning time. We don’t know what things to keep and what to throw away. We just ended up putting it all back in our closet. These tips will be very helpful next weekend. Thanks! 🙂

  17. Debra

    I am attacking the kitchen drawer of “everything useful”, stuff that belongs somewhere else but never makes it there. Why is it that we are so limited in drawer space in our kitchens but yet that is the place where everything goes? I am also going to attack the magazines and instruction manuals. Great idea of scanning instruction manuals, this will save a ton of space. Be blessed!

  18. cindy jones

    I’m Ready!! These past two weeks have been very rewarding…..areas that are cleaner, neater, and organized……Yard Sale Items:)
    Your book is awesome too….got it first of last week.

  19. daisy

    I was planning on putting all of our appliance booklets in binders, but now am rethinking that maybe we should just scan them. I’d rather save the bookshelf space for more interesting reading material!

  20. AmyG

    I’m going to clear out my hall closet. Too many coats and all sorts of other things that really don’t belong. I’m also planning to take the top 2 shelves to use as additional pantry space. The closet is adjacent to my kitchen. I really don’t have enough cabinet space in the kitchen, so this well help me out with the reducing the amount of stuff that I have on my kitchen counters!

  21. Andi

    Definitely the storage room in the basement! There is a local kids’ clothes consignment sale this weekend and I have lots to take!

  22. Heather

    I am attempting junk drawers and hopefully my closet (including my husband’s clothes). And also getting my entry way cleaned up 🙂 That neatdesk looks pretty awesome. Paper clutter is my nemesis. Honestly, I should probably attack the filing cabinet that I use more as a junk drawer for bills 🙂 But I’m not sure a week would be adequate for that task!

  23. Mary

    I am a CPA (& an avid Simple Mom reader) and I would just say DO make sure you keep ALL of the supporting documentation with your tax return for the IRS recommended length of time. If the IRS audits your return you need to be able to support all of the numbers reported.

  24. jen Van Riper

    I targeted the master bathroom today, who knew I would have SO MANY expired medications, vitamins, lotions…you name it. It took me all day, but I came out with an organized clutter free bathroom. I think I’m going to hit my bedside table next and attack the drawer of junk…then maybe I will work on the guest room which needs all packed up and turned in to a room for the new baby. what to do with all my craft stuff though? I have fabric, yarn, pens, pencils, you name it.

  25. jen

    These posts are exactly what I need….motivation. I’m going to work on a kitchen junk drawer…again. before it gets too out of control. It didn’t take the kids too long to trash it. I’m also going to work on winter coats. It’s been in the 70’s and 80’s for a week… Chicago!! Infrared of in March. So I’m just going to pack up the snowpants and a few of the coats and gloves. Not going in the attic yet. Afterall….it is Chicago.

  26. Steph

    My son and I will be tackling his toy closet, now that he is older he is not ready to recycle his toys. Since both of us love to organize we are going to work on fitting a bin of toys that are in his room into the closet, this should be fun and will ultimately give him more floor space in his room.

  27. Tracey G.

    I’ve made lots of progress in becoming paper-free but there’s still a nagging pile of things that I want to keep but can’t find online. The Neat Desk looks so appealing. I think I’m also going to tackle our medicine cabinet.

  28. nuri

    This week, my target is the set of crates in the master bedroom. It’s got everything from craft supplies to paperwork to electronics. And I hate them, so it’s time for them to be at least organized instead of overflowing.

  29. Caroline Conroy

    I’m shooting for my coat area! It’s time to put the winter things away, which will help make that area less cluttered!

  30. Kathy M

    My “arch nemesis” is also paper clutter…ugh! I’m going to research scanner options for going mostly paperless. I’m also going to tackle the kids’ art “stuff” and (be still my trembling heart) the numerous boxes of teaching materials in the garage (from when I taught school in the 90s). Thanks for the inspiration and motivation. Love this series!

  31. October

    My desk… after spring break it is a mess!

  32. Janelle

    I am targeting three paper magnets: the kitchen table, the computer desk, and the coffee table I am also targeting two closets: the coat closet and the master bedroom closet.

  33. Julie

    This week I am taking on my school papers/ art work by the horns! I can’t function anymore!

  34. Margo Williams

    So this week I am going to tackle two closets my bedroom closet and the hallway closet. I am leaving the office space for Spring Break the last week of the challege which will deal with my paper issues and crafty projects. Here’s to another week of accountability and cleanliness!

  35. Chase Christy

    We have multiple binders worth of bank statements for accounts that are now closed. You have inspired me to pick up with the shredding again. It takes perseverance as our little shredder only does about fifty pages before overheating for half an hour.

  36. Christie

    I have been working on the craft closet, too, and it’s much more presentable now! (Rather wish I had some crayon stubs so I could melt them into fun shapes like I’ve been seeing all over Pinterest, but alas! A ton of other things but no crayon bits….) Today I worked on the dining room table (sad that it took “working on” to clear it), and I hope to also work on the rest of the craft/play/ guest room this week, as well as organize some kitchen drawers and – gulp – the game/DVD/ tv cabinet.

  37. Ally Abbott

    I am tackling my husband’s underwear drawer. We have agreed that he can trust me to get it in order. I have recently tackled the laundry room and craft cupboards. Honestly, moving every year or so has really helped us to keep the clutter at bay.

  38. Katie

    I’ll be tackling the 2nd bedroom and front entry closets, to prepare for guests coming in two weeks. I’ve wanted a NeatReceipts for a super long time!

  39. Dottie

    I’m hesitant to say what I’ll be cleaning this week. I have one hot spot that seems to catch all the paperwork, then it turns into two as I try to tame the first one and… oh my. I desperately need that Neat Desk, or something similar. I will be tackling my paper hotspots as well as my bedroom closet. That one should be very helpful, as we have traveled past its borders to elsewhere. This week apparently we’ll take care of that and the laundry monster!

  40. Anne

    I’m glad that other people have spots that attract clutter too. I’ve been trying to purge and simplify and appreciate the tips. I think the scanner would go a long way to clearing off my desk.

  41. Hélène Métivier

    I will attack a part of my crafts wall unit. Two shelves have served as a catchall for nick-nacks I want to use in crafts… but will I use them? or chuck ’em?

    • Hélène Métivier

      I forgot about one drawer that needs immediate attention: the broken things drawer. It is FULL of torn books, toys that need battery replacement or glueing, clothes to mend, etc. Now I have my hands full for the week…

  42. bdaiss

    I’m aiming to get through my guest bedroom/workout room. It’s also turned into the “don’t want to deal with it? Dump it here” room. I also need to deal with my sewing station as I have a few projects I want to finish and it’s a MESS. If I get those 2 things (and cleaning the bathrooms) done, I’ll be ecstatic! Thanks for the chance at the NeatDesk as well! I’ve been drooling over those for a long time!

  43. Tara

    We are moving out of state this summer. So, for the past six months we having been cleaning room by room. Everything has been sorted into three main piles. Trash (and/or recycle), donate & keep. It’s been a real eye opener for the kiddos. They’re are learning: if you don’t need it,
    don’t buy it. The garage is this Weeks project.

  44. Lorinda

    This week I’m working on my pantry/laundry room. Everything is being cleaned, sorted. weeded out, containerized and labeled. Great feeling to get one room crossed off my list!

  45. Rebecca

    Re: your Pinterest photo – I spy a few pins from Young House Love! 🙂

  46. K.Nicole

    We’ve just moved to a new house so there are a plethora of spaces that need attention. I think I will focus on my dining room buffet, it is currently a resting place for tools and other things from the move. At one time we used that space to hold the boys’ workbooks, art supplies, and board games, but now that we have an official playroom I can use it for something else. I also need to organize my desk!

  47. Steph

    I really need to get our home office under control. I keep sweeping through it with quick fixes but it needs a true organization overhaul.

  48. Beth

    I am psyched to tackle the junk drawer in our kitchen! This time I vow to really get rid of the unneeded, unused junk and keep only the essential junk! 🙂

  49. Erin @ Small and Simple Things

    I am working on the master bedroom – we have a long dresser, a very long window seat, and my night stand which have been forever cluttered! I’m also going to work on the files in my closet and get rid of some of the papers I’ve been holding on to forever.

  50. brenna

    This week I plan to tackle the dreaded storage closet. With a baby on the way, it’s time to make room for new items.

  51. Nava

    I’m working on my whole house! Seriously though, we have a roommate moving out and a baby on the way, and a lot of work to do between the two. I am going to reorganize my kitchen and definitely my boy’s room; they are both just a jumbled mess right now.

  52. Rhonda35

    Tackling the craft cabinets and my desk area (which has started to take over a part of the kitchen counter – yikes!)

    That NeatDesk is…well…neat!

  53. valorie

    Oh my! I am drooling. I want, need, must have a NeatDesk! I run two businesses from home and have lots of kids and paper is overtaking my desk, living room, file cabinets, storage bins in the shed and encroaching on the entire house. What a marvelous tool!

  54. Afton

    I will be tackling the coat/shoe closet, the end tables, and the buffet table. We have a teeny tiny apartment so any clutter looks like a lot of clutter and I feel like I’m drowning right now!

  55. Lisa

    Working on decluttering the whole house, slowly but surely. I’ve been looking at the NeatDesk scanner but just haven’t been able to justify the $$. Would put this to very good use should I win. May have to invest in one soon. Thanks for your encouragement.

  56. Jeana

    Thanks for the inspiration. I am tackling my closet this week. Ooh I would love to have that Neat Desk.

  57. Stephanie Silverstein

    Craft supplies… I love them, and tend to collect a huge array (some of which I’ve never even used) so those are going to be tackled today!!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  58. Shannon Wirth

    The NeatDesk looks awesome! What a great solution for paperwork clutter!

  59. Sarah S.

    My closet needs some serious help. I have winter, summer, maternity and non-maternity clothes all mixed together in there. It’s a crazy mess!!!

  60. Krista English

    My desk is a must-attack project today…I guess I dread it b/c I don’t have a great filing cabinet…a drawer here, a cart there – nothing systematic. I’ve dreamed of going paperless for years. NeatDesk looks…neat!

  61. Debbie Karp

    I’m working on the foyer closet. Not only does it house our jackets but also serves as a craft station for my daughter. It’s amazing how quickly it gets out of hand. Would LOVE to win the NeatDesk.

  62. Sarah

    I’ve only been following your blog for about a week but already it’s been so helpful! I’m pregnant so the little energy that I do have is used up doing my basic every day chores like laundry and dishes. However, every now and again I get a burst of energy that lasts longer than 10 minutes and I’ve been using that time to try to achieve some sort of pre-baby order. Our house is being turned upside down to make room for the new addition so I’m purging and organizing and cleaning as much as I can bear to lately. I did my pantry over the weekend and organized two kitchen cabinets. I’m hoping to clean out the fridge this week – if I can stand it long enough :o). I purged my closet but need to do the hubby’s too. And I have a coat closet and a linen closet to sort through this week. Little by little there will be more space for Baby!

  63. Sarah Jane

    I attacked the craft corner while doing the kids rooms, although they’ve already undone a lot of my work. For this week,I will be tackling the dining room table and the foyer table. This is where all the paper lands. Receipts need a going away party. My kids are hoarders and want to keep every scrap of paper they bring home. In past years, I made boxes to put their papers in from their backpacks (kept by the door for last minute access) but now we have several of them! Time to sort them out.

  64. Cher

    Paper is my nemesis. I hides in places I don’t remember, and builds tall fortresses designed to confuse and overwhelm my life. I have not just counters, drawers, but rooms filled with papers. Sigh…… obviously this is the stronghold I need to overcome. Thanks for your ideas. I always hope for a victory over this enemy.

  65. Kate Berry

    Tsh thanks for the do not mail registry info!

  66. Shannon

    Love the process and the ideas on how to get organized. I am addicted.

  67. Aimee ~ Simple Living for Busy People

    Thank you for the breakdown — and for your example of taking the decluttering week by week! I totally agree that by trying to go paperless, that is the huge benefit from the technology that we have today — it’s so important for busy Moms to understand how to use technology for efficiency versus just thinking of it as another time suck. There is always a silver lining! 🙂

  68. Shawn

    The past 2 weeks, I’ve been working on closets–2 linen closets and the master bedroom. I’ve gotten rid of 1/3 to 1/2 of the contents of each and I feel so much better without the mental clutter that physical clutter brings! I’ve done 2 kitchen cabinets and the laundry room cabinets, plus my desk, although it still has hotspots. Next up are 2 book cases. I’m on a different schedule, Tsh, but I’m workin’ it, girls, I’m workin’ it!

  69. Jeniffer

    Just waiting to see what your next project will be!

  70. Sara

    We’ve just started budgeting seriously, so we could really use this NeatDesk-
    It would help so much as we separate regular receipts from self-employed receipts etc…

  71. Amie Orton

    organizing helps me be a happier person and a better mom. Thank you for not overwhelming me, just helping me and introducing us to things like neat desk. I’ll put that in line to save for. It might have to move ahead of my vitamix. Health or organizing? organizing =happiness which makes me healthier right? WIsh it could go ahead of student loans, diapers and a broken car…and and… 🙂

  72. Amie Orton

    OH i didn’t realize we could win one. I’m qualified! I am targeting our desk which is in our kitchen so neeeds to be cleaned or I’m embarassed. AND the junk drawer in my kitchen. I follow you like a baby duck. 🙂

  73. Kamela Barrier

    We tackled the linen closet, kids’ bathroom closet and both kids closets last week. Up this week is the guest/hall closet and the master bedroom closet. Once that’s done, we’ll go through the boxes of outgrown and no longer worn clothing and price what we can for our garage sale and donate the rest.

    Doing it a little at a time really does help. My closets tend to stay in relatively good shape…It’s truly the paper in our house that creates the issues. My husband always says that we have papers laying on every flat surface in the house :)! We just purchased a shredder, so I’m hoping that will assist in a big way.

    Thanks for all of the great tips. Keep ’em coming!

  74. Kim

    This week I am working on organizing my clothes. I LOVE NeatReceipt and have always wanted one. 🙂

  75. BethB

    I’ve been on a quest to eliminate junk mail. I even shelled out $7 for a Mail Stop envelope from Catalog Choice. It holds up to 15 peices of junk mail, you send it to Catalog Choice, and they do all the work for you. We’ll see how this holds up.

    My recent project is going through the boxes of files in our basement. Somehow I don’t think tax returns from 1997 are relevent any more! Seriously, I can’t believe how much old financial paperwork we have. Other than tax returns and bank statments, we’re chucking everything older than 2 years. We’re keeping things like the letters confirming our student loans are paid off, one statement from each of the ten (I know!!!) credit cards I had when I was single, and a few other odds and ends with medical bills and such.

  76. kathy w

    I am going to tackle my dining room table. I took all the papers from everywhere else and put them there to go through, and that is what I will be working on this week.

  77. Bethany

    I recently did the closet, my son’s toys and my own bedroom shelves…now I need to tackle my daughter’s closet, her bookshelves, and get her room decluttered and ready for company and of course clean out the fridge and get the kitchen counters cleared….again. I have a question. To enter the drawing for the neatdesk, do I need to post before and after pics on a blog to be elligible or is just commenting here enough?

  78. Josefa

    I’m working on my kitchen and desk this week. I was in Spring Break last week and tackled all the areas that my toddler easily “let” me. One day he decided to play with his toy kitchen so I did some pantry work, or drawer work. We worked on his room and the living room. Closets and all. I am excited! This project is getting bigger and bigger, but it is getting done and that is an accomplishment in my book! 🙂


  79. Amy

    The countertops are my nemisis! Oh, how I love when they are tidy and bare, but things around here pile up so quickly.
    I also have to mention how much I miss Cottage Living. Who’s idea was it to cease publication of my favorite magazine?

  80. DianaC

    Well, for me it’s my computer – it’s my living but it needs to downsize. I do a lot of research in renewable energy project development; you have to download something to see it. Usually my fingers are flying to find what I need but never time to review and get rid of the unnecessary at the same time. Last week I got a nice piece of free software called calibre to help organize and convert to any reader my e-book collection and .pdf files. Once my computer is cleaned off, I can look at my closet. I’m going to check out pinterest to see what it does. Yes, I could use the neatdesk to organize my 7 years of receipts (at least their organized by month). It would be great to look around and have nothing to do but create something! Thanks for this website and allowing us to post.

  81. Shawnda

    This week, I’m going to continue working on my laundry/craft room. I’ve slowly worked my way through most of the closets/drawers/cupboards upstairs, but the basement still needs work. A LOT of work.

  82. Margaret

    This week I’m going to focus on our “catch-all” closet.

  83. Johanna

    I am struggling with the kids artwork. Mine are still so young that I don’t really think any of it is all that spectacular, but I need to come up with a plan before hand!

    I am going to be tackling two hall closets. Since we live in an apartment with no storage everything is in the closets. It isn’t terribly cluttered but I need to make things more accessible and better organized!

  84. Victoria @Snail Pace Transformations

    I am attacking our linen closet. I was so happy to have a designated linen closet when we designed our gutted home a few years back, but sadly it has never lived up to the pictures I had for it in my head. I am going to try to do it using a simple system that even the kids could keep up as they fold the majority of the laundry now and put it away, including all the sheets for the beds.

  85. Melinda

    The breakfast table – no one can sit there to eat (or do anything else).

  86. Heather Abbott

    I recently decluttered my walk in closet and the kids closets with change over to winter clothes. I also did my underwear drawer – I mean seriously that was so overdue and amazing how much usable undergarments I have! My sock drawer and workout clothing is up for overhaul next!

  87. Sarah

    Just tackled the bathroom closet today. Need to do my countertops and try to find a way to keep them clean! Also my pantry is part of a big closet that is truly a ‘stick it anywhere’ kind of a place in our house. Wish me luck! =)

  88. Dana

    Well when you get married I learned that it’s not only the joining of two lives but the joining of two people’s clutter and endless plastic containers of desperately needing to be gone through paperwork which came to live in our garage. Many other random items have since come to live in my garage. So my project is to reclaim the garage for the sake of the car and a big garage sale with the help of a powerful shredder and a big trash can. A NeatDesk could always help. 🙂

  89. Tagati

    What a great tool! What is it about kitchen counters? They seem to have some inherent sticky component that attracts paper!

    My project for the week is to make that small mountain of paper clutter disappear.

  90. Deb

    Closet – donate clothes that have not been worn in the past 6 months. Also, would like to make some t-shirt back packs. They look really cute.

  91. Charity

    The computer cabinet is the project of the week.

  92. Kalijd

    My master bedroom closet has turned into the dumping ground for my whole house. I have clothes the kids have out grown, pictures, photo albums, toys, clothes that are too big for me… It actually stresses me out to open it every morning!!! Can’t wait to get this done!

  93. Monica

    Oh, the paper! It is a endless battle. I keep intending to tackle the office but it is overwhelming. This week I’m going to try a new tactic; taking a first swipe at it rather than being disappointed that I didn’t finish it.

  94. Kat

    I’ve cut out a corner in my basement for my work center. A table for the sewing machine and another for projects. I’m almost done organizing. I can’t wait to use it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  95. Jennifer

    I would love to simplify my craft/home office area. It is located in the corner of our bedroom and is in serious need of a scanner to rid the area of paper!!

  96. Heart and Haven

    I’ve been participating in Project Simplify again this year (although slightly behind). Recovering from a thyroidectomy mid Feb. and c-section to our newest addition on March 11, I have a pretty good excuse!

    For Week 1: kids clothes/toys, I went through our 3 & 4 year olds’ closet and took out everything that no longer fit them as well as their fall/winter items. I also sanded/ & painted a dresser I bought off craigslist to use as our newborn dresser/changing table and organized all the newborn clothes, etc. in the drawers.

    Today, hubby and I are working on Week 2. Thoroughly cleaned microwave, oven, fridge, organizing “tupperware” section and trying to see if I can clear a drawer for baby items (breast pump accessories, bottles, etc.)

    This week for Week 3, 1. I’m planning on reorganizing our linen closet to include a section for medicines/first aid kit (I don’t want them stored in the bathrooms anymore due to humidity concerns and to have out of reach of the kids). 2. The bathroom cabinets are still in pretty good shape from participating in Project Simplify last year…but a quick look-over to make sure they are still organized efficiently. 3. The last thing I’m hoping to get to is our filing cabinet (label folders w/label maker I got for Christmas, shred outdated documents, etc.)

  97. Cindy

    I have taken on my kitchen countertops and art supplies (also in the kitchen) in the last week, but I REALLY need to tackle my kitchen desk area and the art work that has been piling up in the laundry room. I can’t wait to give some before and after photos on this one! I’m a first timer….

  98. manizor

    i’m targeting our guest room/home office/craft room in order to declutter and get it ready for baby #3’s arrival in a few short weeks. lots to do!!!

  99. Cassandra

    Bring it on. I have a desk and a hallway closet. Those are probably two of the last likely places I would organize. Goal for thedesk : create an efficient filing system that is labeled for everyone. Goal for the hallway closet: no coats on the floor and there is room for the vaccum cleaner. Easy enough?

  100. Jenn

    I’m tackling my desk… And I’m looking for a computer armoire to transition to so that I can keep the office area looking neat!

  101. charis

    i have so many places that need this work! i am thinking the most beneficial one would be the clutter on our desk in our room. it has gotten a bit out of control.

  102. Jenny

    Paper is a constant struggle for me 🙂 I’ve been looking into the Neat Desk and thinking it would really help. Finding a home for everything on my counter and in my office and actually putting stuff where it belongs is my main goal this week. Thanks for the great tips and encouragement – it is nice to know I’m not alone!!

  103. Alicen

    I swear I hang up everything in the back door closet – but my husband and 3.5 year old don’t… so it is piled up about 3 feet deep. One day last week my husband asked for mittens for my daughter… I dug around and came up with 8 individual mittens, not one single pair! A few evenings later, hubby cleaned out the truck and found 6 of the 8 other mittens. We now have 6 pairs of mittens. Which is good because most pairs these days are going right out into the mud puddles, so we need lots of pairs.
    My junk drawer also needs an overhaul! Maybe tonight?

  104. ranee

    I’ve gone through most of my house, just leaving those dark corners- closets and under the beds. Thanks for the help, your book is really wonderful!

  105. Alison

    We decorate our guest room with the children’s nicest artwork. When relatives come and stay (mostly Grandma) they get to take anything that they want 🙂

    I’m a little late to this game so I am going through my kitchen cabinets today. It is a gold mine. I did my linen closet a few weeks ago, I like to peek in it now to see the clean tidiness. It makes me happy 🙂

  106. Liz

    I am targeting my craft room/storage space/guest room this week. We have guests coming into town on Friday, so I guess I better get on it.

  107. Kate S.

    This is off-topic, but you know what I love about that note? When your kids get old enough to start writing and sounding out words they don’t know how to spell, you learn an awful lot about your own mispronunciations. Obviously, this little girl hears “chrash” instead of the enunciated “trash,” from her parents. Too funny. That’s how we learned we were slurring “the movie theater” into something closer to “th’movie-ter,” and saying “a’ready” instead of “all ready.”

  108. Kristy

    kids’ craft stuff is definitely on my list this week!

  109. Marla

    In an effort to, as Dave Ramsay puts it, “live like no one else” so that later in life we can “live like no one else,” we are preparing to move into a smaller home, and then sell two houses. We are kickin’ the mortgage to the curb!

    However, that means kickin’ a lot of other stuff the familiy ‘gathers’ too, you know the clutter. paper. stuff. Sorting through it all and continually making decisions is just plain hard work some days. BUT it will be well worth it in the end so I just keep on “Starting with the end in mind.”:)

    Timely and Great post. Thank you Ladies!;)

  110. Emily B

    I’m trying to move our desk and computer out of the living room to make room for a kids play area… this means major sorting and downsizing of desk needs… this would be perfect timing for the NeatDesk! Great post.

  111. Andrea

    Man, this is exactly what I need to clear out the giant filing cabinet in the study!

  112. Stephenie

    I hereby promise myself that I will work on my desk, the craft drawers and the dreaded JUNK DRAWER in the kitchen. There, I have written it down and I must do it. : )

  113. Jenna

    I am a self-proclaimed organizing junkie! But alas, don’t we all have our Achilles’ heel? Mine would be receipts. I keep drawers of them (in folders by year and function, of course), but they are still taking up unnecessary space. I would love the NeatDesk to help eliminate my paper piles!

  114. julieann009

    My desk drawer in my computer room is where I just throw papers in to keep it out of site. Nice desktop but a messy drawer. Probably could get rid of most of them. Papers should go in one pile – trash, or filing and scanning recepts. Purchased a few flash drives to store my paperwork. Thanks for a great blog and giveaway.

  115. Mom-Mom Pope

    Oh man… closet time! 🙂 We have a neighborhood pick up for the cancer research center this Saturday and my goal is 6 bags of clothes, shoes, and household items! I’ve filled a bag and a half this week already…

  116. Tami

    I’ve worked on my kitchen “junk” drawer. Went through the markers, and pens to see what actually worked…surprisingly this decluttered quite a bit and made organizing easier…next on the list is the coat closet!

  117. DawnF

    Regarding dealing with the kid’s artwork, I actually took a big stack of our favorite preschool arts and crafts and took pictures of all of them. Then I made a photo book from Snapfish and know we have a hardcover professional-looking album full of color photos and captions of our son’s preschool and Sunday School color pages, crafts and artwork. We honestly enjoy looking at the album and it really is THE coolest thing! I recycled all of the paper ~ oh, and I did put 2 original pieces in his baby album.

    I will be tackling our food pantry ~ it’s in pretty decent shape, but I need to check expiration dates and do a general cleaning and re-organizing.

  118. Emily @ Random Recycling

    I had to laugh when I was writing my progress post tonight. My husband and I LOVE board games, but our collection has gotten a little out of control. Yikes! The pictures alone motivated me to take half and donate them.

  119. Amy

    Oh yes! Cottage Living, it has a special place in magazine holders on the bookshelf. I have every single issue and couldn’t bear to throw any away!

  120. Erin @ Small and Simple Things

    I am working on my bedroom dresser, the window seat, and my nightstand, as well as my old paper files. I have been cleaning along this month with you (but not linking up), and I finally blogged about all the progress. Thank you for this motivation!

  121. Elena

    Definitely going to work on my daughter’s closet. I’ve already pulled out all the clothes that don’t fit her but everything else needs organizing! And since I live in an old house without many closets – I’ll be focusing on some kitchen cabinets instead!

  122. Danielle

    Im so excited to get my drawers cleaned out! I done did my daughters closet when we were on kids stuff. That was a huge accomplishment for me! Now it’s on to my closet and my husbands. Ours arent that bad just need to get rid of some clothes that we haven’t worn in forever. My shoes.. well thats another story. I may tackle my jewelry box as well its a heaping pile of silver and costume jelwery! I don’t even know what all I got its so cluttered. And last but not least the dresser is getting cleaned out too!

  123. Diane

    I definitely need to work on my desk area where the bills/receipts accumulate into piles and then sit. I would love being able to scan and toss!

  124. Laura Haske

    Tsh – I’m reading your book and inspired to put a yard sale on the calendar and work through your ten day plan. Watch out junk drawers, cluttered kitchen, and overcrowded storage area. I’m coming armed with focus and purpose this time.

  125. Heather

    My whole house needs decluttered due to 2 home business + 2 kids in elementary school + mounds of paper and art supplies around every room. I’m watching craigslist for a kitchen island to help with organizing and would love to use one of those Neat Desk machines.

  126. Mary

    I went through all of the baby clothes bins and just kept my favorites for the next baby. Was able to give so many good outfits away and condense storage bins!

  127. Lina Hong Lee

    OOoh! I’ve been eyeing the neat receipt scanner for awhile. I took advantage of my baby’s nap to tackle some eyesores. Although it takes work, I feel so relaxed afterwards.

  128. Myrnie

    I tackled the kids cabinet in the school room….2 loads of recycles, and a full garbage bin later, it’s looking better! “Save worthy” artwork is up on the wall, crayon stubs are gone, scribbled papers are torn from old notebooks and recycled, puzzles are put together (and un-fun-ones are purged for the yard sale box.) Awesome!! MAN, I hope I win the scanner 😉 (Odd coincidence, I’m actually writing up synopses of your chapters right now, in a read-along with Organized Simplicity. It’s been amazing!)

  129. beth

    i’m tackling my closet, the laundry room counter and the kitchen counters. i am especially looking forward to a clutter-free laundry room!

  130. Susan DR

    I seem to be constantly working on the countertop in the kitchen that gets all the paper piled on it. So, this week I am not only going to clean off the magazines, mail, school papers, newspaper clippings, coupons, etc, but I am going to rearrange a few kitchen cabinets. The kitchen is organized with small children in mind – no breakables down low, plastic containers too low for me to enjoy using them, etc. Since my youngest just turned 14 I think it is time to rethink my organization, and purge while I’m at it. Last week I cleaned out the linen closet – filled the back of my SUV with donations! It feels so good (and my 25 year old really doesn’t want his Power Ranger beach towel anymore – LOL). Thanks for the motivation – lightening up really feels good!

  131. Kim

    Our hall closet. We live in a small city apartment with four teeny, tiny closets and that hall closet has a lot of stuff in there we “think” we need. Time to go through it!

  132. Amy Forgey

    Hey- I’m late in the game because we’ve been sick with colds…so far this week I tackled the linen closet 🙂 and I’m 2/3 done with my desk- oh! the dust I’ve found!

    • Amy Forgey

      PS- I loved Cottage Living too….if you ever get some free time…you could always make a new one:)

  133. claire

    this week, I want to organize my kids clothes, put away what doesn’t fit anymore and once I’m done with that I will organize my office et especially get rid of all those pencils, pen, markers that don’t work anymore, but I keep for no reason.

  134. Kelly

    I think throwing things away might be one of my favorite things to do!

  135. Autumn Rowland

    I am clearing out the counter tops .. We just moved into our first house together ever and don’t have “junk drawer ” yet but we have paper all over the counters & my desk…. My son’s Craft box is just beginning and I am determined to get my house organized by the time we move in June!

  136. Martha

    You craft dresser is a great idea. It’s so big and with all of those 9 drawers you should be able to get almost everything in there. It seams the older kids get the more stuff they have. I found that lockers for kids work for us, my kids are a little older and into sports but if they have a place for all of their stuff, there is no excuse for leaving it around the house.

  137. Carol

    I was glad to read about so many people just like me. I’ve been contemplating the Neat Desk, as I have the same problem as many of you, paper clutter on the counters, dining room table, nightstand, couch, and in boxed in closets, all under miscellaneous papers.
    I am ready for Neat Desk, unless anyone has a better idea.

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