Friday, March 18, 2011

Project Simplify - Week 2 Results

Today marks the end of the second week of Simple Mom's Project Simplify - this week's hot spot has been paper clutter.  I was excited to learn about this week's focus because I am highly challenged by paper clutter.  Between mail (mostly unsolicited "junk"), school papers, and the lovingly - and voluminously - created artwork of three young children, I seem to be surrounded by paper.  Tsh suggested tackling books while dealing with paper clutter, but books in this house will require a week of their own so I'm planning to make it my own personal hot spot after the five weeks of Project Simplify are over.

Overall I would only give myself a 4 or 5 on a scale of 10 for my work on paper clutter this week.  Part of it is that I didn't have - or create - enough time this week to attack all of the paper piles in the house.  Another part of it is that I physically can't get to some of it - in particular the stash of nostalgic paper clutter that I have set aside to potentially scrapbook (more on this when I get to #8 on my 2011 goals list, getting my craft room in order).  Because I have issues with paper in many areas of the house, I decided to focus primarily on the most visual, and certainly a significant, problem area...the office.  Or more specifically, my half of the office desk.  Okay, perhaps my paper has the tendency to take over more than half the desk.

Here is the before picture of my desk at the beginning of the week.  As you can see, I don't do a good job of sticking to a "file, don't pile" regimen.

Before: my less-than-organized desktop.
But wait, there's more!  Check out some of the paper clutter hot spots in my kitchen - the refrigerator and the door leading out to the garage.
Before: from homework storage to reminder notices to the children's artwork, a lot of paper ends up on our refrigerator.
Before: the garage door is sporting unusually low clutter volume in this "before" picture, but it is certainly cluttered enough.
Here's a peek at my work space after moving all of my paper clutter into a single big box to start with.  I liked the idea of holding a movie marathon with films that don't require great concentration - they provided the right amount of distraction when I needed it - while sorting through my paper horde.

More paper than I know what to do with?  Check!
A method of sorting to help pare down my paper clutter?  Check!
Remote control to keep those movies rolling?  Check!
One thing that I was glad to cross off of my perpetual to do list this week, and something that I had written on my add-to-2011-goals list just days before Tsh suggested it in her post, was getting registered on the DMA's do not mail list for catalogs, magazines, and other solicitations.  I also registered to stop getting pre-approved credit solicitations here.  Although this would have been a great place to start some time ago, my method of dealing with junk mail was to call each sender individually and ask to be removed from their distribution list.  As with many of my good intentions around the house, I have the tendency to set this mail aside to deal with it later only to find myself with a box full of junk mail awaiting my attention.  I feel very hopeful that joining the do not mail list/opting out of prescreened credit offers will eventually mean that there are fewer solicitations to deal with in this way.

Without further ado, here are my "after" pictures.
Wait!  Is that a desktop I see?
So nice to be able to open the fridge without the fear of cascading papers.
I got rid of the papers behind papers that tended to build up on this door.
One thing that I have always done with certain reference papers (group rosters, gym schedules, etc.) is to tape them to the inside of a cabinet in my kitchen.  If I ever need to access the information I can do so with a quick peek behind a closed door.  I realized that I still had this type of reference material on my refrigerator, so I decided to build upon a good thing and I moved some of the class schedules for my children from the refrigerator to the cabinet door.  My goal is to reserve real estate on my fridge for homework, progress trackers (i.e. piano practice sheets), and reminders for upcoming activities.
I find it helpful to be able to access phone numbers and other information that I commonly refer to quickly without needing to pull something out of a file or look it up on the computer.  As a bonus, I don't have to fight piles on the refrigerator to find them any more.
Although there is still much work to be done to conquer and maintain control over paper clutter in my home, this week helped me get off to a great start and I'm linking up to the hot spot #2 results post over at Simple Mom.  What helps you stay on top of the flow of paper into and out of your house?

**As a reminder, the Pyrex giveaway ends today, so please be sure to leave a comment by midnight tonight on Monday's post if you'd like to be entered to win.  I'll be randomly drawing the names of, and contacting, two winners on Saturday.

"The opposite of simplicity, as I understand it, is not complexity but clutter."  ~Scott Russell Sanders


  1. Great job! I have a perpetual and ongoing paper clutter problem too. It's nice to know I'm not the only one, and it was great to get a good start on dealing with it around my home this week too.
    Thanks for sharing your progress!

  2. Looks beautiful! Great job. ...And congrats, Brittany, you're the winner of this week's Project: Simplify! Look for an email from me soon.

  3. Great job! Paper clutter is a big problem for me, too, but I'm getting there. Congrats on winning this week, too!! Bonus!