Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Home Office Declutter

In the weekend paper, my horoscope said this: 'Venus - your ruling planet - is in Virgo for five more days so use that time to clean, de-clutter and tie up loose ends. When the small things are taken care of, the bigger things will fall into place'. I have never seen a horoscope involving decluttering before. I haven't decluttered at all since my partial wardrobe declutter, so didn't think any more of it.

Yesterday morning, I got up at 6am, as I do. I get up about an hour earlier than I need to so I have time to have a cup of tea and read before getting ready for work. The Universe had other plans for me though, for I found the timer/countdown function on my cellphone and opened the door to... the home office/sewing room.

This hardworking, petite room is where items are placed while I decide what to do with them when decluttering. It's where my magazines are piled up (there are a lot less now after my magazine declutter part 1 and part 2). It's where my sewing machine and overlocker reside, as well as my small stashes of fabric and yarn, embroidery threads, knitting needles, crochet hooks, lace and elastic. It's where I keep all the pages I have pulled out of magazines, and articles printed off blogs and websites. It's where I put gifts from relatives that I don't know what to do with.

The poor, dear room. It deserves better.

Finally taking the 15-minute decluttering advice, I set my timer and got to work. I started putting away items that had been left out homeless, restacking the pile of mending which had fallen everywhere (and vowed to mend one item per night until it was done) and sat down to file pieces of paper.

I am lucky enough to have been given a wooden filing cabinet from my sister-in-law and it now has drop-files labelled with exciting (to me) names like French Chic, Personal Style, Home Style, Gentle Living (my favourite title), Homekeeping (which includes decluttering) and many more, including recipe categories like Baking, Slow Cooking and Sauces/Dressings. Once I have filed everything I can go through each file and thin it out.

The fifteen minutes was up before I knew it and I had already accomplished a lot. The room looked much better. I really wanted to keep going but only had ten more minutes before I needed to be in the shower (I have chunks of time for doing certain things in the morning, as I'm sure you do. I'm in real trouble when one chunk of time runs into the next one. It then all turns to custard at 9am when we have to leave the house). So of course I set my timer for 10 minutes and got back to it.

Today I couldn't wait to get up and do a little bit more home office decluttering, and set my timer for 30 minutes and set to filing. The rule is I'm only allowed to read the article as long as it takes for me to figure out what file it should go into. Otherwise I'd just be reading everything. It all looks so interesting.

It's so much fun looking through things you have kept, especially when they're in 'like' categories. You can really see themes that are important to you. And when they're all thinned out they can go into clear-files for each category. It's like having a magazine especially written for you, and with no advertisements. Who wouldn't love that.

I'm already looking forward to tomorrow morning's instalment. My husband looked at me with 'that look' (the incredulous one) when he heard I had been dawn-decluttering-by-timer. Each to his own I say.


  1. I love this. We may be able to get a lot done in a mere 15 minutes, but what I find so great is that it changes one's mindset. Suddenly, little bits of spare time can be used to tidy up a room or make a dent in what used to seem like an overwhelming project.

    Congrats on being so productive in the early morning!

    Curious - could you share sometime what your "chunks of time" in the morning consist of? I'm gonna guess...6:30 AM for showering?

    I'm one of those people fascinated by daily schedules and how people fill their time and get out of the house on time each morning!

  2. Sunny, you're right, it does change your mindset. And once you're started, it's easy. The home office was an overwhelming project, much like your wardrobe.

    My current routine in the morning is as follows:

    6-6.30am. Get up
    6.30-7. Blog reading/writing and cup(s)of tea
    7-7.30. Decluttering
    7.30-8. Shower/bathroom time, face routine, body moisturise
    8-8.30. Breakfast and read book or magazine, coffee
    8.30-9. Brush teeth, get dressed, makeup, hair, make bed, quick tidy of house
    9am. Depart for work

    I wash my hair every second day so on those days I try to be in the shower at 7, 7.15 at the latest to have time to dry and style hair.

    Thank you for your interest!

  3. I love the label titles on your filing cabinet, especially Gentle Living. How chic they all sound!

  4. Merci, Cherie. I like to have names that are interesting to me. I have a clearfile labelled 'Stylish Frugality' on the shelf...

  5. Delightful post that inspired me to clean MY office today with the help of my husband - both of us had the day off. Predictably, set the clock for 30 minutes as you prescribed, and we worked for 70 minutes. Such a good feeling!

  6. Janelle, glad to be of assistance! It really does feel great, and it's only time and effort. Doing something like this is completely free with the payback being such a feeling of satisfaction and calmness.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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