The truth about decluttering my desk and why I only got one drawer done.

In my last couple of posts about decluttering I wrote about how I hadn't yet cleaned out my desk. I'm very pleased to say that in this post I will not be writing the same thing.

Because - drumroll please - I Have Cleaned Out My Desk.

Well, at least the top drawer.

The middle drawer is still unsorted filing and the bottom drawer contains boxes of software disks that you never know, I might just need one day when my computer crashes and I have to load everything up from scratch again. It's also full of computer cords that I'm sure are important because otherwise why would I have them? It's just odd that no one seems to use them. Ever. At all.

But the top drawer is a start, right?

Let me tell you, it took everything I had to begin. I had to visualise the result (a clean, clear, tidy, clutter-free drawer), run through the process in my head (empty it all out, put back what stays, bin or redistribute everything else) and fuel myself with several cups of tea, a chicken and mayo sandwich and a cupcake or two before I could start.

Let me also tell you, it took everything I had to stick with it. Right at the beginning I opened the drawer. Then I shut it again and thought, "Oh, hey, I'll do this later. Right now I could be updating my facebook status, 'cos that's important too."

Luckily the grownup part of my brain that doesn't like procrastinating or excuses took over at that point, opened the drawer again and dumped the whole thing on the ground before the other parts could do anything about it.

At that point, I was committed.

Even if I didn't declutter the drawer at least I would have to do something about the mess because if there's one thing I can't stand it's my children saying to me, "but your room isn't tidy, so why do you want me to clean up mine?" and my practical side kicked in and told me in no uncertain terms that I might as well do it now because otherwise it's all just double handling and that's just inefficient. (It did allow me, however, to go and fetch another cup of tea.)

I quickly realised that the sorting out wasn't the bit I'd been dreading these many months. It wasn't the binning either. Nor the selecting the things I actually did want.


What I was afraid of was the relocating, the putting away, the returning of items to their homes.

It was positively painful to walk around my house with tiny items in my hands (a clothespeg, a bobby pin, the small midsection of a Lego man). And how did they all get into my desk drawer anyway?

I couldn't throw them all out in good conscience. I mean, there's maths and drinks involved. Bobby pins are about 10 cents each. If I threw out every one I saw lying around I could easily get up to five per day or $180 dollars a year. That's a weekly cafe hot chocolate.

Thanks to the publicity-driven part of my brain, I also resisted the temptation to just dump them in a box somewhere and 'do something about it later' because, really, how could I go public and write about decluttering my desk if I was secretly just moving my rubbish around the house under the guise of actually cleaning up?

Yes, I found homes for the little bits and pieces. But I was so exhausted after the effort that I had to stop and put off the rest for later.