Monday, May 19, 2008

My Desk Needs Help

I cannot believe I'm showing the world what my desk looks looked like just a few days ago. This is our computer desk. Everyone in my family uses this desk so it sees ALOT of stuff. Bills, banking, two home based businesses, school reports, occasional kid clutter (you know, misc. toys and hair accessories, that sort of thing), get the idea. Stuff goes on here.

Let's go on a little tour, shall we? You'll notice a myriad of papers, my "Polar Pop" addiction indulgence (in my defense, I really have cut back), computer, keyboard, etc. You can't really see from the picture, but there's also some things that don't belong in the "office" area. Even the area under the desk did not escape, as it had been used as storage space during our recent home improvement project, where anything and everything got "stuffed" under it and had not yet been relocated.

Using my SOS Method I began to Sort items into groups. Papers to be gone through, filed, discarded, receipts to be entered into our checking program, coupons that I'd clipped and my recipe project (putting favorites on the computer) all got sorted into piles. Anything that I came across that did not belong went into the shoe box over to the right. Things that already had a home on the desk (pens, paperclips, etc.) got put back to rights. Pictures that somehow made their way to the desk, but never to the wall were put in a pile to be hung once the project was complete. This is important, I DID NOT let my guilt take over and stop work during the sorting process to hang up photos that have been sitting there for weeks. Many times we make the mistake of getting side tracked during organization. This is how projects don't get finished.

Next was the Omit stage. Now, I've become accustomed to omitting during the sort and as a separate step. You'll get more used to this as you become comfortable with the process. So, if you find things during the sort that you definitely want to get rid of, put them in the appropriate place (trash, recycle, pile, etc.) But it's always a good idea to look through your keep piles after you're done sorting to try to omit more. I usually work with a trash can, recycle pile, donate pile and shredder depending on the job.

After omitting everything that I was going to be able to, I began storing the remaining items into their appropriate or new homes. I was lucky in that I already had all of the storage items I needed, it was just a matter of putting things in them. This would be the point though if I was lacking anything, that I would begin making a list of things I needed like drawer organizers, storage totes, file folders, etc.

Storing things always comes last. Don't try to determine what you need at the start of your project. You're apt to either keep more stuff than you normally would because you just bought the jumbo size tote or make extra trips to the store because you underestimated your needs. Here are some things that I use to help keep my desk space organized. Don't let the before pictures fool you...these things really do work when you haven't spent the last few weeks being lazy!

My desk doesn't have drawer space, other than a filing drawer, so I have to be creative with the storage space. I found a small drawer divider insert for under a dollar that fits perfect into this wicker basket. I liked the basket because it concealed the plastic, but you could just get a divder and call it a day. It all slides under the space below my computer monitor and holds paper clips, staples and all the little odds and ends.

A canvas bin takes the place of another drawer and holds computer cd's, cables and such.

A literature sorter helps me use the vertical space to the best potential. I can store printer paper, special paper, even a calculator, paper trimmer and extra business cards, which proves you don't always have to use things to store what they were intended.

And the finished product....

How can you use the SOS Method to spruce up your space? Try it on your next organizing project and let us know the results. You can post comments, or link to your own post on your blog using Mr. Linky. Don't forget the prize drawing. Read about it here.

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Copyright 2007, Christine Rice

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Christine Rice, Professional Organizer and owner of Organize It Today helps people discover "organizational enlightenment" with the help of her newest book, A Life Less Cluttered: Expert Secrets to Your Own Organizing Epiphany. Visit her website at to find out more about her services and products.