NW Bloggers Spring Cleaning Bash – Office & Paperwork

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Frugal Living, Spring Cleaning Bash | 2 comments

When I started thinking what part of my house I wanted to organize I forced myself to tackle one of the hardest areas for me – my desk.  Paper is my nemesis.  And I wish I was kidding.  My desk tends to be the “catch-all” place of the house for pretty much everything.  Plus I’m really bad about taking care of things when they hit my desk.  So this was quite the undertaking for me!

I recently moved my “office” into our bedroom. My “office” consists of a desk, filing cabinet & printer.  We took my old office space and gave the kids a place to play the Wii and hang out.  The good part is that moving made me start the organizing process, although there was still a LONG way to go!

Here’s what I had to start with:

Lets just evaluate some of the ridiculousness piled on and around my desk- backpacks & rubbermaid containers from the last several events I went to, tennis shoes (I’m actually surprised there aren’t more shoes – I have been known to at times have a dozen or so pair of shoes under my desk), at least 2 weeks of newspapers, several binders, a box of Valentine’s chocolates, hats, ribbon, lotion, plate (with 2 forks?), carpet powder, glasses, tweezers, lip balm, nail clippers, valentines my kids made for out of town cousins that I still haven’t sent, a no longer working lightbulb, cell phone, Kindle, books, chargers/cords, plus misc papers, receipts, inserts & bills.  Yikes.

And yes, that second screen on my desk is a small tv.  I like to watch tv while I work and my husband sometimes has a tendency to spoil me- he thought my little 13″ box tv should be passed on to the kids to play the Wii and I should have something new & shiny.

And then there is the “drawer of shame”.  This entire drawer is full of UNOPENED bills and statements.  Now before you think that I’m a slacker who doesn’t pay my bills, I do, I promise!  But I manage most of my bill-paying online, so I tend to shove the unopened statements in a drawer.  Even though I actually have files for them in the other room!  I’m pretty sure my husband didn’t even know this drawer existed – until now!

Time to Get Started!

Coupon Inserts

I started in my file cabinet by cleaning out my old coupon inserts.  I use http://www.couponcleanout.com to help me.  You can search by state and newspaper to see what inserts need to be thrown out or which ones are still valid.  LOVE it.  And I just file my coupon inserts by date, then use the database to find the coupon I am looking for.


I also cleaned out all my receipts from last year.  I keep all my receipts and confirmations of online payments by month.  I have folders labeled Jan, Feb, March, etc. in the front of my filing cabinet.  Anything I do that month, goes in that file.  It’s an easy way to just have it in one place instead of sorting it out into different categories- which based on my drawer of shame, I’m not so good at doing.

The black wire rack on my desk is actually an addition since I moved my desk to it’s new spot.  I got it at the thrift store for a couple dollars.  I pulled the current month folder and put it in the front of the rack so I can easily add my receipts & payment confirmations each day and not have them pile up on my desk.

Bills & Statements

Then I went to town on the drawer of shame.  Any statements that need to be kept, I opened and DID put in my other file cabinet.  I then went through the other piles of bills & statements I don’t need to be getting by mail and started signing up for online statements only.  My fear has always been that if I didn’t get it in the mail I would forget to pay it, but seriously in this day and age if I forgot to pay a bill I would probably get an email, a text, a tweet, a facebook message and a phone call.  I’m pretty sure I can do away with the paper part of it especially since I’m never sure what I should keep or how long I should keep it.  I now have a nice big pile of stuff for my kids to shred.

In order to keep myself from creating the drawer of shame again, I used the divider in the drawer to make myself a tiny section for current paper bills (there are a few I chose to keep getting this way) and letters I need to mail out.  It’s only about 4 inches big, so there’s not a whole lot I can cram in there.

I added a couple of baskets- one for cords, ear buds, thumb drives, etc. and the other for all the lip balm, nail cippers, lotion, dental floss, hand sanitizer and other personal care items that seem to constantly end up on my desk.   Since this drawer is closest to the printer, I also put a ream of extra printer paper in the back.


I first added the wooden rack.  This is a shoe rack that I found at the thrift store for $4.  It was PERFECT.  Here’s a similar one for about $14 on Amazon.   I took all the papers off and started to sort through them all.  And put away all the non-paper stuff, because do I really need a roll of ribbon and a box of choloates on my desk at all times?!?  Here’s what ended up on each shelf when I was done.
After2Top shelf:

My lamp is now high enough that I’m not constantly fiddling with the cord to try and find the switch.  And I love my little macaroni necklace- my son made that for me when he was 2 for Mother’s Day. I moved my wire rack to the top as well as my little desk caddy.  I went through all the papers in both and tossed out anything I didn’t need.  My wire rack does have some rhyme & reason to it.

  • Slot 1 – Current month.  This includes my receipt file, reimbursements I need to submit to various organizations and any “project” I have currently going on with PTO, Young Mothers etc. that will be completed that month.
  • Slot 2 – Church stuff
  • Slot 3- Goal binder & journal
  • Slot 4- Family Fun.  I have 4 folders in this labeled by seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall).  In them I put craft ideas or leftoever pieces from past projects so they were easy to find.  For example- last year we did Thing 1 & Thing 2 cupcakes for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday and I had extra cupcake labels- it was easy to pull them out of the Spring folder this year and use them!
  • Slot 5 – Ongoing files I need access to.  This is a variety of things, but it’s stuff I find myself going to the file cabinet far too often for, so it’s easier to put it within reach, so stuff actually gets put away.

Below that are the wire baskets:

  • Top Basket- Stapler, business stuff & tax stuff (need to finish those SOON)
  • Bottom Basket- current weeks ads.  This may sound silly to some, but I tend to reference them all week long- so this was an easy way to have them at hand!  Plus easy to sort through and throw out!

Middle shelf:

That pretty yellow box is currently empty.  I was going to put my chargers & cords in it, but didn’t.  So now I just have a pretty yellow box on my shelf.

Scriptures- my goal is to do better with my personal scripture study/devotional time.  I’m hoping that having them in front of my face will make me do better!

Kleenex – I hate not having a box of Kleenex on my desk.  True fact.

Plastic shelves – these were also found at various thrift stores for about $.50 each

  • Top Shelf: Kids Journal stuff.  This is stuff that needs to be hole punched to put in my kids journals- papers/awards from school, programs from events they have been in, notes they have written me, etc.  My goal is to go through this each Sunday and empty it out so it doesn’t pile up.
  • Bottom Shelf: printed coupons I haven’t cut yet. Sometimes I print a page of great coupons, but haven’t gotten around to actually cutting them out yet.  This gives me a place to put them all, so I’m not having to rummage around on my desk to try and find them.

Bottom Shelf:

This tiny little space underneath is just perfect to hold a couple of the current books I’m reading, give me a place to put my Kindle & phone while they charge and a package of wipes (I haven’t had a kid in diapers in years and I still buy wipes- they have saved me on a number of occasions)!


After the desktop was cleaned & dusted I made myself do something with the rest of the drawers.  They weren’t too bad, but weren’t as functional as I would have liked them to be.

Top Right- I already talked about tackling the drawer of shame.  So I won’t go into that again.

After 5Top left drawer- I keep my All You Magazines along with pens, pencils & glueticks.  This one I didn’t do much with besides pull out a few old magazines, pens that didn’t work and pulled the scissors out.

After4Bottom left drawer- I used a plastic stand up divider (probably also gotten at the trift store at some time) to put in things I use pretty regularly- photo paper, cardstock, scrap paper & envelopes.  The “wipes” container in the back is full of plastic grocery bags that I use as garbage can liners, scissors went into a stand up container and I took a great little snapware container (that I got for free after coupons) to use for the granola bars, candy & misc snack stuff that somehow ends up in my desk too!  In case of an emergency- snacks are always a good idea.

The Finished Product

I am currently in LOVE with my clean desk.  It makes sense.  I can reach everything.  Everything has a place- I don’t feel quite so crazy. Now just to keep it that way!

Use a shoe rack for vertical storage space on your desk - Grays Harbor DealsAfter6

Don’t forget to check out the other fabulous posts in our NW Blogger Spring Cleaning Bash to see what projects we are tackling around our house and get inspired!    You can see the entire schedule here or click the image in the right sidebar to see full list of Spring Cleaning posts.  Be sure to follow our Frugal Spring Cleaning Pinterest page for our best tips & ideas!

What spring cleaning or organizational project are you working on these days?


  1. Life is full of temporary situations, ultimately ending in a permanent solution.

  2. Nice job Annaliese! You tackled a ton of work. Nice to see my desk is not the only one to be a paper magnet. Guess I have some work cut out for me now that I am inspired by your project :)


  1. Spring Cleaning Bash: Office & Paperwork {Grays Harbor Deals} - [...] Bash! Today’s post focuses on tidying up the ol’ office and (mounds of) paperwork with Grays Harbor Deals. {Doesn’t …
  2. Northwest Blogger Spring Cleaning Bash: Home Office (Grays Harbor Deals) — The Coupon Project - [...] head on over to Grays Harbor Deals as she tackles cleaning the office and paperwork piles pictured [...]
  3. Spring Cleaning Bash: Office & Paperwork (Grays Harbor Deals) - [...] Photo Credit: Grays Harbor Deals [...]
  4. Northwest Bloggers Spring Cleaning Bash | Grays Harbor Deals - [...] Monday, March 11: Office & Paperwork - Grays Harbor Deals [...]