31 Days of Clutter-Free Living

Welcome to January, otherwise known as Get Organized Month, or simply GO Month, by professional organizers everywhere. I’m really looking forward to inspiring you this month with 31 small projects that can have a big impact on you this year. Here’s your first of 31 Days of Clutter-Free Living, starting with organizing the physical desktop.

31 Days Clutter-Free Living

31 Days of Clutter-Free Living

First, you’ll set a timer for 15 minutes, but wait until you are done reading this to hit the timer start.

Let’s clear your physical desktop. Why? It’s hard to get organized if you have no space to get organized. So we’re going to give you a little breathing room. Someplace to put your paws. You are going to see real estate that you might not have seen in quite some time! Piles be gone (sort of).

how to organize papers on the desktop

Hopefully you have a home office, but if you don’t, head to where your piles accumulate. If you don’t have a home office, chances are good they are probably on the kitchen table.

Remember, you only have between 15 and 30 minutes for this project, so let’s not try to go through aaalllll the piles of paper, okay? That comes later. I pinky promise! In fact, right now, I want you to start on the left side of your desk, pick up the piles of paper, and stack them over to the right.

That’s it. Go ahead. Take those small stacks and make them one big stack over to the right. (Feeling contrary? It’s ok to go right-to-left.)

Your first task of 31 days of clutter-free living took 30 seconds. Now spend the next 15 minutes clearing off the rest of the non-paper STUFF that landed on your desk.

  • Book you meant to read? Carry it over to the bookshelf.
  • Water bottle? It’s probably been there a while. Toss in the recycling bin.
  • Round up all the pencils and pens. How many mugs or drawers did you fill?
  • Candy wrappers, lip gloss, and some broken craft project that the kids stashed there months ago? They are probably all trash.
  • Checkbook? Hey, you’ve been looking for that!

Keep working quickly. With the paper out of the way, you should be able to clear some space on your desk or table that you haven’t seen in a while.

OK, the 15 minute timer goes off, and what do you do?

  • Option A- Go shoot some pool, or walk the dog, or anything besides organizing. You’ve done your time. Pat yourself on the back.
  • Option B- If you are in a groove, reset the timer for 15 more minutes, clear your desk completely, and you’ll be an organizing superstar! When the second timer goes off, pat yourself on the back.

Organizing Your Physical Desktop

If your piles are really out of control, you might not feel like you made much of a dent but you DID! And you are solidly on your way to 31 days of clutter-free living.

how to organize papers on the desktop

You’ve still got that stack of papers on the right corner of your desk, but now you have ROOM to write lists, create file folders, and lay out a project if you need to.

You won’t have to MOVE STUFF before you can ORGANIZE STUFF. Doesn’t that feel great?

Don’t worry about what’s in the drawers, what’s on the floor or in any other part of the room. Our mission is just to organize the physical desktop today, right?

OK, start that 15 minute timer and GO!

15 minute timer


Great job! Good for you! Come back again tomorrow and let’s work on more organizing projects that you can do in 15 or 30 minutes to keep you on track for 31 days of clutter-free living.

I’d love to hear about your success throughout the month. Of course, if you leave a comment here, lots of people will cheer you on. But I’ve also opened up a whole new place for us: The HeartWork Organizing Peaceful, Clutter-Free Living Facebook Group. Just click and ask to join. There’s no fee, no membership ritual, no funny business…but we will recognize each other by our organizing projects! Come on over and meet me there today!


Click on any of the articles in this 31 Days of Clutter-Free Living series as they are published:

Picking a Timer for Organizing Projects (Samsung Galaxy Tab4 Giveaway)

Organizing Medical Records

Time to Quit

Time to Un-Decorate (Or Hide It in Plain Sight With Envelope Pillow Slipcovers)

Organizing Products that Aren’t Clutter (Giveaway)

Organizing a Playroom

Organizing Papers-Making Files

Organizing Cords- It’s the Little Things

Organizing the Junk Drawer- Instant Satisfaction

Organizing a To-Do List

Organizing Your Desk- National Clean off Your Desk Day

Organizing Kitchen Drawers (& OXO Giveaway)

Organizing Under Bathroom Sinks

Organizing Your Day with 6 Time Management Strategies

Organize Files- 3 Files Every Household Should Have (but Doesn’t)

Organizing Paper- Ditch the Accordion Files

Organizing Laundry- How to Air Dry Clothes in Winter

Organizing Papers- When to Go Digital

Organizing with Labels (& Mabel’s Labels $100 Giveaway)

Fix a Leaking/Running Toilet in about 30 Minutes

Organizing Shoes

Organizing a Child’s Closet: What’s Pink and Purple and Giraffe?

Organizing Library Books at Home

Organizing Closets: How I Became a Hanger Snob (And You Might, Too)

Organizing My Purse

Organize Coupons and Paper

5 Productivity Techniques You Didn’t Know Were a Real Thing

Organizing Magazines

How to Be the Most Productive Person in Your Office

Organizing Maintenance- What Staying Organized Looks Like

Why Organizing Isn’t About De-Cluttering


More New Years Organizing Help and January challenges throughout the years gathered here on one page for you.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Stella Lee @purfylle

    This is the first step by step on paper clutter I’ve seen. I conquered the kitchen paper pile a few months ago, it’s just moved but it’s moved to a better spot and it’s NOT in the kitchen. Yeah!

    1. Darla

      Thanks for joining us here. I appreciate the comment. Yay for getting your paper out of your food prep area! Be sure to stick with us the rest of the month. This series is pretty heavy on organizing paper, because that’s what my readers asked for this year. Just “subscribe to blo” and you’ll get a new article in your email box each day of January.

  2. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    Thank you for posting to Motivation Monday!

  3. Denise

    Stopped by to say hi Darla! Great inspiration to get my office done.

  4. Pingback: An Organized Purse Without Any Kid Stuff? It's Possible

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