Your Clutter Quotient


Just hearing the word causes my OC side to cringe.

No. This is not my office. I wasn't brave enough to show you the real thing.

Living amidst clutter can drive me to distraction.

And yet at present my desk is buried beneath an avalanche of papers, books, and more.

Why is that?

Despite my best intentions, there are times when I can’t keep up, and the piles proliferate.

Christmas came, our daughter visited, and my edits arrived, all in a one-week window.

The bounteous holiday greetings, glossy catalogs, and end-of-the-year financial statements began as a mound but quickly turned into Mt. McKinley.

The decorations are down, our daughter’s back at college, and I’ve returned my edits.

Now I face Operation Muck-Out-the-Office. Thankfully I’ve been exercising daily for the past two months, so I have the strength and stamina needed to mount my attack.

While you’re reading this post, I’m cranking classic 70s soft rock and digging out.

Wish me luck!

• • •

Are you so organized that Mr. Monk would feel at home in your writing area, or would he have a heart attack if he got so much as a peek into your space?

What are your tips for taming the paper tiger?

image from iStockphoto

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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21 Responses to Your Clutter Quotient

  1. Katie Ganshert says:

    I hate clutter when it’s visible. I’m all about shoving things in drawers or closets. Which drives my hubby crazy because he loathes junk drawers.

  2. Ugh, I hate clutter too, but that’s just what many rooms in my house have become…cluttered. I need to just put a day aside to fix it, but when it comes to it, I’d so much rather be writing. Or reading. Or, you know, ANYTHING else.

    Good luck!

  3. Donna Pyle says:

    I’m with you! Interestingly, clutter begins to weigh on my mind even when I don’t see it. Like a gnat that adds to stress. Not nice. My study is neat, but my desk a complete shambles. One of these days… 🙂

  4. Yes!! Can’t stand clutter either. But at the moment, I have more pressing things that need attention so I have to put invisable blinders on for now. I do try to keep some semblance of order by organizing my clutter into pretty, little piles. 🙂 Didn’t used to be quite as challenging to maintain my normally tidy office.

    Taming the paper tiger? Because we live outside of town, I have a bonfire in the spring and burn what I can discard so that gives me hope. And roasting marshmallows at the same time is a good motivator, too.

    Have a happy weekend, Keli!

  5. Oh, you’re going to feel so good Keli! Nothing like a clean office. I share an office with my husband, and his side is neat as a pin. My side is a crazy woman’s den. I can keep a clean desk for a while, but as soon as I get into research (while still writing) or having to multitask with smaller writing projects (while writing my main project) it gets out of control. I think it’s because I don’t want to stop the creative flow to file. We all know how easy it is to procrastinate the writing by getting off on some task. I know if I stop to clean, I won’t get back to the writing. It’s weird cause I can clean the toilet and come back. But if I start cleaning my desk, I’m doomed and will end up playing on the internet afterwards. And later? There’s more important things… dinner…..or t.v. Thankfully I get guests often enough that it does get a good periodic straightening and cleaning. In the meantime, it’s a bother. And I’m sure a time gobbler.

  6. Congratulations on the tag from Florence in the City for the Versatile Blogger Award! I stopped by on her recommendation and am so glad to find you. I’m digging down on a cleanup binge to jazz this morning and may move to Roy Orbison when I can see the floorboards – I know, oooh edgy, but I highly recommend belting out the lyrics to ‘Working for the Man’ as background music for space chaos.

  7. I can’t work in clutter. Drives me nuts. Though what the eye doesn’t see, the heart can’t grieve over. It’s always clean at the coffee shop. 🙂

  8. I’m not a fan of clutter, but when I’m working things scatter about looking cluttered, but really it’s not. Each night, when I’m done working. I clean it all up so it’ll be fresh the next day. I can’t work in clutter! 🙂 However, don’t ask me about my hall closet.

  9. Anne Payne says:

    I’m not a writer but I have clutter, lots of clutter! But this is so funny! Before I even read this post I had walked into my room earlier and thought “Oh my, it exploded in here over the holidays. I need to clean this up!” I guess I had put the blinders on for several weeks 🙂 After I finished, I came back to read your newest post and it’s about clutter. The Lord knows just what I need right when I need it! Now I’m off to get rid of the clutter on my kitchen counter. thx…

  10. Jill Kemerer says:

    I’ve been clearing out junk for three weeks! I can’t take clutter. I finally attacked the closet in my office, and I couldn’t believe it, but I filled three garbage bags of trash. How?? Who knows.

    Best wishes with the decluttering and the edits. 🙂

  11. Keli, funny you should mention clutter. I can tunnel vision for just so long and then my COD takes over and I can’t think unless I clear the decks. Worked with a real clutter queen and one summer while she was on vacation my fellow director and I had her office CLEARED. I mean it took her until Christmas to find some of her files. In protest she bought and posted up behind her desk this sign: IF A CLUTTERED DESK IS THE SIGN OF A CLUTTERED MIND, WHAT IS THE SIGN OF AN EMPTY DESK?

    • Julie Nilson says:

      I like that! I think I’m going to make a sign like that and put it in my office. Although my husband, who keeps a very neat desk, may take offense… 🙂

  12. Rita Garcia says:

    I with you, I hate clutter. But sometimes it sure sneaks up on me. Wishing you luck with mucking it out!

  13. Sadly, I’ve often referred to myself as the “Queen of Clutter” (a title I am NOT proud of!). 😉 It isn’t that I LIKE clutter – – it just seems to “happen” despite my good intentions and attempts to tackle it now and then. But 2012 is the year I am DETERMINED to tackle my clutter and keep it at bay! 🙂 ** I hope this doesn’t sound like my home is a pig sty, LOL – – it really isn’t! I’m mainly referring to a few closets and desk areas *sigh*. Hugs, Patti Jo

  14. i don’t like clutter. i don’t like piles of stuff, which was why i was posting all those pics on facebook of the piles of paperwork i had waiting on me when i got back from 3 weeks of vacation. yikes!! but i worked diligently and got it all taken care of before the week was out. i was like super woman!!

  15. Julie Nilson says:

    I don’t like clutter… exactly. But I can’t put everything away. If it’s something that I need to take action on, I need to leave it out. Otherwise, out of sight, out of mind.

    As a result, I have little stacks everywhere. Stacks of receipts that need filing, stacks of papers for the kids’ school, stacks of notes for my manuscript, etc. It used to drive my husband crazy, so he would gather up all my stacks and put them in one big stack on my desk, and then that would drive me crazy. He learned early on in our relationship that he’d better keep his hands off my stacks!

    So now our arrangement is that he has his own office, which is so tidy it looks like a demo at a furtniture store (except for the Star Wars figure dangling from his lamp). That settles his need for order and I get to keep my stacks.

  16. Love the 70s rock music! My desk is pretty good right now though I gave up half of it for folders if we build a house. But I don’t sit there much,do my writing in my chair.

  17. Marji Laine says:

    Nothing stresses me more than clutter, and yet there are hot spots all over my house! And NO! Mr. Monk isn’t allowed within 100 yards of my house OR my van! Wouldn’t want to give the guy a coronary!

  18. I don’t function well when I’m surrounded by clutter — it makes me feel unorganized and frazzled. But I’m not a fanatic housekeeper, either, so I have to compromise. When clutter creeps up on me I find it useful to tackle one project at a time, and tackle it before it reaches overwhelming proportions. My best tools for containing paper in the office are colourful file folders and matching coloured Sharpies. 🙂

    When I finally complete a project it feels so good that I often feel like starting another one.

    Good luck with the clean up!

  19. bethkvogt says:

    Truly, I hate clutter … but you wouldn’t know it to look at my office.
    So, I’ve hired my 2 oldest daughter to be my assistants. They are helping me tame all the papers and the files and the piles. And they are good at it. Sometimes it takes a team!!

  20. Gina Conroy says:

    I’m in the declutter stage after my book launch which means I’ve added more piles of papers to the piles that were already in my office. I hate trying to reorganize new stuff, but I’ve made some headway and hope declutter enough I can start back writing!

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