Hoarding: A Lesson in Organization

The title of this post is a little misleading—I’m not discussing hoarding as a mental illness.  Rather, I’m discussing my habit of “hoarding” certain items, pens and Post-its to be exact.  After struggling to close my desk drawer due to all of the pens that got in the way, I decided it was high time to clean out the desk.  Plus, my husband asked me to (for the same reason), and he never asks me to clean anything (mostly because I’m usually so on top of things like that, it’s rarely an issue).

This is where all of the blogging magic happens my friends:

While this picture is a couple of years old, and the items on top of the desk have changed somewhat, generally it’s the same today.  (Excuse the Filo mess in the picture—it was the only one I had of the desk and I was just too lazy to take a new one.)  I don’t know if you can tell from the picture but the desk is a two-piece L-shape desk, so what you see isn’t even the entire desk.  The side piece that the picture does not show has one drawer and the length that you can see has two drawers.  So three drawers in total is what was in need of a little love and organization.

Here are before pictures:

Drawer #1 – A mish-mash of random items

Drawer #2 – All of my office supplies

The drawer organizer with all of my office supplies. 
You can see how many pens I have accumulated.

The pen stash in drawer #2 doesn’t even include the pens in the pen holder

Drawer #3 – all of my electronic gadgets and accessories

The after pictures:

Drawer #1 – Still a mish-mash of items, but a much neater stash

The drawer organizer after getting rid of all the extra pens and junk

I reorganized my Post-it collection as well.
 I didn’t get rid of any, but just having them organized is a great help

Drawer #2 with all of my office supplies, pens, and Post-its

I grouped, bagged, and labeled all of the electronic gadget accessories. 
There were so many items in there, I could never find what I wanted or what went with what.

The bags are labeled in the following groups:

Misc cords, Misc crap, and External hard drive

Mouse (an extra) and iPad/iPod Touch

Card reader and Sony MP3 player

This Vera Bradley bag (really a makeup brush bag that I made into a pen bag before I found this use) holds all of the cords and accessories I use on a daily basis, such as iPad and iPod Touch cords, camera cord, screen wipes, thumb drives, etc.

Drawer #3 – Not the prettiest drawer but at least I can find items that belong together

So there we have it—a way to keep all of my items organized.  I really need to cut down on buying pens to see if they’ll work.  More often than not, I end up not liking them and keeping them stock piled in a drawer simply because I don’t know what else to do with them (“I’ll use them eventually”).  But I never do, and in the end, I just throw them out anyway.  So not buying them to begin with is really the best way to handle to whole situation.

As for the Post-its—these I do actually use.  A lot.  So they never get thrown away.  I will buy them occasionally, especially if there’s a certain size or style I need.  But I will also buy them if I see a limited-edition style that I like (holiday themes and the like).  A girl can never have too many Post-its.

Now that the desk is more organized, I can move on to other little projects around the house.  And there are so many…


  1. Oh man, your drawers are nothing! I should show you a picture of my desk drawer... so embarrassing!

    I've been meaning to tackle it, but now that we're moving in just over a month, I figure I'll just sort out and clean up while packing... we'll see!

    1. J, yeah, these drawers weren't as bad as they have been in the past but it was just getting to me, all those pens flying every which way when I opened the drawer. It had been on the to do list for a while, but I had to deal with it once the hubby made a comment about it. ;)

  2. Hi Kanalt, I love this post and sympathise! A few years ago I had heaps of pens, pens i'd purchased and gifts. I dealt with this by refusing to buy any pens and it worked! What also helped was starting uni. I have an inability to retain information unless I write it down (hence the love of Filofax), so at uni I use to write though all my lectures and make loads of notes when reading as well. I also use to write all my weekly questions out for seminars. I decided to use this as an opportunity to use up my hideously large pen collection. I would pick a pen and use just that pen until it ran out, then I would pick another and another. In the end I had just five biros left. I didn't make it thorough all the pencils though! Since uni my pen collection has started to grow again but it's much more manageable. It was also really funny when my lecturers would walk around the room and check you had completed the questions set and they would look at my work and see the whole lot written in red, green or purple... I loved the confused look on their faces... but was never going to reveal to them why!

    1. Thanks, Jenny. That's a great way to work through a collection of pens. I figured that we'd use them just because we had them, but it never seemed to work like that -- we got free pends from companies and fundraisers and the like, there just always seemed to be more pens that we could use up at any point. Even bringing them to work doesn't help since there are tons there too! In the end, throwing them out was the only way to get rid of them, though I didn't like wasting them (not to mention the money).

  3. Congratulations on the purging/re-organizing! A drawer (or 3 in this case) at a time is always the way to go before it gets out of hand. I need to do a major purge 2, sometimes 3, times a year myself or I'd be buried in STUFF!

    Does anyone know, where does it all come from?!? (:

    1. Ha - if I knew where it came from, I could keep it at bay! ;) Yes, I have several projects written down and when I get the chance, I tackle one. It's easier to think about it if it's broken down into smaller areas. It's more likely that it will get done too!

  4. Such a great idea putting leads in plastic bags! I have a draw full of leads and never know what is what. Will defo use your method now x

    1. Thanks, BT. I had some of them in printed bags (like makeup bags) but I couldn't remember what was in each bag. Plus, there would be parts of the set that weren't in the bag. It just got to be too confusing. So this works well!

  5. Great Job! Don't ya just love knowing where something is when you're looking for it? I love how you organized it all. Regarding your pens, once I find a favorite, I buy lots and lots. My absolute favorite pen is the Pentel R.S.V.P fine point. Plus you can unscrew them and add a little piece of decorative paper to make them match things. Love this pen. Also, a new favorite is the ball point pens from Vera Bradley. Watch for sales. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Mary! With the pens, I seem to be a "grass is greener on the other side of the fence" person - when I see something someone else has, I think, oh those would be good. Then I buy them, don't like them for some reason and stash them away for "later" use, which enever arrives. So I think I just need to stick with what I know and like to keep from acquiring so many.

  6. I really enjoyed this post, you make organising seem so quick and easy. Then again, maybe it is and it's just me stalling ...:)
    Actually, I might get hands-on my stuff now, using your idea of the ziploc bags. :)

    1. Thanks, Oni! I do find organizing easy, but I live for it, it seems. The quick part depends on how involved the project gets. Fortunately, this one was pretty quick. Good luck withy our project -- I'm honored that I've inspired you! ;-)


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