Simple Saturday – Cindy’s Desk

Saturday is fast becoming a confession day for Cindy but if she is willing to keep sending me these pictures who am I to not use them.  I am quite willing to take anyone else’s confession if you are willing to send me your before and after shots. I promise I will be kind and not allot too much in the way on penance, maybe a couple of extra mini missions.

The before shot of Cindy’s desk

Putting things away when you are finished using them is not always easy to do when you have two children and a husband to care for and a part time job. At some point though the mess will catch up with you and instead of a couple of extra seconds here and there you find yourself with a twenty minute clean up task to deal with.


Cindy wrote – It had been looking this bad for at least a week, but I was shocked when I looked at the before photo. As we’ve discussed before, if you have trouble “seeing” your clutter, a photo will certainly bring things into focus for you. The great thing about this cleaning was, because almost everything on my desk actually has a home I was able to declutter two items, re-homed seven things, put a half dozen papers in the recycling bin, and dust my desk all in twenty minutes.

The after shot of Cindy’s desk

Quite an improvement don’t you think and only twenty minutes of effort. Good job Cindy!

Cindy After

Cindy you are a trooper. Thank you again for your before and after shots they are an inspiration to those who have given up hope of ever having a tidy home.

You are probably starting to think that I am very secretive about my own clutter but I have been up front from the beginning that my clutter is mostly hidden clutter and for the duration of married life I have always been a bit of a neat freak. I have added photos of both my husbands desk and mine for reasons of transparency. My husband’s desk is almost as usual clutter free except for that roller-blind that fell down some months ago that requires the ladder to replace and we just haven’t gotten around to it. While my desk has a project in progress but my white board could do with a bit of a declutter. Like Cindy said things look a lot worse when you see them through the lens of a camera.

Steve’s Desk                     My craft desk

Steves DeskColleens Craft Desk

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. I think Steve’s desk is immaculate, and your desk looks exactly like a tidy desk with a project going on it. My desk, I’m happy to report, looked as good this morning when I left as it did in the second photo.

    I’ve vowed to start on our shed. Now that will yield some dramatic before and after photos. It will ceratinly be a gradual decluttering. I looked at it the other day and immediately felt overwhelmed. Then I reminded myself how quick and easy it would be to clean just one shelf, then another shelf, then the close right hand corner and then the rear right hand corner. One thing and a time, one step at a time.

    • Hi Cindy,
      you could do progression shots as well as before and after and I could post them each week so we can all track your progress. It will be inspiration for all to see and at the same time encourage you to stay on track. I like it! Maybe I should do the same but my garage is an ever changing rotation of outgoing stuff with a bunch of “kids take it with you when you leave stuff” and husband stuff. I don’t think there is much out there that belongs to me just a lot of stuff I have to figure out how to best get rid of.

  2. Oh, I so understand a cluttered desk and craft table. Mine have both been piles for several months now. I have been in the process of getting projects done and out of here as a part of decluttering. Along with that has been the holidays and the usual events to plan and execute, various repair jobs on the house, and numerous doctors appointments and procedures. I’ve felt like I was going to go nuts but there just wasn’t anywhere else to put things. I am finally seeing the top of things and I am sooooo glad.

    Cindy, I know what you mean about the shed. We have two. The repair guys just threw stuff in the back one. Now I have to get in there and see what we need to keep and what can be recycled. The insulated one is an ongoing project as we unload the things I am donating, selling, gifting. It’s almost decluttered. I’m so excited.

    • Hi Deb J,
      you should see my craft desk when I am in the process of designing a greeting card. Not to mention Steve’s desk and office chair if he isn’t home to stop me spreading out. Designing can be a messy business when you are trying to use up what supplies you have rather than buying to suit a design. It is fun though making nice things and decluttering all at once.

    • We still have stuff in our shed that Mr. Boyd left behind when he sold us the house almost 9 years ago. He’s gone from this world now, but his misc. collection of belts and hoses lives on.

  3. Great job Cindy! It is so easy to just let things build up–clutter included. You did an excellent job of corralling the chaos however, and that is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

    I work on my kitchen table so I have to clean it off whenever I want to work on anything else. The only item I use on a daily basis there is my laptop, but there are days when the cellphone, PDA, Magicjack phone, lotion, papers and whatnot get scattered all over it! When it gets distracting I close up the laptop, put it away and place everything in it’s place before washing the table off and starting anew!

    I love Steve’s desk and your craft table! They both look really nice and neat–and easy to locate things! Thanks for the pics!

    • Hi Annie,
      There is more to Steve’s desk than meets the eye. The desk is actually a 1500mm (5 foot) x 900mm (3 foot) dining table. When we bought it we were at a stage where we had digitised our billing process to the point that we no longer needed a filing cabinet so he wanted something without drawers. The theory was – no drawer no clutter. Underneath is the best feature though. He repurposed a black powder coated mesh frame meant as a tool organiser by attaching it under the desk to which he has attached a power board whose lead is the only one you see coming down from under the desk. All other leads are neatly rolled and also attached to the frame by Velcro straps or zip ties. It is so tidy under there.

  4. I understand. My desk is never clutter-free. But, I did cleaned out my closet. I realised that I don’t need anymore shirts and pants. It looks so organized now!

    • Hi Nurchamiel,
      Now that your closet is done you will be able to concentrate on getting that desk organised. I am looking forward to hearing about your success with this project Don’t forget to take some before and after photos to share with us.

    • It’s easy to keep buyins and buying clothes far beyond our needs, isn’t it?

  5. Great pictures! I feel guilty for not doing anything to my cluttered desk. I’m suffering from decluttering fatigue syndrome or something. Or maybe the freezing cold temperatures (-25C) are draining my motivation to declutter. The only thing I managed to declutter this week is one kitchen drawer. Does it count as a mini mission if you read a decluttering book? 😉 I’m reading “The Life Laundry” by Dawna Walter.

    • Hi Anne,
      you just know I am not going to let you get away with that. Bobbing up and down decluttering is sure to warm you up a little and you will forget how cold it is. It is kind of like taking a swim when the water is cold, the hard part is throwing yourself into it in the first place. Once you get over the initial discomfort it can be quite pleasant. I had the same lack of enthusiasm for doing my ironing this week but I bit the bullet and just went for it. I felt better for not sitting around doing nothing and was very happy that I finally got it our of the way.

      • All right, all right! I decluttered the entry way, emptied an old cupboard, decluttered the contents and carried the cupboard out of the apartment (three flights of stairs!). Am not cold anymore, that’s for sure! And it does feel nice to get pieces of furniture out of the apartment. More space and less clutter.

        • Hi Anne,
          you are a declutter champion! You just need a little nudge every now and again to which you always respond above and beyond any expectation. Like a pain killer is the cure for a headache taking action is a miracle cure to the agony of procrastination and you feel a whole lot better for your efforts. It is my drug of choice. Whenever I find myself sitting around feeling like crap just get up and take action on any task that gets me moving and the blood pumping. Not only does stuff get done but I am getting exercise at the same time.

  6. Great pics; I find these sorts of posts very inspirational. Here are some ‘before’ ones taken last September – prepare for shock!

    • Hi Mrs Green,
      Ok! That really was scary! When do we get to see the after shots?

      • Well it’s really weird; I just went through the archives and can’t find the ‘after’ pic. Never mind, that was back in September, a LOT has happened since then and my desk isn’t even there any more! But yes, things are pretty dire again and it’s spurred me on to get back on track ..

  7. I worked on my craft closet for 1.5 hours today. I posted a before about a week ago and cannot wait to get to the after. 🙂 Your after looks great!

    • Hi Megan,
      I can’t find any evidence that you have commented here before so I would like to bid you a hearty welcome and I hope you are enjoying my blog. I went to find your craft closet before shot and couldn’t find it on your blog. What day did you post it so I can take a peak?

  8. My DH and I share a desk and it looks more like the Before pics. The long range plan is separate desks as he is not so bothered by stuff all around, but I am now inspired to look for some interim solutions this week. Usually I just put all the stuff in a pile when I want to use the desk but of course the pile never gets sorted. If it were mine I could file and make decisions but you just can’t do that with someone else’s stuff.

    • Hi Delores,
      it is so hard when the people around you are not so minimalist as yourself. I have been very lucky during the minimising process because everyone around me has been so cooperative. Even my daughter concedes to sorting through a box or two every time she comes home for a visit. My husband has been a real champion but we have a goal to travel a lot once he retires and we figure that the less we own the easier it will be to store it if we decide to run off for months on end. Hopefully once your hubby sees how much more efficient your space is becoming due to your minimalist habits he may naturally start to move towards your way of doing things. Fingers crossed for you.