Putting "The Joy of Less" Into Action

JoyofLess200I'm a clutter queen.  It's something of an affliction for me, the sprawl that creeps across my desk (well, my whole cubicle, really) and onto various surfaces of my house.  You may have read about my experience with Marie Kondo (good for the first book, wonky for the second) and I'm always looking at other approaches, which brought me to  The Joy of Less.  Jay was a bit ahead of the curve when she self-published The Joy of Less and in the years between that book and writing the new fully revised version, she had a child.  Kids put a whole new spin on clutter and the family is a big part of the new The Joy of Less

Unlike Kondo, Jay's philosophy is, "is it useful?" and she uses a method she calls STEAMLINE which begins with Start over and ends with Everything in its place.  We asked Jay to come to the office to see if she could help with the aforementioned clutter.  Below you'll see her technique in action--I'm really pleased with how well her process has stuck.  A note about Part II, the drawer--after we did the surface of my monitor stand, Jay asked if we could possibly do the drawer before she left us--I think my whole desk made her a little crazy and that drawer was something she couldn't quite walk away from once I showed it to her.  I think you'll agree that the transformation is pretty remarkable...

In the beginning...I think poor Francine Jay took a big gulp when she caught sight of my monitor stand in all it's cluttered glory.  I hadn't realized how bad it was until I saw it through her eyes and in a photograph.  Yikes. 


First thing - start over.  This means everything off the surface.  Turned out there were actual layers of stuff, it was kind of like archeology without the awesome finds.  Plastic forks and salt packets?  Not so thrilling.

  MonitorStand_StartOverStep1 - Copy

Everything in a box.  Even the dog couldn't believe how much was on that stand...


A clear surface. Whoa. 


Cue the lights and music-- after employing the other steps including identifying a reason for everything, narrowing down, and setting limits we've reached the final stage of everything in it's place.


One month later... doing pretty good, if I do say so myself.


PART II - The Drawer


Start over...


Modules.  Mine included pens, sticky notes, rubber bands, and personal items like lipsticks, band-aids, and dog poop bags.  It was quite the assortment.


After The Joy of Less makeover


One month later...not quite as neat but nowhere near day one.



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Comments (14)

Great job, Seira! I too have found Francine's STREAMLINE method to be awesome. Thanks for the 30 days later pics -- I can see you've really kept everything pretty neat and usable.

Posted by: Karen T. | Tuesday June 7, 2016 at 2:16 PM

Wow! Inspiring and still looks good. Mine would've be buried again for sure by now. Hmmm...maybe I should try and see how long it lasts?

Posted by: Cari | Friday June 3, 2016 at 11:51 AM

Looks good! Now to get to my desk!! :)

Posted by: Donna | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 6:14 PM

Thanks for all the encouragement and yes, the before was definitely scary! It HAS been easier to keep it up (kind of surprised myself at how well it's going one month in...). Now I need to work on all the clutter in my house...haha!

Posted by: Seira Wilson | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 3:56 PM

The before looks a bit scary.The after looks Fantastic. Surprised there were no drawer dividers in the after to keep things more in line. Otherwise it is wonderful and I also laughed at the dog poop bags. As said above we all or all should have them on hand. Way to go to keep it up a month later. I do find it much easier to keep up once the clutter is cleared out.

Posted by: Chris Pyle | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 11:49 AM

Looks great and you've kept it up. Yay!

Posted by: Carol | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 8:52 AM

I love a Blogger who is REAL. Not only a before and after but an addition 30 days after! Plus she honestly admits to keeping and storing salt packets and dog poop bags in her work drawer...just like the rest of us.

Posted by: Linda | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 8:04 AM

I read Kondo's first book, and found it greatly helped me purge my coat closet and bookshelves. I also have been enjoying Miss Minimalist's blog for years, and recently bought her book but haven't cracked it yet. My home work area and desk drawer look like yours did, and your post and pictures inspire me to deal with it. I think I thought it was hopeless, but now I feel differently. Thanks.

Posted by: Kathleen Casey | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 6:42 AM

Great job following Francine Jay's STREAMLINE method of decluttering your desk! You've inspired me to do the same! I love her books and have learned so much from them. I have them on my Kindle app on my phone and reference them often. Great article!

Posted by: Janice | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 6:20 AM

Hi Seira,
The "after" pics are fantastic! Seems like you and Francine had fun decluttering your workspace. Should be easy to keep it neat and tidy now. So, what's next? :)

Posted by: DUANE MYERS | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 5:45 AM

Seira... Great job keeping it "working". Francine's approach is great! Her book is excellent.
You never know, you might just take this approach to your home. I did! 😉

Posted by: Ann | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 5:43 AM

Congratulations!! Your desk looks awesome!!! Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Natalie Moreland | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 5:06 AM

Ahhh, isn't it awesome being able to find things when you need them? That's my fav part of decluttering. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Heather | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 3:24 AM

Beautiful make-over! Great pix!!

Posted by: kbrebes | Thursday June 2, 2016 at 1:45 AM

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