Creating a Joyful Workspace

Before I began “tidying” according to Marie Kondo’s method in “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, I de-cluttered A LOT.  As I’m going through things now, I am increasingly glad I did that.  In a way, this new method just feels like “fine tuning” what I did already. Yet I’ve been surprised at how much there still is to donate/throw away in each category.

Office supplies were no exception!  This category overlapped a little bit with the “papers”

office supplies
My beginning pile, and Lily the troublemaker chewing on the corner of a plastic bag.

category, and I’m fairly certain that I tossed some office related stuff when I went through papers.  Nonetheless, I gathered every office supply type thing (think about all the places you keep PENS) and made a pile. Honestly, I was surprised at how big this pile was.  It really is true that you don’t realize how much stuff you have until you gather it all in one place.  This is one of the many reasons I’m a big fan of the “tidy by category” process.


For whatever reason, pens were the hardest thing for me to sort through.  Maybe because I’ve always had a weird fascination with office supplies.  I remember going to my Dad’s

just pens
Not pictured: All the colored pencils, markers and crayons I finally parted with OR my Sharpie collection (which I kept, OBVIOUSLY).

office when I was little and marveling at the rainbow of post it notes and new pens in the supply closet. (Confession: I similarly enjoyed the supply closet at my first grown up job after college.)  And may I just say: I had A. LOT. OF. PENS. (See to the left.)

As always, once I got going, things went pretty easily.  My beloved Sharpie collection stayed of course, as it makes me exceedingly joyful. It was hard to part with things like markers and crayons.  That’s the kind of thing I’m always tempted to hold onto for kids if we have them.

sharpie joy
Yay, Sharpies!!

LUCKILY, I have an adorable niece and nephew, so I can add those types of things to the toy box I keep here for them. In this case, I made a little bag of goodies for my 3 y/o niece. It makes me happy to know that things I don’t use will be put to use by creative kid minds!

office supply donation pile
Donation/Giveaway pile

My donation/give away pile was pretty small.  I had some supplies that were still in original packaging, or that still worked but that I knew I wouldn’t be using.  I did not snap a picture of the trash bag, but it was pretty much FULL.

When I was done, I had a small pile of office supply items for downstairs (envelopes, stamps, packing tape, etc).  I was able to put the remaining items neatly into our printer cabinet and into my top two desk drawers.  Pictures below!

downstairs office suppliesprinter cabinet

Pens, address labels, envelopes, an extra pair of scissors, packing tape and those little thinga-ma-bobs you stick to furniture so it slides or doesn’t slide or whatever went downstairs.  There was also a drastic improvement in printer cabinet storage space.

desk drawer 1desk drawer 2

My desk drawers are FINALLY neat and I know exactly what I have and where everything is.  Desk drawers always seem to have the most potential for junk build up.  Not anymore! (Although as I’m looking at these pictures, I’m asking myself: did I need to keep THAT MANY paperclips?)

In any case, it feels like I’m really making progress.  Now when I’m tidying, I often come across items that are in a category I haven’t organized yet.  It helps when I come across those things to remember that I still have to go through them, and I’ll need to make a pile of them someday.  So instead of shoving that thing back in a desk drawer where it doesn’t belong, I can go put it next to something in the same category.  (I found some random dice in my desk.  Normally, I would have just thrown them back in there, but instead, I put them in the cabinet with all our games.)

I think my favorite thing about this session is how light and happy my work space feels now.  I have loved writing again, and having a tidy desk and a space to work that feels funjoyful desk space and pretty and inspiring to me is fantastic.  It makes all the exciting little ventures I’m getting into that much more exciting somehow. Clearing out my desk has somehow cleared out my brain even more for creativity.  There are still some items on my desk that probably won’t survive the rest of my tidying–my shelves are still a bit cluttered.  But I know that I’m close, and this space will only become more and more joyful.

I love what this process does to my mindset.  It forces you to search for joy.  I have found that even if I’m grumpy when I start a new category, I don’t feel that way any more by the time I’m done.  Again, thankfulness is being cultivated.  Not only that, but I’m living in the moment, in the here and now.  I’m not wishing I had a bigger office space that I could design from scratch like I used to. While there’s no denying that would be fun, I’m so focused on how thankful I am for this little corner of the room, there’s no room for discontentment.

What a great lesson.  When you fully focus on the here and now and make a concerted effort to find joy, you will see that it’s all around you.  Today is all we have, and life is made up of all these ordinary moments that sometimes feel mundane.  They don’t have to be.  They can be filled with wonder instead.  As one of my favorite devotionals (My Utmost for His Highest) read this week, “One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ.”

Until next time,





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