Take the Challenge :: Go Clean Out a Drawer

I challenged myself to do one small thing: clean out my desk drawer.  I have one very useful desk drawer with my desk, and it had become a conglomeration of a mixed number of useless items layered in and amongst needed tools.  So….I emptied the drawer, sorted items, added back only what was needed, and challenged myself to organize with ONLY those little bins, boxes and tools I could find around my home, and put the drawer back together.  Much better!
I thought I’d share a few pictures….because a small thing like cleaning out a desk drawer can really be inspiring!  And it really does contain some of my favorite tools!
Post-it Notes.  What can I say?  I use them everywhere!  In planning, to leave myself notes on my planner, as book tabs.  Post-it notes have endless uses!  Here are a few of my favorite Post-it notes:
Alright, before someone calls the Post-It Note intervention hotline, let’s move on.  🙂
  • Book Darts – these were a gift one year and I really like using them.  They are especially useful in marking pages and catalogs that I might want to tuck into a bag or purse because of their diminutive profile.
  • Corner-rounder Punch – mine is an old Creative Memories Punch and is hard to punch.  I really like the leverage and ease of use of the Martha Stewart punch. 
  • Victorian Clips – VERY heavy duty clips and the little hole on the back allows me to hang them on a nail or hook to hold a large group of papers.  They’re more useful around here than I would have ever thought!
  • Bulldog clips – favorite multi-purpose clip (mine are x-acto, #2)
  • Rubber bands and rulers – both indispensable
  • Assorted thin masking tape in various colors and widths.  I’ve had these for years.  We use them for everything….including lines of demarcation on tables:

This is a good top down view of my desk drawer – LEFT SIDE:


  • Stapler, hole punch, staple remover
  • Little round container of random junk that ALWAYS seems to float in my drawer and now has a place to land.
  • Various tapes (acid free transparent and double sided are always in my drawer)
  • Highlighters
  • Calculator
  • Bone folder
  • And those little brass items (5 of them) between the “random stuff” bowl and the staple remover….those are holy card holders! 

I use them to display a holy card on our feast table or my desk.  Very handy to have, and I picked them up at a Catholic book store years ago and have never been able to find them since.  If you know where to find holy card holders – please link in the comments!!!!  {Edited to add a link to the holy card holder! Thanks to a reader of mine, Lori, for seeing them and linking to them in the comments.  They’re $1.00 for a holder at Leaflet Missal.}

Now…..don’t laugh…..

  • Individually wrapped alcohol wipe squares.  Just plain ‘ol alcohol wipes.  You can pick these up very inexpensively the next time you’re at the market – they’re tucked away in the pharmacy section.  These are quite possibly the handiest tool to have in the home!  I keep a box in a drawer in my kitchen, several tucked in a small bag in my purse, and always have a stocked box in my learning room!  An alcohol wipe will do the following and more:
    • Clean pencil and pen marks off of virtually any surface
    • Clean crayon marks
    • If you get to it fast enough, it will remove Sharpie marker from a surface…but you have to be fast.  I’m just sayin’. 
    • Remove sticky residue – my sworn enemy
    • Disinfect and clean a glass microscope slide
    • Clean your laptop keyboard, kindle keypad, any keyboard/pad….and especially that little trackpad where icky-fruit-snack-fingers have been cruising.
    • Clean a hand lens/magnifying glass
    • Clean the backside of a dusty CD or DVD
    • Remove residue from a dry erase board (only in a small place with the little alcohol square, but a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a paper towel will clean your dry erase board to sparkling-fresh-newness!)
    • Cleaning the residue and gunk left on scissor blades thus rendering them ineffective, blunt and frustrating – just {carefully!!!} wipe with an alcohol wipe and voila!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my clean desk drawer!  I used non-slip shelf liner to line my drawer, and it is such a help in keeping things from sliding around!!!  I found a stash of it with my husband’s garage tools.  Isn’t he generous with me?  🙂  I wish it were a prettier color besides….black.  Mental note: I must speak to my husband about prettier color choices in his garage!  Where is the turquoise?  The coral?  Heck, I’d be happy with white!  But, I did challenge myself to use what I had – so….black it is.  🙂

This little clean-up and re-org took me a grand total of 30 minutes from dump to closing the drawer!  I’m challenging you!  Pick one drawer today and go clean it out and re-organize it!  Use only those things around your home to help you organize.  It’s a little thing, completely do-able, and very refreshing!

Happy drawer tidying!  🙂

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  1. You are uber-organized and I love it! I've missed you my friend, but I'm finally back online. I completely overhauled my bookcases – you know which ones I'm talking about! The books are in boxes on the floor, the shelves are empty, and I can't wait to re-shelve them!

  2. Oh goodness, those holy card holders would be very well-used in my household.

    I thoroughly enjoy your challenge – perhaps I will do likewise. There's a junk drawer in the kitchen that is driving me nuts!

  3. {{{{{PAULA}}}}}}}}

    What a treat to *see* you again! I've missed you so much dear friend!!!!!!!

    Oh, I'm smiling big thinking of all the fun we would be having if we were sharing hot chocolate and having fun re-shelving all your delightful books! Have fun!

    And, Kim @ Transitus Tiber….
    How exciting that you're considering your junk drawer! Now, THAT could be a really worthwhile undertaking!

    Bless all your efforts today, ladies! 🙂

  4. I love this challenge!! Your drawer looks AMAZING! I love being organized and clean, just wish I could squeeze in more of it.
    Peace and Raw Health,

  5. Haha! I love those alcohol swabs, too! I thought I was the only one! Although, I have to confess that I sneak them from my husband's medicine cabinet…

  6. Jen – you are the only person I know who can write a lovely post about POST-ITS! LOL The office supply geek in me is right there with you! Now, if I just had a DESK… LOL 😉

  7. From Angel:
    >> Jen – you are the only person I know who can write a lovely post about POST-ITS! << LOL!!!!!!!!! This would be embarrassing to any other person….but me! LOL!!! What is it about Post-It notes that makes them so scrumptious? The not-permanent nature of them? How pretty they are in spite of their temporary-ness? The myriad of shapes and sizes? I don't know why they're so delicious – but if they invent much more cuteness I'm going to have to 12-step my way away from the Post-It aisle in Staples! LOL!!!!

  8. this is one organized drawer! I lovelove all the post it notes in all the different colors and shapes. did not know they came in triangles. I have some in star-shaped and they get much ((craft)) use. love those holy card holders. I use photo holders, you know the ones that look like a tree with lots of braches. I found some small ones that have two branches and they holy the holy card perfectly. thanks for sharing your beautiful drawer!! now to go look at my own and see what I can do.

  9. Your post motivated me to do something in my house. I spent 3 weeks in Mexico and on my return, I spent the first week unpacking and cleaning just my son's room and kitchen. I had a to prepare for a final and neglected my home. My office needs major organization. But hopefully next month I will get to do a little at a time.

  10. What great timing – I currently have all the contents of a catch-all kitchen drawer spread out on the kitchen floor for sorting!

    I was reading about The Way Things Work on your blog, and am totally stealing this idea for my ds10 who is fascinated by machinery, how things work, etc. Thank you!

  11. Lori,
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!!!

    Yes, those are the holy card holders exactly!!! I'm so grateful you remembered me and linked to them! I edited my post to include your link.

    God bless you!

  12. I received my order of the holy card stands from Leaflet a few days ago. They are the PERFECT weight, size, etc. A new gadget to admire…
    Thought 10 would be plenty, but my 2 children have absconded them for their own prayer cards in their rooms! I should be angry considering the price of shipping, but this truly does delight the heart of a Catholic homeschooling mother! A good “problem” to have. 🙂
    Thanks for showing them off so that the rest of us could partake in the joy of this perfect little tool!

  13. Oh, Lori! I know what you mean! They're really so nice BECAUSE they are so diminutive and out of the way in terms of size. Perfect for holding a little holy card in place. As I was looking at my feast table for Lent, I was thinking that I really do need to order a few more of them! I'm so glad you're enjoying them!

    How wonderful that your children instantly recognized their goodness and whisked them off to their rooms for displaying holy cards! You're right – Deo gratias that these are our problems!

    I'm so glad you discovered them and are enjoying them, Lori! God bless you!

  14. Love the post.
    How do you fit Mass in? We had to drop our morning basket when the church down the road closed. We only have to travel 10 minutes to get to the other church for daily Mass, but it adds just enough time that the morning is gone before I know it.
    The old Prose and Poetry that you posted has a Catholic version that was republished by Seton under the titles World Literature and American Literature. There are some story differences, but most are the same type and quality with many identical stories. The discussion questions are similar, but contain a few more challenges for the Catholic student whose conscience has been formed differently than the secular student.

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