How to Declutter Your Frightening Writing Space

Albert Einstein

Please excuse my wording, but I have too much crap in my writing area.

My bulletin board is cluttered with post-its, cards, and pins all askew. To make things worse, someone figured my room needed a few empty Amazon boxes, along with the cat’s scratching treehouse, and I haven’t filed bills in six months.

Given that the new year is approaching, and today’s the last Saturday of the year, my thoughts turned to clear out the old to make room for the new. A form of self-care, if your will.

I’m not a clean freak, but even I know when too much stuff is too much. I’d snap a photo of the clutter, but I’m embarrassed.

My daughter gave me a cool “Computer Memo Board.” These are two pieces of acrylic that stick to the left and right side of your laptop or desktop. They are meant as organizational tools. I think this was a hint.

Okay, I’m bypassing the shame so I can show you the memo boards:

My Messy Space. You Get the Picture.


This is the second photo because I had to hang a yellow piece of paper up in the right top corner, so the boards are visible.

According to a study, having “multiple visual stimuli present within the range of one’s view will result in those stimuli competing for neural representation.”

In layman’s terms, the more clutter you can see, the more quickly you’ll find yourself distracted. If I’m distracted with the sticky-notes, bills, and pins, that’s what I’ll see instead of a blank screen ready for new opportunities.

Now, I’m itching to clean and declutter but need to finish this first.

I Googled how to begin decluttering, and I promise I will follow my own advice (after I finish this post).

1. Clear out the top of your desk

Get rid of anything broken or unnecessary. Start with the pens/markers that no longer have ink. Move on to computer accessories: cords that used to go to who-knows-what equipment, flash drives, unused or outdated external hard drives. Eliminate duplicate office products—you only need one stapler and one tape dispenser.

2. Sort the books on your desk by their importance

Keep books on your desk, which you refer to more than once a week: a thesaurus, inspirational, or book on craft.

3. Declutter the Bulletin Board. 

What defines your writing space. (Any guesses about mine?) Choose what you want to display and get rid of anything more distracting than helpful.

4. Improve your storage system

Place your most used items within reach for easy access. Less important tools can be placed in a drawer. If you did #1 above, the task is much easier.

5. Create a wide-open desktop.

This will be difficult for me. I need to be bold and get rid of stuff I can do without. Do I need so many pens out? Can I file half of the bills? Do I need to have two vitamin bottles behind my laptop?

6. Focus on clearing the space and set a timer to do it quickly.

When you’re satisfied that what’s on your desktop is only what you really need at hand when you’re working, remove all of the necessary items and dust your desk and laptop. Use a compressed air can to de-crumb your keyboard, unless you have a silicone cover like mine (which is way old). In that case, shake it out and wash the thing.

Right now, I think I can handle twenty minutes of clearing and cleaning. The desk won’t look like this one, but progress, right?

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash


By clearing and minimizing your writing space, you free up your mind to think more clearly and be more creative.

That alone is worth sorting through some files and tossing out some clutter, don’t you think?

If you have any tips or tricks, share them in the comments!


7 thoughts on “How to Declutter Your Frightening Writing Space”

  1. How would you feel about a messiest workspace competition? I’ve got the bits of paper I haven’t gotten into the recycling sprawled across the floor, the notes to myself on scraps of paper on the computer desk and in front of the printer. The printer mostly collects lists of submissions and rejections, so there’s some logic there. Then there’s the Christmas wrapping paper that hasn’t gotten up to the attic, along with the Christmas decorations we didn’t use but who wants to make a trip to the attic when we’ll just have to go up again when we take the decorations down? Turn a few degrees to the left and you find some of my partner’s exercise equipment, which is hiding some other stuff but I don’t remember what it is anymore. Somewhere in there is a bit of stuff I haven’t taken to the second-hand store yet. But the keyboard’s clear. That’s all that matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your right! All that really matters is an uncluttered keyboard and a place to rest your elbows. I didn’t get into my desk drawers, or the towering stack of Unused Christmas Cards’s, journals and receipts on the printer or the dead pine branches in the vase or the burned out candles in a tower of Pisa, 😆.
      Happy New Year and more room to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. No–if I had anymore room in there I’d only fill it with more junk. You know: dead pine branches, stray cats, the neighbors kids who came over the week before and got lost. We’d better leave bad enough alone.

    I have, at times, made random efforts to improve my character and my habits. In the end, I end up as the same old person. Clutter seems to suit me. It’s not ideal, but then neither am I.

    A good new year to you too.


  3. I am very messy. I have four stories needing a proper ending. 80 journals of notes from 45 years, 1,000 books everywhere. I need one of the TV show to organize my life dear Alvarado.


    1. Wow, what a cache of writing. I’m looking around my desk area and today it looks like a small tornado touched down, lol. PS My first name is Monica or Mona (a nickname), Alvarado is a surname as is my married name, Frazier, hence the AlvaradoFrazier.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like the name Mona. My name is John. Somehow 20 years ago. I turn to Coyote. I will get organized next vacation. I am working on my new story in my spare time. I work the night shift. Hard to find time to write some days. Also babysit my grandchildren in the morning and 4 pm till their mothers can appear. Good to know your name and have fun and be safe.

        Liked by 1 person

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