Decluttering Sequim’s Messiest Desk

Gigi Christensen always wanted a desk in the kitchen area and when she and her family moved to Sequim last fall, she got her wish. However, things did not go as planned.


“I had not seen that desk surface since move-in day back over Labor Day last year,” Christensen said.

Before long, the desk area became a “catch-all” and virtually unusable. In her entry for the Sequim’s Messiest Desk contest, Christensen wrote, “This desk has become my dumping ground. Help! I could run my home so much more efficiently if I could actually find things.”


As the winner of the contest, Christensen received a one-hour initial assessment with The Declutter Lady.

We first talked about who she is and what she does. Christensen, in addition to homemaking with her husband, Gerry, and two children, Annika and Erik, is a holistic nutritionist and plans to establish her work-from-home business once things are more settled. After learning about the family lifestyle, we talked about how the kitchen desk would be used.


Knowing the purpose of the space is crucial to setting it up to be effective. Christensen sees the kitchen desk as a hub, a base of operations for her family. “We keep track of activities on my calendar, which was always on the desk, but not always easy to find,” she said. Christensen also has several projects in the works and needs to follow up with different aspects of these projects.


Once the purpose of the space was established, it was time to jump in and declutter.


We set up our basic decluttering tools, which included two plastic file boxes and a trash bin. Using a timer to keep us focused, we started by clearing EVERYTHING off the desk and putting it all in one of the file boxes. After we dusted the desk surface, we began sorting the items by drawing one item at a time out of the box and making the decision where it should go. It quickly became evident that most of the items belonged elsewhere.


Once the file box that contained the clutter was empty, we had a nearly full box of things that belonged someplace else and about a dozen “action items” that we placed in a desk tray (also known as an inbox). We set up a desktop filing system so that these papers are accessible, but not cluttering the desktop. The desktop unit holds hanging folders that, in this case, were labeled “Projects,” “Urgent,” “Correspondence,” “To Order” and one for each child. We customize the system for each client, so everyone may not have the same labels.


The system works in conjunction with a planner/calendar. We first identified what each item in the inbox was; then the next action required (such as a follow-up phone call), and finally determined when the action had to take place. Christensen chose to use “sticky” notes posted in her calendar on the date she wants to take the action. She also noted in which folder the item was located.


At the end of the two-hour session, Christensen had a decluttered, efficient and effective kitchen desk — just what she always wanted.


“The process that Brenda taught me for tackling such piles was easy and stress-free,” Christensen said. “The best part is that we have put a system in place that should ensure that things don’t pile up there again. Now that it is clear, the energy in the room flows more freely and I will be able to run a more efficient ship.”


Contact Brenda Spandrio at or call 360-504-2520.