31 Days of Decluttering, Day Two: Top of the Dresser (Finish What You Start)

Dresser Before & After Declutter

Welcome to Day #2 of 31 Days of Decluttering.

Today’s project was a quick one. Remember I said some would be big (like the toy closet yesterday) and some would be short & simple? Well, this project was the latter. After all, it’s Friday and I barely have time to shower before Shabbat comes in at what feels like 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

Also. I came up with a new rule today for this challenge (for life?): You have to finish what you start. If clutter is bad, you know what’s worse? Clutter piled up all over your bed, because you decided to declutter, but then ran out of time. And so in order to go to sleep that night, you throw all the clutter on the floor. And then your electric bill, which was in that pile of clutter, gets lost under the bed and you get a late penalty because “out of sight out of mind”. Not that I’ve ever done this. I’m just saying that would be worse.

With such a fertile imagination, you can clearly see why I had to pick a quick project. I decided to do something in my bedroom – and while the drawers and closets certainly need their own decluttering, the most obvious culprit was the top of the dresser. (I’m not going to say if that’s my dresser or my husband’s dresser. Suffice it to say that if it wasn’t mine, I had the rightful owner’s full blessing to declutter.)

Of all the things that you could pick on about this crime scene on top of our dresser, there are two that stand out to me: First, the lava lamp. Do you see it? We bought that for our boys’ room at Aldi the week we moved in to our house. IN AUGUST. It was broken from the moment we opened it and has therefore been sitting on the top of this dresser ever since. Logical, right?

The second thing that stands out is the baskets. There are actually two of them (I’m not sure if you can tell that from this picture.) These were my attempt — two months ago! — to contain the clutter.

I had clearly forgotten the most important lesson about clutter: You.can.not.organize.clutter. Instead of organizing it, those baskets served as magnets for more clutter; and when they filled up, the clutter just laid itself all over the top of the dresser.

Like with the toy closet, I took everything off the dresser – and cleaned the top of it. Shiny!

Then I started sorting thru the stuff that was on there. A lot of recycling. Some shredding (documents we didn’t need, but which had our name and address on them). A few random screws and lots of spare change. I tossed/recycled/shredded 80% of what was up there. I filled a basket with odds and ends that we needed to keep, but that clearly didn’t belong in our bedroom (like those random screws) – and rehomed them.

When it was time to put things back on the dresser, I realized there was nothing left – so I just left the dresser bare. I admit that it does look a bit austere – like I need to hang a picture on the wall or put a candle up there. But for now, I’m just reveling in that clear surface!

Public accountability helps, my friends. So please: Leave a comment below and let us know what you have decluttered today!

31 Days of Decluttering

Do you, too, feel the need to get a handle on your house? Join me for the 31 Days of Decluttering challenge! Maybe you’re willing to take on one project a day (remember: small ones count!). Perhaps you’d rather pick four projects, and give yourself a week to work on each of one. Maybe you just want to tackle your basement for once and for all. It’s all good! Everyone is welcome to join.

Day One: Decluttering the Toy Storage Closet


  1. Ahava Steinbauer says

    I am decluttering my desk because the workspace is getting smaller and smaller! Thanks for the tips!

  2. Wow. Go Mara go! my dresser needs constant upkeep and decluttering as our master bedroom is the dumping grounds for all our kids stuffffffffffffffffff. By the way what did you do with all the crafts stuff in the toy closet.

    • Mara Strom says

      I hear you – we are the dumping ground, too! Ugh!

      The craft stuff got divided — the crayons and paper went into a lidded tub in that game closet. The “dangerous” stuff (scissors, markers, glitter, tape, etc.) went into lidded tubs and got stored on a book shelf in my office. We have a “kids desk” in my office – with the soon-to-be kids’ computer and work space for their homework; my daughter has been using that stuff on this desk for the last couple of days. So far, so good – but I know this stuff is all subject to change.

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