Today I want to share the next step in the ‘Streamline’ process that is outlined the book, “The Joy of Less”.

Make-up module

The concept of modules is that like things are kept together but more than that, it is about creating a group of items required for a particular task or activity.  It could be keeping your knitting needles, wool and pattern all together in one basket so that you can pick up your knitting at any time and know that it is all there.  Perhaps, creating a bill-paying station where you have all of the items required such as pens, stapler, filing box etc.

By keeping like items together this method helps you to identify where you have an unnecessary duplication of items.  An example is pens:  If you have them lying around on various desks, drawers, kitchen bench, side tables etc it is difficult to understand just how many there are.  Gather them up, check to see which ones don’t work (there will be some),and place them all together.  So, do you really need 57 pens?  They last for ages and you probably have more than a lifetime’s supply!  Choose the best 10, keep them together in a convenient and confined spot.  47 pens that have been lying around the house as clutter are gone!!

Once you start thinking in terms of modules you can apply the principle to almost anything in and around your home.

On the weekend, The Duke and I spent quite a bit of time decluttering, sorting and organising the workshop.  It is definitely a work in progress but now we can actually see some of the half-finished projects that had been buried under other things, completely forgotten or simply unable to be worked on due to the clutter on the workbench.  Much of what we did was putting like with like.  There were pieces of baling twine which we keep for various odd jobs.  It seemed like everywhere I turned there was another bit of baling twine but they are now all together in one plastic bag and easy to find when we need a piece.

We have almost finished demolishing the old chicken run and this has entailed removing the side of the woodshed which was adjacent to the run.  The woodshed will remain and a new side panel built to keep the weather out and the wood dry.  This has prompted us to look critically at all of the various piles of wood – everything from tree branches to leftover material from previous building projects.  We are attempting to get all of the suitable firewood in one place in the woodshed so that we can easily access it when needed in the winter months.  One day the firewood ‘module’ will be complete!

The wood is currently in piles to be cut for firewood, stored for future projects or simply of no use and needs to be re-homed or dumped.

Modules create efficiency and also limits.  Whilst the STREAMLINE process is most definitely NOT about rushing out and buying a whole lot of pretty boxes to stash your stuff in, it does help to be able to physically contain your identified ‘modules’.

Stationery module

You probably have ‘modules’ that work for you but that you have not even described as such.  Please share your idea and what works for you.

LIMITS is the next in the series and follows on very neatly from today’s topic.

My Desk


As promised yesterday I have taken some photos of my desk and the drawers.  There are papers and files on my desk during the day but I always pack them up before I leave.  On the extreme left is a vertical file where I keep assorted envelopes and a couple of manilla folders of pending work on the desk.  There is a dual screen monitor with keyboard and mouse.  Other things on the desk are the telephone, rubbish container (we do not have rubbish bins at our desks), block of sticky notes, desk calendar, stapler, calculator, container of pens and filing trays.

To the left of the desk is a small cabinet with 2 drawers and a filing drawer.  This is the top drawer which is mostly stationery items.  There is a bit more in here that can go when I get a chance.  The thing I use most is the paper clips.  I use them for files I am currently working on and once they are completed the papers are shredded and the paper clips go back in the drawer for the next round.  I only use staples when I am sending things to someone else so that I can be sure they do not get separated.

The next drawer has more personal items.  The three containers at the back contain dry crackers, home-made muesli and psyllium husk.  I start work early and generally have my breakfast when I arrive.  The notebook and papers are from a Journal Club I attend.  I have a teatowel and cutlery in one ziplock bag and toothbrush and toothpaste in another.

Beside the drawers is a cupboard with 2 shelves.  This has old files in it and I could probably sort through and discard at least some of them.

Do your habits at home spill over to your work area or vice versa?