Welcome to our Spring-Cleaning Series! If you are just joining us, here’s what you’ve missed so far:

Hi! Thanks for dropping by to take a peek at our mess 😆 !

In my past few posts I’ve been clearing out our Homeschool spaces using my 12-Step Spring Clear-Out Action-Plan which combines/adapts the methods of tidying/minimalism experts Francine Jay, Karen Kingston, and Marie Kondo. My clear-out routine can be applied to each and every area of the home . . . one drawer, one shelf, one cupboard, one closet, one room at a time. Friday, I revealed how I used this plan to bring a breath of fresh air to our Homeschool Hutch, Monday I used it to clear out our Craft Cupboard, and today I just finished using it to declutter the school desks!

This was my favorite clear-out for these reasons:

1.) TOOK JUST OVER 30 MINUTES START TO FINISH (including snapping these photos)!

2.) WAS OH-SO-SATISFYING (school desks really take a beating . . . and why do they always have crumbs in them?? 😆 Our kids never eat at their desks, so I have no idea what that’s about.)

3.) REWARDS OF THIS CLEAR-OUT WILL BE REAPED ON A DAILY BASIS (our kids use their desks every single day, even on weekends!)

Homeschool ~DESK DECLUTTER~ with my 12-Step Spring Clean Routine!

~inspired by the methods of Francine Jay, Karen Kingston, & Marie Kondo~

Step 1: Make a list of the areas of your home that you’d like to spring-clean/declutter.

*All three experts say to start with this. How’s that for clarity?

Step 2: Mark two or three areas on the list that are causing the most daily distress.

*This idea is championed by both Karen Kingston and Francine Jay.

Step 3: Choose one of the “distress” areas to start on and stick with it until completion.

Step 4: Label two large boxes/bins (three if you are tackling a homeschool space) and one large trash bag as follows:

*These labels I have adapted and streamlined from Karen Kingston’s “Box Method”

  • TRASH: items that will be going straight to the dumpster
  • TREASURE: items you will definitely be keeping and returning to the current location
  • TRANSFER: items that need to be removed to various locations, such as items you will be donating, giving to a friend, or simply moving to another location in your home
  • HOMESCHOOL HOARD (if applicable): materials/supplies for homeschooling that you plan to use in the future but do not require immediately

Step 5: Take before pictures.

Can you guess which desk belongs to our toddler? 😆

Step 6: Remove EVERYTHING and place on a large surface (preferably not the floor for both your back’s and sanity’s sake)

*All three experts recommend removing everything area by area, but NOT an entire room . . . cuz yikes.

Step 7: Give whatever surface(s) that is now exposed a lovely vacuum / wipe down/ scrub.

Step 8: Pick up items one by one and DO NOT put them back down until you have made a decision about what box/bag to place it in.

Step 9: When a box/bag fills, address its needs.

*Examples: reorganize the items from the “TREASURE box” back to their home. Take out the “TRASH.” Pick up the “TRANSFER” box and make deliveries around your home.

Step 10: Work until every item has been sorted through the box system filter and you are left with empty boxes/bags to take to the next area on your list.

*Pay special attention to where you place each item using Francine Jay’s “inner circle/outer circle” method.

Step 11: Make it super organized with my DESK DECLUTTERING & ORGANIZATION TIPS below!

Step 12: Take those after pictures and brew yourself a cup of tea!

Here’s our BEFORES & AFTERS!



Ahhhh! For me, this is like opening all the windows in the house on the first warm day of spring.


Desks can clutter up fast! So here are my tips for keeping the school desk as organized and fresh as possible.


  • place lined paper in a binder or folder and show your child how to place a paper in it’s home upon completion
  • OR consider adhering a “paper pouch” to the inside lid of the school desk (this is what we did!)
  • OR consider switching to composition notebooks for all subjects to avoid loose papers altogether


  • ONE pencil
  • ONE eraser

*keep extras in a replacement basket or in the Homeschool Hoard Bin


Keep only in the desk that which gets used everyday. Any workbooks, manipulatives, what-have-yous that are only used once or twice a week, keep in a nearby cupboard.


Things have a tendency to get buried in a school desk. Especially if there is no system in place and it kind of just becomes sort of dumpster. You know . . . the whole toss-it-in-and-slam-the-lid-method 😆 ! What we have learned to do to avoid this sort of dumpster disaster, is to keep workbooks on the left, and whatever we are reading on the right. This way, we only have to lift up one or two books at a time to get at what is at the bottom of the stack versus a pile of mixed up books all in a heap. No fun. Not only does it LOOK so much cleaner this way, it also ensures that our books stay pristine and undamaged. Our toddler hasn’t quite mastered this yet.


If you are decluttering a toddler desk, I have one tip for you: keep is so stinking sparse and simple. A toddler cannot manage putting an entire collection of desk items into their proper homes. I suggest a single tray for coloring books plus a collection of crayons or colored pencils and eraser and placing all into one easy-open container. Keep this coloring tray on one side of the desk permanently, and then keep the other side free and flexible so you can pop in a different activity each day or every few days to keep your tot on her toes! I call this idea “the desk of delights” 🙂 !

Thanks for joining us!


Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~

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