The William Morris Project 2014 | The Bill Drawer, Revisited

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The William Morris Project

Last week I revisited the bill drawer I lasted cleaned out in July of 2012. Yikes!

WM-bill drawer, 1

WM-bill drawer, 5

At least I can say it didn’t look that bad considering it hadn’t been cleaned out in over 20 months.

Bill Drawer, 1

I said it didn’t look that bad; I didn’t say it didn’t look bad. Luckily, it was just a collection of clutter. There wasn’t a problem with the system or how everything was organized.

Bill drawer, 2

I cleared out the paperwork that collected in the middle of the drawer, disposed of old mail (mainly coupons), and organized all our many gift cards in a coin purse. I was surprised by the number of gift cards we have collecting dust.

I also put all the stationery in a box. Because I had stationery and cards of different sizes, I wanted to use a document box. I didn’t have one, so I tried out a shoebox, not expecting it too work. It didn’t. It’s the size of a photo box, and those take up too much room and allow me to keep too much of what I don’t need. I still used it because it bothered me to leave the job so close to being finished.

Bill drawer, 3

Bill drawer, 4

Bill drawer, 5

The next day I went and bought a document box. Much better!

Since most of what was inside the drawer was clutter (old mail/expired coupons) cleaning the drawer out was easy and filled less than 1/3 of a brown shopping bag. It didn’t take long to do, but it was interesting to see how much disorder a small pile of paper can cause. One of these days I will create a monthly chore chart that includes small declutter projects like this one. If I cleaned out this drawer regularly, it wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to clean.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Shannon says

    What funny timing, Jules. I was visiting with my mom yesterday and asked how women handled paperwork/bills when she was growing up – in the days before home offices. She said that her mom (who is 98 now) had a dresser drawer that she kept everything in – not overly organized but any papers worth keeping were put in there. About once a year she purged nearly everything. No file cabinets, no label makers, just chronological in layers. Between that and your post I’m feeling pretty determined to find a dresser to add to our main floor, in lieu of a file cabinet, since my desk is smack in the middle of the kitchen. . . .

    • Susan G says

      No label maker?????? Gasp – how did she survive? :) Although I have to admit I’m kind of addicted to ours, I’m pretty sure I could live without it.

      • Shannon says

        I KNOW!!!!!!!!! 😉 We had a great conversation about the huge increase in “stuff” that comes in that we feel like we need to process/keep/organize/file/store. It was great food for thought. Then after she left I had to figure out what to do with the three new things she brought for each of my children. That irony is not lost on me……. 😉

        • says

          No label maker here! I know, crazy talk. I just found that for bills, especially, simple is best. There are contraptions out there where you put a bill in a slot that corresponds with the due date, but that’s not how I pay bills. I pay the mortgage at the beginning of the month and the rest of the bills in the second half of the month, all on the same day. There isn’t really a need for me to have a complicated system for a simple process. As for what I do with the statements and invoices when I’m done, they go in an accordion file and I bring that with me to my tax appointment every year. I keep each file for 7 years until I can toss it once the threat of audit has passed.

  2. Susan G says

    Ahhhh…so nice to see it all in order. I am spending my spring break tackling big projects, and i’m already exhausted. Thinking I need to break the big ones into small ones and throw some other small ones in here and there, otherwise I’ll get overwhelmed and spend the rest of the week on the couch with a book. Hmmmm…that’s tempting.

      • Susan G says

        I’ve managed to squeeze in four books since Saturday and still get some closets cleaned :) Have you read the Miss Peregrine books? I finally did – I had been afraid of the creepy pictures but finally realized the books aren’t as creepy as they look.

        • says

          I haven’t! Actually, funny you should mention those because the first one was going to be one of the first YA adult pics for book club.

          • Susan G says

            They were interesting. The thing to know is the photographs in the books are real ones he found or borrowed from collectors. The books are based on, woven around, and inspired by the pictures presumably in some sort of synergistic way. I loved that although I found occasionally it was a little obvious and heavy-handed (more so in the second one than the first) but he’s a great storyteller. He has a background in film-making and that shows in the books. I enjoyed them.

  3. Sarah says

    Paper overwhelms me more than anything!! It just keeps coming and coming… I have a question for you. Keep in mind, I am a recovering packrat. What do you do with old Christmas cards? I don’t have any desire to craft with them, so I toss most of them. But, for some reason I cannot bring myself to get rid of the ones that are family photos of friends, and some of the letters. Do I just give myself permission to toss them, or what? I know that is crazy, but these are the decluttering things that make my wheels spin. I tend to let myself attach too much to stuff like this.

    • Shannon says

      Would you designate one picture box (the kind you get at Michael’s and that Jules uses for her medicines) for just the special Christmas cards you keep. Just tie them up in a bundle and throw them in there. It would at least keep them orderly until you feel ready to let go of them.

      • says

        I used to keep them until the following year, that way I could see who gave me a card and who didn’t and if I needed to amend my Christmas card list. Then, I stopped doing that because I figured I shouldn’t be giving only because I was receiving. This year, I tossed them. If they are pictures of family and I can remove them from the card, I’ll consider it. If it’s a photo card, well, it’s not like I can put that in a frame. If I wanted to, I could always ask the family member to send me a copy, right?

        • Sarah says

          Thanks Shannon and Jules. I sometimes just need to hear that it’s ok to get rid of things. My dad is the sort to keep pictures like that forever, and he has boxes and boxes to prove it. I need to let them go.

          • Shannon says

            And think how “excited” you’ll be to receive those boxes at some time…… :/ I keep the ones signed by my grandmother, who can’t write any longer, or those with really heartfelt greetings or a cute holiday photo. Otherwise, they go….

            Jules, that is a great sentiment about not sending just because you receive. For a while I was getting into a similar mindset and it started feeling very Grinchy after a while. Granted, if I have had no contact with someone I know is capable they get taken off the list but otherwise I send to who I want. Much happier process.

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