Start Fresh by Reducing Visual Clutter

Hi friend! I’m really excited to bring you more simple living content.

I’m on my own simple living journey and I’d be thrilled if you’d join me as I go through the process that’s already begun. I’ve been feeling a pull to a slower lifestyle for years, but decluttering 500 things a couple of months ago gave me a kickstart.

Start Fresh by Reducing Visual Clutter

Today, we’re starting small by reducing visual clutter in just one area of our homes. You might not even realize how the visual clutter in your home is stressing you out.

One of the things that can make us feel unsettled or overwhelmed is when we have too many things out. This is why, after Christmas, although we love having our holiday decor up, it feels so good to take it down! It’s a clean slate and that makes us feel more calm and also invigorated.

When you have a lot of things on your surfaces – think kitchen counters, desk, nightstand, dressers, end tables, coffee tables, shelves, walls, etc, your eyes and, therefore your brain, doesn’t have a chance to rest. It’s too busy processing all the visual clutter.

Having “white space” or “breathing room” allows your eyes to rest, making you feel more peaceful inside.

Reduce Visual Clutter on Your Desk

You can start small, with your desktop.

Here’s what mine looked like when I sat down to work on Friday morning.

Office Desk

Similar LampMouse PadStanleyTimerDesk

Not terrible, but also not great for a clear mind that wants to be free of distractions so I can focus on my work.

Step 1 | Remove everything & give it a thorough clean

Office Desk


I took everything off my desk except for the monitor and even unplugged an extension cord I wasn’t using.

Step 2 | Thoughtfully consider what you need to put back

Office Desk

Desk MatStanleyDeskVase

I’d encourage you to have the bare minimum to get the full benefit of less visual clutter.

I like a desk mat to to act as a mouse pad and as a softer spot for my arms to rest while I type. But, but with this little experiment, I realize I would prefer a more neutral one. Even though the pink is pretty, I’d prefer not to have that color.

Yes, that is picky, but I’m purposefully scrutinizing.

Sarasa pen

Sarasa Pen

When I work with deep focus, if a thought pops into my head, I like to have a pen and notepad handy to jot it down.

I can quickly get the thought out of my head, and return to my work without fear a losing the thought. I can act on it later.

And, since I need readers when I’m wearing my contacts, I want my glasses handy.

Office Desk

Desk Mat

I need my keyboard and mouse.

Office Desk


Something to drink. I like this pretty 30oz Stanley for everyday, and I also have a 40 oz Simple Modern tumbler. The 40 oz is a bit large, but I like to have it for long days at track or baseball with my kids.

Step 3 | Elevate

This is the fun part where you get to style your space.

Office Desk


A single flower in a jar of water will instantly liven up your desk.

These hydrangeas are still going strong at the end of week two. I specifically chose the woven vase to give this sleek space some texture and warmth.


Office Desk

When I look at the before image, I feel a little uneasy or stressed out.


Office Desk

When I look at the after, I feel great and ready to get to work, undistracted and full of focus. I wrote this post on the after!

Step 4 | Relocate Items

It’s true though that you then need a place for all the things you took away. Easy stuff like trash can be thrown away. The other stuff, you need to put back in it’s place or find a new place for it.

I put the nail file, calendars, password book, timer, charging cord, and extension cord away neatly in my desk.

The framed photo of my son just makes me smile. I put it on my bookshelf so I can still see it often.

I ended up putting the lamp in my office closet because I only use it on rare occasions. If I end up not using it in the near future (maybe the next 30 days), I may donate it.

Even though the lamp could be considered a nice piece of decor, I prefer my desk without it – it just looks more clean and simple.

I also have a little desk organizer with stickers and such that I put away in my office closet. I only use those once a week when I’m doing my weekly planning, so it can be out of sight until I’m ready to use again.

Bonus Points

If you’re ready to reduce visual clutter in a bigger way, take everything off your kitchen counters. Try to live with it that way for a week and see how you feel. Report back!

Gratitude Giveaway

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Have a fantastic day friend!

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Meet Megan

Hi! I’m Megan, mom to a thoughtful teenager and spunky young girl. We call Houston home and recently moved into our dream home. I traded my lawyer hat to become a full-time blogger in 2010. I love sharing my passion for affordable fashion, home decor, organization, & fitness to help inspire you to take care of you!


  1. Love the calm of the new work space. How is Rhonda feeling / adjusting to the new minimal changes that are happening? Is she in a similar space as many of us readers?

  2. baby steps… in the space you see and work in every day, making it work better for you is critical! Love the simplicity!

  3. I decluttered my kitchen when we remodeled. I took everything off and only put a few things back (basically just 2 pictures of my kids that I change out) Makes me so happy. Its the center of house since we have an open floor plan so I see it all the time. It”s the little things that calm me at home. Thank you for continuing to share your simply life.

  4. Purposely scrutinize- I love that phrase. I love all of this content and your new (and mine) focus. Let’s conquer stress and the fast-paced life, and change.

  5. Repainted most of the interior late spring. With everything off the walls everything feels fresher, like when I moved in and saw possibilities. In the kitchen the small change of getting airtight containers for the flour and sugar and moving them to the pantry let me get rid of my large canister set, freeing up all that counter space.

  6. I need to do this with my desk! Question – where do you keep your internet router? Mine is on my desk along with my google mesh network disk – both are bulky, but I don’t know where else to put them.

    1. That’s a good question! Mine is in my office, but it’s in a basket and the cords are hidden under my cabinet with drawers so you don’t see them.

      1. Thank you! I’m going to see about moving mine to as basket, it would free up space on my desk and be much prettier I’m sure.

  7. Such a great post with helpful tips! For years I had a pink desk mat, stack of books, candle, pen holder, and drawers on my desk with a corkboard above it for my calendar and notes. Last year, I turned the desk mat over to the grey side, popped my printable calendar in a simple white frame, and have an inbox drawer. I feel so much calmer and focused when I work!

  8. Love this! I once heard a quote “A cluttered home is a sign of a cluttered mind.” I think it’s so true! I have since noticed that the times I let clutter pile up are the times I’m stressed and scattered. But I agree that makes it worse since my mind is subconsciously thinking I need to deal with it.

  9. Long time reader here, and I just want to say I love the new content. I loved all the content before too, but there’s just something about this that feels calm and relaxing (if that makes sense??). I don’t know what it is about organization that calms me (my husband might not agree when he comes home and things are re-arranged though lol). I love the idea of less visual clutter…an extra bonus for me is it’s easier and less to clean! A few simple pieces of decor that I love, or favorite family photos and I’m good!

    1. Oh I get it- the men need a checklist of where things are! Ha! Thank you so much for the encouragement, it’s helping propel me forward!

  10. I love this idea and am going to do it. I have one question. How did you hide the cord that was stretched across the floor under your desk?

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