Whether your office consists of an entire room or a little desk tucked in somewhere, chances are it is a major clutter magnet. Seeing your desk full of clutter can make the often stressful tasks of work and bill paying even more difficult. Since I work from home and my office space is located in our living room, it was next on our agenda for decluttering and simplifying. I was eager to get started, because I know I am a hundred times more productive and happy in a clean space. Here are a few things I did to create some calm in the office:
1. Photograph the Before! This is so important so you can see your amazing progress. Every time I get discouraged, I look at the Before photo and see how much progress I have made. Photos are also a more objective way to view your ‘stuff’ and can help you identify problem areas.
2. Make a list of areas to work on: Mine are paper piles, shelf clutter, too many unused books, stacks of magazines and an inefficient desktop filing system.
3. Tackle the most visible problems first. I took care of the pile of papers and other miscellania to the right of my computer. This also happened to involve my desktop filing system, which was taking up more valuable space to the left of my computer. In the interest of simple living, I decided that I only want my computer on the desktop. As I looked at photos of my desk area, I realized I could be using the side walls of my desk area much more efficiently. I decided to hang a single file bin and a simple organizing system I found at Staples. I used Command Strip picture hangers so I wouldn’t have to drill or pound a nail into my shelves.
4. What do we do with the paper!? The main reason you could even see the top of my desk at all was because we go paperless whenever possible. I set up automatic bill paying if it is available, and keep track of things on my desk calendar. When I sorted my paper pile, I put it into categories and made a list. Then, I made sure I had those files set up correctly in my file cabinet.
5. Donate books that are outdated, no longer relevant or that you don’t plan to reread. Be ruthless and realistic. I also went through my magazines with a much colder eye than I usually do, and was able to part with a large number of them. The extra room on my bookshelves allows me to see and use my remaining books more easily.
6. Remember how refreshing it is to work at an uncluttered desk. Even the process of clearing out has caused me to feel more energized. Cheers to productivity!
What are some things you do to keep your office space tidy?