How to Declutter Your Office
What are some of your most used rooms? Chances are you listed off your bedroom, bathroom, and maybe your kitchen or living room. But what about your office? Chances are you spent several hours a day in this space, especially if you work from home.
Often times our home or work offices become cluttered and disorganized, neither of with are very helpful. Electronics, papers, and office supplies crowd our shelves and drawers. These items can completely overrun your area, causing your work to suffer as a result.
When you are surrounded by clutter and disaster your mind follows suit, causing you to be easily distracted and lose focus. What can you do to resolve this? It’s time to start cleaning and decluttering!
Before you begin:
Examine your area. What do you see? Is it mostly papers thrown about, or is it “organized chaos”? We need to evaluate our area to determine where to begin, and what is our largest issue. You could always just “dive in” and hope for the best, but that may cause extra stress which we’re hoping to avoid. This shouldn’t be treated as a “chore,” rather this is a process to help improve your overall quality of life.
How to proceed:
Remove outside clutter: Your office is just that, an office. It is not your bedroom or kitchen, so remove the items that don’t fit. Clothing belong in your closet. Books for entertainment belong in your bedroom or living room, or donated if you no longer read them. If an item exists in your space that does not pertain to your job then remove it.
Organize your “clutter”: Chances are a large amount of debris crowding your environment is paper. Receipts, documents, notes, and even manuals can eventually pile up and cause a mound of disorganization. Organize these items into two piles: Keep and discard. All items that are no longer relevant, are extremely outdated, or destroyed (coffee stains, for example) can be added to our discard pile and thrown away or shredded if needed. If you must keep an item (i.e., an item you may need to return to at a later date), scan this item and then add it to the discard pile. The majority of papers can be stored as an electronic copy by scanning them onto your computer and storing them on an external hard drive or the “cloud.” By now your pile of papers that you absolutely must keep a hard copy of should be a fraction of the size it was when you started. These items can be stored in a designated folder, and no other items should be added to this location.
Limit your extra supplies: Time to move onto office supplies and electronics. Often times these items sneak up on you. You wind up with unnecessary duplicates or “emergency” backups that just contribute to the clutter. Realistically we don’t need four staplers, ten scissors, three printers, and two dozen pens. Unless you have multiple people working in this one space, you have too much. For this step it’s time to eliminate the additional. For items such as staplers and hole punchers eliminate the multiples and keep only the newest or most reliable one.
Eliminate distracting décor: We all want our offices to be homey and happy, so we crowd our walls and shelves with items to give our space that extra boost. While these items may appeal to you now, they may wind up distracting you later. Move these items where they’ll be appreciated the most, or donate them if you do not wish to clutter up your walls in another room.
Remove unused furniture: Furniture is large, and chances are furniture is consuming the most amount of space in your office. But, by now, your furniture should be fairly empty after we removed the excess paper, supplies, and outside items. It’s time to downsize our furniture. Remove the furniture items no longer in use, such as an empty bookshelf, and enjoy all the space that has now been freed up.
For tips on how to begin your decluttering journey, you can Start Here, or snag a copy of the 30 Day Challenge (our Minimalism and Decluttering eBook).