4 Tips on How to Declutter Your Workspace

Mar 11, 2014 by

2014 is upon us, and along with the pipedream resolutions about losing weight, being nicer to in-laws, and spending less time playing games on your smartphone, there are some very accomplishable goals currently being set by determined Americans across the country. Some of the most common of these goals have to do with becoming more organized, and chances are, there are few places in your life that could use a little January de-junking more than your office environment. The area around an employee’s desk has a tendency to become a catch-all for junk, trinkets, garbage, and miscellany that seems too important to toss, but not important enough to actually use. Well, roll up those sleeves, spit into your palms, and get ready for a crash course in office-uncluttering. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Many Papers
Image: flickr.com/photos/shehan365

1. Get rid of the paper

Paper is a great thing to have around. It allows you to quickly scribble out important notes, and to keep track of information without having to rely on finicky computer programs. The problem is that paper, especially sticky-notes, tends to hang around the office long after it’s usefulness has expired. How long were you planning on keeping that reminder from November about the meeting that got moved to a Wednesday? Instead, clean up your desk and set the stage for a cleaner desk in the future by getting rid of all your old notes, messages, and scrap pieces of paper. If you must have some paper nearby, get yourself a single notebook. This will keep the paper mess contained and help with organization as well.

2. Take a few minutes each day to do a quick clean up

Most of us have a routine that helps us get through the day. Maybe we take our lunch or use the restroom at a specific time every afternoon. Maybe we like to check our emails every hour, on the hour. Whatever the case, routines are easy to follow because they become habit. It’s just human nature. Well, you can take advantage of human nature by getting into the habit of spending a few minutes every day (preferably right before you leave for the evening) organizing your work area. Throw out any trash or loose papers, straighten your supplies, maybe even do a quick dusting. It won’t take you long at all, and it will help keep your desk tidy and neat all year long.

3. Get a junk box

Sometimes there are things that have no immediate importance but may become important at some unspecified future date. Let’s be frank; chances are that you’d be perfectly alright if you were to simply throw all of these useless things directly into the waste basket. Still, if that feels wrong to you, the next best thing is to acquire a junk box. This is where you can deposit all of nick-nacks and potentially useful items that you don’t need on your desk right at this very moment. Keep the box close, and if it begins to overflow, take a look inside and force yourself to part with some of the less-likely-to-come-in-handy items.

4. Reduce the number of personal trinkets you keep

It’s only natural to want to personalize your workspace to create the perfect office space. Photos of family members, important mementos, various kinetic sculptures that do neat things to keep you distracted from the business at hand—all of these help to define your office personality. Unfortunately, they also take up space and add to the general “cluttered” feeling surrounding your desk. Maybe it’s time to thin the herd? I’m not suggesting that you throw away any of these important representations of the unique personal traits that define you as an individual; I’m just submitting that maybe some of those items could have a place away from the office. It may be difficult, but if you can find a way to retire them, then your work space will look much better for it.

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