Does your office have a pack rat? The desk that is always cluttered with piles of paperwork strewn about, never able to find what they are looking for? Tackle the mess with these helpful tips to help declutter and clean up your workspace to get back on track:
With work stations often shrinking in today’s office, if we clutter it up with papers and personal items, we lose this valuable real estate. Take time to work through the stacks of paperwork and organize them into the following categories:
- Keep — Keep important documents, current projects, and similar items by organizing them into well labeled folders.
- Trash/Recycle — Recycle old projects and drafts that have been digitized and throw out any old documents that you’ve already looked at. A good rule of thumb: if you haven’t read the articles within the week, recycle or donate them!
- Shred — We all work with documents that need to be kept confidential. When you are done with them, make sure they end up in the proper shred pile and are discarded properly.
- Belongs Elsewhere — If something is out of place, return it to its home. Regardless, they don’t belong on your desktop cluttering your work area.
Drawers and Storage
Once you have your work surface organized and decluttered, it’s time to move onto your drawers and smaller office supplies. Handy tip: if it is smaller than a breadbox, it belongs in a drawer or storage cubby.
My desk has a single mug filled with pens, highlighters, and sticky notes. For a personal touch, I switch out the mug based on the seasons to dress up my desk. Regularly test your pens and throw away any that are drying up. Plus, let’s face it, we all have our favorite pen and tend to grab it over and over anyway. To keep your small supplies handy, use drawer organizer.
What about personal items? We spend a great deal of our day at our desks, so it’s nice to have a few items around to remind us why we’re there. To avoid distraction, try to keep personal items to 3 or less. Whether that is a small plant, a fun calendar featuring your beloved pet, or a framed photo of the grandkids, keep the items small and swap them out every few weeks to freshen things up.
Keep your desk free of bulky items like jackets, purses, and blankets. Store those in a drawer or overhead to keep your area decluttered. Don’t forget your work tote/laptop bag—take 10 minutes to clean it out once a week!
Putting It Together
A clean desk communicates professionalism; clutter can project a poor work ethic. Here are a handful of other useful tips to get back on track in the workplace:
- Don’t forget your computer desktop! Schedule set times to check email and answer pending inquiries. Remove temporary files, discard drafts, create folders, and spend time to get organized to make a more productive work day.
- Good lighting is critical—preferably natural lighting. If not, a good task light such as our HLED1 improves mood and causes less stress on eyes.
- Don’t use worksurfaces for storage—use drawers, shelves, and paper management products
- If you find you need more space, enlarge your work station or make creative use of storage options such as the cubes/shelves like HON’s storage cube HLSL1212 available in a variety of fun colors.
- Don’t forget to schedule a time to sanitize and disinfect your work area. Make it a priority to wipe everything down once every other week.
- Make it a habit to tidy up and clean off your desk area during the last 5 minutes of your day. This allows you to have a fresh start with a clean work area every morning.
- If you’re stuck on an item, ask yourself what purpose it serves, how often you use it, and why you’re keeping it!
A well-organized, declutter work space provides better focus, improved productivity, less distraction, and peace of mind. We are all leading busy work days but following these tips will help keep your work day on track and live a less cluttered life!
Written by Jen Krambeck