With all of the holiday festivities behind us, it's officially 2022 and time to get organized. If you're like most people, your office is probably cluttered with paper and pens, not to mention all of the other knick-knacks that tend to accumulate. The new year provides a perfect opportunity to take a few minutes out for yourself and reorganize your home or office space.
This rejuvenating activity allows you room to breathe and can even improve your health! Studies have shown that clutter leads to tension, stress, discontentment, low motivation levels, and self-doubt. But what do we do if our offices are already overflowing with piles of old files and stacks of paper?
There is no need to worry. In this post, we’ll share with you some tips for decluttering your office quickly and easily. So read on for tips that will help you get your office organized once and for all!
Why Should You Declutter?
What are the advantages of maintaining your office clutter-free, aside from keeping it neat and clean?
1. Enhanced productivity - The shorter the amount of time you spend looking for specific items and papers, the more time you have to concentrate on your task.
2. Brand reputation - A poorly organized work environment reflects poorly on the business practices of said environment. Image is everything, and especially so in work environments. Let the image that clients and associates hold of your establishment be inspired by the level of organization you maintain.
3. Maintain peace of mind - Removing distractions can cause feelings of happiness and peace of mind by allowing your brain to focus on essential things only. In fact, there are scientific studies that prove that decluttering reduces psychological problems such as depression, stress, or anxiety.
4. Savings- Decluttering can save you money by preventing you from spending money on things you think you need but probably already own. If you go out shopping and stop by a clearance rack, think about decluttering first before buying new stuff because it's possible you already have something similar at home or in the office. That way, there won't be any duplicates or extra items sitting around.
Let’s get into how you can successfully declutter your office.
Declutter The Unnecessary Things First
The first rule of decluttering is to always declutter the unnecessary things first. There are certain things that make us feel like we need them, but here's a secret - if an item has not been used within 6 months, then chances are high that you probably won't be needing it anytime soon. As such, always look at these items first before getting rid of anything else. If there is really no chance of using any of them, it would be best to let go of them because keeping something you don't use can only lead to more clutter.
Invest in Better Storage
One great way to declutter your office is to invest in some good storage solution. Vertical storage can be a great way to save space and can help you keep your desk clear of clutter. There are a number of different types of vertical storage available, from cabinets and shelves to racks and organizers.
Paper is responsible for 20% of corporate greenhouse emissions and can account for a third of a business' waste. Going green not only saves time and money but also spares you from having to sort through endless reams of paper in your office or home office.
If going completely paperless isn't practical, at least consider limiting how much physical paperwork enters your life in the first place. You can go digital with many types of files these days by scanning whatever important documents you need into pdfs then storing them on an external hard drive rather than in printed form.
If you're looking for another way to cut back on your physical file load, force yourself to go through each file every month or two and weed out any unnecessary papers, including old drafts of reports you no longer need.
Keep Your Desk Clean
This might sound obvious, but it's an easy thing to forget when you spend so much time working in the same space every day. It's also something that can be quite hard to do if your desk is constantly cluttered by the materials you're currently using for work. Place everything in specially designated boxes or drawer compartments until you actually need them. This should keep the office looking nice and tidy.
Declutter Your Email Inbox
Your email inbox is another space you probably spend a lot of time in throughout the day, but it can quickly become a source of stress if you let your emails pile up with no idea where to start. Regularly deleting old emails from your inbox frees up mental resources that can be better spent focusing on other tasks. The best way to do this is to treat every message as an individual task and either delete it, file it for later use or follow through with what needs doing now, then archive everything else, so they're out of sight and mind until you need them again.
Create Your Own Filing System
If going digital seems a little too extreme for your needs, a good old-fashioned filing system can be just as effective. If you're unsure where to start, use the following as a guide: A for action, R for reference, and P for a project. When you have all your documents in place, create an easy-to-follow index so that accessing information is as simple as possible without spending more time on this than is absolutely necessary. You might even consider color-coding or categorizing some files by topic – whatever makes them easier to find and work through when you need them most.
Tidy Your Desk At The End Of Each Day
Even if you keep your desk tidy during the day (as you should), it's still a good idea to take the time to tidy up any papers or items that have accumulated during your workday. If these are left overnight, you might struggle to find them again if needed tomorrow, so save yourself the hassle by taking 10 minutes each evening (or earlier) to gather everything together and file it away correctly. You can then leave your desk looking nice and tidy for tomorrow without spending extra time on unnecessary tasks.
Keep your Cables in Order.
Unorganized cables and wires can make an otherwise well-designed office look unprofessional. It's difficult to concentrate on the work at hand when there are cables strewn across your desk, and it can be dangerous walking around a cluttered floor where you could trip over cords running underfoot.
For some people, the solution is as easy as purchasing some zip ties or binding the cables together with tape.
Develop Better Organizing Skills.
Developing a new habit of cleaning and organizing is the most significant change you can make to become clutter-free. When a new thing enters the workplace, such as a parcel or a new file, decide what you'll do with it right away, or at the very least, before the conclusion of that week. To determine where to put the file, think whether to keep, trash/recycle, or store elsewhere. The easiest method to maintain your office clean is to avoid clutter.
Donate Items That are Still in Good Condition.
It would be a shame for you to get rid of your old and unused belongings and prevent them from being used by other people - especially if the item has not been broken or scratched beyond repair. Not only will donating such possessions help others, but it will also reduce the clutter in your office so that you won't have to worry about as much mess as before (and thus, could declutter even faster).
Organize Through One Section at a Time
Taking on a large project in one go can be intimidating. Divide your workspace into "parts" and work on them one at a time. You don't have to tackle everything at once; organize your desktop on the first day, then your document drawers on the next. Just ensure you finish everything in a fair amount of time, or else clutter will build up in the portion you cleaned first by the time you are done organizing.
Create a To-Do list
Make yourself a "to do" list and keep track of what needs to be done on said list, such as filing certain papers away, sending a few emails, etc. This will help you stay on task and not distract yourself from what needs to be done. If you have a lot of things that need to be done, then separate them into smaller tasks that can be completed throughout the day or even days with time in between each work as rest periods.
An office is a place where we spend most of our time and can often become cluttered with unnecessary items. The best way to avoid this clutter in the new year is by starting early! Cleaning your desk off at least once every week will help you stay organized and productive throughout the day.
Take some time during these weekly cleanings to file paperwork or organize files so that they are easy to find when needed. This will also save you from having piles of papers all over your desk later on down the line! Another excellent tip for decluttering your office space would be investing in a filing cabinet or other storage system that works well for you while still being functional. These simple steps will help to reduce clutter so you can better focus on what matters most - your job!