The benefits of learning how to declutter a home office are endless. Has your home office become a little disorganized or can you even remember when you last decluttered your office? For many of us, we tend to prioritize working over giving a few minutes to decluttering our desks. Believe it or not, having a messy home office or even a work environment can actually reduce your productivity.
Well, because if you think about it, a messy desk means that you most likely:
- Spend longer trying to find items as there are not organized
- Waste time moving items out of your way just so that you can work
- Become distracted by miscellaneous pieces of clutter that are taking up valuable desk space
- Feel emotions of stress and anxiety as a result of working in an unclean environment
In fact, I bet you waste time on a regular basis thinking that you really need to declutter your home office. I know I did…
According to Psychology Today…
Hoarding and a disorganized work space creates extreme anxiety during decision-making.
The thought, a clean space makes for a clean mind, enters my head.
It’s time to bite the bullet and finally give your home office or even your work office the clean that it needs. There’s no better time to do it than in the current environment where we are all more conscious of our hygiene and trying to have a more sanitary work environment.
Let me show you how I…
improved my mood
reduced my stress and anxiety
increased my desire to work at my desk
boosted my productivity, all by taking just 10 minutes to regain control of my office.
In this article, you too will discover how to become a happier and more productive worker.
The best part?
You’ll learn how in a matter of minutes with this short, yet extremely effective, set of guidelines to help you declutter your home office. And it’s all here in this one easy-to-follow article!
Let’s get started!
By the nature of many jobs, schoolwork and even college courses, we have a tendency to accumulate paper over time. Some of us probably even have paper stacks which look the equivalent to Mount Vesuvius. Obviously, some of the paper that we hold on to is necessary, but at other times, you are probably just stashing notes and sheets to have them for future reference.
Or sometimes you just simply don’t have a confidential bin to shred them in, and so storing them on the side of your desk is the only suitable option for now.
Take all of those mounds of paper and scan through each sheet. Make four piles to segregate the paper into:
1. Confidential waste
2. Confidential keep
3. Non-confidential waste
4. Non-confidential keep
Depending on how organized you are, you may want to further organize these items that you plan to keep based on the subject that they are related to, date they were created, your client, subject you are studying etc.
Tip: If you have a tendency or a to need to store documents, consider investing in a folder to organize the paper in a structured way. This will ensure that there is a dedicated storage location for your paperwork while also making the place tidy and more organized when you go to search for something important.
Free pens – we all love them, right? Nothing quite attracts you to a stand quite like a free pen. It doesn’t really matter that you already have piles upon piles of them at home; this new pen looks much shinier and you simply want it, end of. Before you know it, you have unknowingly become a pen collector.
I know it’s certainly a weakness for me anyway, and the evidence was in the bunch of pens that were (up until recently) in my drawer in my room, at my office desk and in the kitchen. Let’s not mention the couple of pens threw into every single bag that I own. I hope I’m not alone here? Hehe.
Sadly, many of these pens often tend to dry up and do not work properly after being stationary for periods of time. In a bundle of approximately 20 pens, only eight of them actually worked when I started to declutter my office.
So, the quickest and easiest way to detach yourself from your beloved pens is to test them all out on a scrap of paper (which you probably have loads of now after decluttering). Check which ones are working and which ones need the bin.
Tip: These guidelines apply to markers and highlighters too.
3. Office Stationery
While we’re tackling the concept of free pens, it’s often the case that you also probably pick up some free stationery, such as posted notes, mini notebooks or even power banks.
Discard of any excess office paraphernalia that is sitting on your desk. Then move onto the drawers and shelves and remove items that you no longer need.
Deep down, you know that you’re never going to use all those Post-It notes, right?
4. Unused, damaged and old equipment
There used to be a time when software updates, equipment, such as fax machines, and storage devices, such as USBs and floppy disks, was an essential in the office. Nowadays, we have moved to an online approach. Even the day of the USB stick could be numbered as we all move to the cloud.
With that in mind, there’s probably equipment sitting in your shelves and drawers that you either no longer use, have upgraded or is just simply damaged.
Sift through your storage areas and segregate used equipment from unused equipment. You may need to make a collection of equipment that needs to be disposed of as electronics. This typically includes anything with a plug, such as old monitors, mouse and keyboard.
Additionally, if you have storage devices, such as USBs or floppy disks, these may need to be shredded so that the confidential information cannot be obtained. It wouldn’t be a wise decision to discard of this in your general waste bins as it could get into the hands of the wrong person.
Cables are another item which tend to accumulate and often become unused or even damaged. It’s time to say goodbye to the old Internet cables (remember you have wireless internet now), multiple phone chargers and anything with damaged or frayed wires. Also, if you don’t know what it’s for, chances are you’ll probably never use it again.
Tip: It would make sense to get rid of cables while you are disposing of electronic equipment so that you’re not holding on to cables or chargers of equipment that’s now disposed of.
Whether it’s books from school, college or even training courses that you completed during work, there’s bound to be a few that have accumulated over the years. I personally was hesitant to dispose of my old school books and notes for fear that, ”they could come in handy one day”. Sureeee, because you’re really going to need to freshen up on the different types of rock present in the environment.
Pull out all your books, notepads and any other materials that you have acquired over the years. If the books are old and cannot be donated to the likes of friends, charity shops or sold online, it should go on the bin. Additionally, if you see it gathering dust or haven’t looked at it in over six months, than say goodbye and cut the umbilical cord for good.
If there are books that could be sold or donated to charity, e.g. novels, study assistance books, make a pile of these, and as soon as you possibly can, try to get rid of them.
Do not, I repeat, DO. NOT. Let them sit there for days or even weeks on end until you muster up the motivation to bring them to a charity shop or post them online. If this is a risk, consider just getting rid of them straight away.
Tip: If you’re struggling to relinquish your beloved book, remember that most information is widely available online. Additionally, it is also usually more up-to-date than your book from 10 years ago.
7. Miscellaneous items not office-related
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a drawer which you use to store random bits and pieces. I lovingly refer to this drawer as the “random crap” drawer. You could find anything in there, and I mean anything! From keys to dead batteries, screwdrivers and anything in between.
You may also have such materials lying around on your desk or in your shelves.
Working shelf by shelf or drawer by drawer, remove everything and categorize it based on:
- Whether you really need it: If you don’t, throw it out.
- If it belongs in your office: if it does, hold on to it. If it doesn’t, put it in its proper location.
- If you have enough of them already. Remove any ancillary items and only keep what you need.
Come on now, you don’t need three staplers, be realistic!
8. The final step
Now that you have decluttered your office, make sure that you promptly dispose of the waste in an appropriate manner. This is particularly important for confidential waste and the likes of electronics which cannot be disposed of in your general waste bins.
Congratulations, you have now graduated from the school of decluttering. You now have a cleaner, safer and more productive work space!
But what next?
Well, now that your home office is more organized and there’s less clutter to manoeuvre, there’s no better time than to learn the tricks to having a sanitary office with how to disinfect a computer – 5 easy steps so that it is free of germs. I guarantee that you will be horrified after reading this article and learning just how many bacteria reside on your computer keyboard, mouse and desk.
How often do you declutter your office? Do you find that your productivity decreases in a messy environment? Which of the above tips are you going to follow from now on? Please share your feedback and any queries that you have below.