Beat the Blahs with Office Decluttering

Published Thursday, February 10, 2011 3:43 PM

Marooned in the February doldrums? Beat the winter blahs with an early office spring-cleaning. Refreshing your workspace can do wonders to re-boot your productivity.

Office space varies greatly-cubes, the corner office, sometimes even a kitchen corner-but experts agree that your day-to-day environment has a profound effect on your attitude. Clutter creates stress and if your can-do spirit is flagging, you may find that a clean, new look for your office will give you a new outlook at work!

Ready, Set, Clean-Up

Toss: Organizing begins with eliminating the unnecessary. So get out that shredder and wastepaper basket and get ready to purge. Toss old newspapers, magazines, coffee cups, unused office accessories and clutter in the trash.

Create a Blank Slate: Remove everything from your desk. Start with a clean, blank slate. Place your phone on your left if you're right handed and on the right if you're left handed. Move personal items such as framed photos or children's arts and crafts to your shelves.

Drawer, by Drawer: Take time to organize your desk drawers, tossing unnecessary items and grouping like supplies (i.e. post-it-notes, pens, staples) together. Go drawer, by drawer, until your desk is in tip top shape.

One's the Limit: Keep office supplies in one drawer only. Buy a dozen of your favorite, inexpensive pens and keep them in a tray in the drawer. Store back-up supplies in a clear storage box. And say no to junk; free cups and pens and other free give-aways are distracting clutter.

Weed Your Post-Its: Use post-its sparingly so they catch your eye, not obscure your monitor. Instead, keep a notebook by the phone. Jot down phone messages or notes here. This should be your go to for to-do lists.

Purge Piles & Files: Many of you organize by piling; that's fine, just try to move them off the desktop and onto a side table. Your desk should have no more than a three tier in-box: one slot holds items not yet reviewed, one for items "on hold" that you have reviewed and need to act upon soon and a third for items needed on a daily basis over the short term. Documents not falling into one of these categories should be filed permanently or tossed.

Take Pains to Maintain: Now that your desk and office are squeaky clean, keep things shipshape with a nightly ten minute spruce up. Discipline yourself to make a clean sweep each night, tossing trash, sorting paperwork and readying must-have-documents for the next day.

Maintenance is crucial: nature abhors a vacuum, and files and paperwork will sprout like weeds unless you keep them pruned.


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