Even the most committed of us accumulate unnecessary items in our workplace, and for some reason, when working from a home-office this becomes an even bigger issue. Take a moment to look around you and assess how much of what is in your workspace right now is necessary, and how much is clutter. Don’t only look at your desk, pay attention to the entire room and even open a few cupboards and drawers; finally, think of when last you struggled to find something in your office. The two are obviously related, and it is something that should be addressed regularly.
You are spending a significant portion of your day in your office, so the environment needs to be comfortable, inviting and organized, least of all if you ever see clients in your office. The more comfortable and organized your workspace is, the calmer and more productive you are, but you remain responsible for whatever finds its way into your office. How should you approach cleaning out your office:
-1- Take everything out
Begin by emptying the room completely; clear out your desk, all drawers and cupboards and remove all furniture. Use the opportunity to also clean your office thoroughly, wiping down walls and vacuuming every corner. The best way to declutter is by knowing exactly what was in the room to begin with.
-2- Treat everything equally
Consider every item with equal importance, even your desk. Your desk is a necessity, but perhaps it comes with a detachable credenza that you don’t actually need, and by viewing it as an equal to the bookcase you don’t use you get to assess the full functionality of it. Eliminating non-essential items doesn’t only create more space, it reduces the amount of surface area that could attract clutter in future.
-3- Only put necessary items back
Once you have evaluated all the items equally you have a better idea of what the essentials are, the bare basics you need to get your job done. This is all that goes back into your office, with everything else either being junked or going into storage. Items you use very infrequently should also go into storage, it will be easier to keep your office organized if it only contains what you need daily or weekly, with anything else being easily accessible from storage.
-4- Maximize the space
As you return items, try to place them in a way that maximizes space and efficiency. If the room is properly organized, with clear open spaces and easy access to everything you won’t feel crowded in your own office, and could find yourself being more productive.
-5- Remove clutter regularly
The above steps involve a fair amount of work and time, which is why you should commit to clearing out clutter regularly. By regularly identifying items that are not necessary, or no longer serve a function, you can avoid having to clear out the whole office each time. And by making a point of removing all clutter from all surface areas weekly, if not daily, you can avoid having to frantically search for pens, documents and other essentials that can easily be misplaced.
What steps do you follow, and what measures do you have in place to minimize clutter?
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Image credit: Messy Office by Elana Centor | CC BY-SA 2.0