Five Tips for Decluttering your Office

By Staff

Has this ever happened to you? Your boss calls you and needs a certain report from you, right away. And even though you know you printed it up a few days ago in anticipation of this very moment, you can't find it. What you need is a good decluttering.

A cluttered office usually causes stress, never mind the time wasted looking for things, avoiding piles, and being distracted by the clutter around you.

Here are a few tips to help you get sorted out.

Papers Papers Papers:

The dream of a paperless society is still light years away. In the meantime, we need to devise a way to reduce the paper on your desk and organize it. When you receive mail, deal with it right away. Decide what it is that needs to be done with it. If you receive a lot of time sensitive mail, like bills, create a file by date which will allow you to know exactly when everything is due, at a glance. If the paper you receive is simply for your records, file it in an appropriately named file, ie. taxes, old invoices, etc. If you don't need to keep it, throw it away. The same goes for reports you receive. File them appropriately by project or date so that you can find them again.

When filing or creating a filing system, remember that you are doing this for yourself, to make your life easier. Make sure your system makes sense and that anyone coming into your office would be able to find what they need quickly.

Get the Tools You Need:

You can't do a good job without certain tools. Well, organization is the same. If you need file folders, stop putting it off and get them. The longer you wait, the more you will have to file. If you need a garbage can or a recycling container, get one. If you are dealing with disposing sensitive information, get yourself a cross-cut shredder.

File Your Email:

Just as you need to file paper, you need to file your email too. Learn how your email program works. Create file folders or boxes that clearly define what the information contained in it is. Remember, you are trying to make things easier for yourself when you need to find something. If you find you are receiving too much junk email, ask your IT department about installing a filter on your email or learn how to do it yourself through your email program. Cute stories and chain letters should not be kept in your inbox and should be filed right away or deleted. Try to keep only current messages in your inbox, messages that you are replying to or waiting for an answer on. Use flags on ultra-important messages so you can find them right away. Everything else should be filed appropriately.

Remove Things That Are Preventing You From Working:

As much as certain things provide inspiration in your workplace, they can also be a source of stress. Too many pictures of your kids, vacations you've taken, and your significant other can be distracting. It's okay to personalize your office, but not to the point where it takes up valuable desk space, it causes you to daydream, or stops you from focussing on your work. Getting rid of knick knacks that are constantly falling over. Get rid of that desk clutter that is collecting dust. You'll be amazed at what it difference it makes.

Paint in a Soothing Color:

If you work from home, you can do this. Light colours make an office look larger and thus less cluttered and full. Paint your office environment in cream, light tans, or off-white. Keep the colour for accessories - a red cushion on a chair, or a nice vivid print. As well as making rooms feel smaller, bright colours can be jarring and stressful. Lightening your office really serves three purposes. It makes your office look and feel more professional and elegant to visitors, it provides you with a more stress-free and productive work area, and it makes your office feel more spacious.

By applying these ideas, clutter can be reduced in your work area. Freeing yourself from clutter, you just might work faster, more efficiently, and with less stress.

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