A tidy workspace can reduce overwhelm,inspire you and actually increase productivity.
Here's a little inspiration and a few simple steps to get the job done quickly!
You've been meaning to get your office space cleaned up and organized for a while now, but it's just so darn overwhelming that it doesn't get done.
You really don't want to spend another minute procrastinating, but where do you even start?
I get it, that's always the hardest part.
So here's a quick step by step article that lays it out, and even if you don't follow it exactly, it will help you get off to a great start.
You'll be amazed at how uncluttering your work space clears your mind, relaxes you, and stimulates creativity.
First off - Stop saying bad stuff to yourself about that office of yours and smile!
You'll have it done and be admiring your accomplishments in no time - it will all be worth it.
OK, so we can't count that first one.
It wouldn't be fair since I promised you 5 real steps...
I hear ya 🙂
Let's start again - and remember the best way to get this done is to actually set a few hours or even a day aside (if you can) to do it.
I know, I know, you're super busy, that's how your office/work area got messy in the first place. But trust me, you'll make up the time by being more productive tomorrow.
Step #1 - Grab a box
Yup...just grab one.
It doesn't matter what kind, but a decent size (I'm sure you have Amazon boxes laying around that you haven't thrown out yet).
A bankers box is perfect.
You might want to grab a garbage bag too...depending on just how bad things are, you might need it 🙂
Now look around your office, and identify anything you haven't touched or used in the past year - but don't want to part with yet.
Put it in the box, but skip the dirty dishes, take them right to the kitchen sink!
And I don't mean pictures of your spouse or kids either (unless you want to) but junk that's just accumulated over time.
Here are some examples:?
- Maybe extra staplers or calculators ( 2 of them probably don't work anyway)
- Chargers for electronics you don't use
- Hand creams - coconut bliss, summer strawberry, the gift from your auntie - just keep one if you have to
- Books you planned to read, but didn't (put them on a bookshelf for later)
- Old calendars (you just need the current year)
- Reading glasses from the drugstore (1.25, 1.50, 1.75) Just keep the ones that work (they're probably on your head anyway!)
- Empty your waste paper basket (and pick up the stuff laying around it on the floor from your failed layup shots)
- Last year's Christmas cards
- Kids toys, the dog toys, even the Rubik's cube you might figure out one day
So you get my drift right?
Clear the junk you never use, and the stuff that has no business in your office that clutters your space.
Just go for it - you know what you need to do!
Excellent job! Can you can see the surface of your desk now?
That makes step #2 easier and might even be a great time to do a little dusting... just say'in
Step #2 - Make Paper Piles
Wait... stay with me, I'm serious.
This is the best way to start even if you already have piles of it everywhere.
Again if you're like me, you have different kinds of paperwork all over the place, and it's all important.
So start by organizing those messy piles in categories.
Sort your paperwork or files in categories like this;
- Your Personal stuff - bills, receipts, business cards, mail, taxes etc
- High Priority Projects - these need to be done now, or maybe their already overdue.
- Open Projects - you're still actively working on these things, but they have no deadlines.
- Completed Projects - they're done, but you still need to keep them and/or file them.
- Aborted Projects - maybe it's only temporary, but they need to be set aside.
See, that wasn't so bad was it?
Let's keep going...here comes the fun stuff.
Step #3 - Go Shopping or Repurpose;
I'm going to assume you have the basic office supplies, but you're probably still going to need a few things to pull this off because now we need to prioritize those paper piles.
You'll Need a Filing Cabinet;
Two or four drawer, depending on your type of work you do and how long you've been at it.
Whichever you choose, (here's the one I got ) make sure you have room to expand, and the drawers aren't all jammed full from day one.
If you already have one - good - does it need purging? Hmmmm...
You'll Need some Folders;
How many will depend on the categories you have in step #2. They can be the plain manila or they can be multi-colored and fun.
- WalMart always has a good selection of these, and they're inexpensive.
- If you already have lots, but they've been written on, flip them inside out and re-label them.
- The multi- colored ones are best for your projects - for example: you can tell at a glance that all your black & white striped ones are for project X, and the 3 blue ones are all for Project Y.
- Also, get a few folders that have the pockets inside - they're handy for small bits of paper and notes.
This again will depend on what you already have, but the best way to gain working space and get your desk set up so it's pleasing to the eye is to get a matching set...maybe like these.
Obviously get something that appeals to you - I find Staples has the best selection of this stuff.
Also have an idea of how many you need before you head out to the store. I had to go back to get an extra inbox tray.
You'll also need a Sharpie Marker;
Black always works, but they come in nice colors too if you like to spice it up.
The only other thing that might be super helpful is a small set of bookshelves. ?This one is a great choice because it's inexpensive and can be separated according to your needs.
Depending on your space, this is another great way to get things off your desk so you have them handy, but out of your way.
TIP: Another easy fix that saves space if you don't want a bookcase, is a couple of simple wooden boxes - you'll find these in WalMart and Winners.
Here's a picture of mine.
They can be different sizes and stacked right on the floor for a decorating flair!
Step #4 - Put the Paper Where it Belongs;
Seems pretty obvious, and not very fun, but you're almost there...
You can do this!
Let's go back to step #2 where we categorized your paper piles.?
Labeling your folders will again depend greatly on the kind of work you do, and how your head works when you go back to find things.
Do what works best for you...but here's what I do;
Start with your personal pile. Grab the folders you chose for that category and use your new Sharpie pen to label them.
* Bills to be paid
* Paid Credit Card Bills
* Utility Bills
* Christmas Gift Receipts
* And whatever else you might need.
Now let's repeat that same process with each of your work related categories.
Choose a different colored folder for each one.
When you label them it helps to write the Main Project name on each folder, but you might also add subcategories down the front on the folder;
Main Category is "Make Money from Home" - all your folders could be Green, and should get that main title. Then you can add subtitles or date ranges, both work well.
That way at a quick glance you can see in more detail what you filed in that particular folder like this;
Affiliate Marketing stuff
Network Marketing Online Course
Continue that for each Category of your paper pile until it's all color coded, and looks nice and tidy. As you get each folder labeled, insert all the items for that folder in some type of order - like oldest to most current on top.
You should be extremely proud of yourself if you've gotten this far! Surely you deserve a little reward...
Maybe another cup of coffee, or even a glass of wine, before we start your final step!!
Step #5 - Put it all in Place;
This is when your Organizer Tray Set ?comes into play, and again the placement will have lots to do with your space availability and your personal preferences.
Here are some things I do that you might like too;
Keep the work space right in front of you clear - a place to write and open your folders you're working on.
- Your inbox should have high priority projects that you're currently working on only. I prefer it in the top right hand corner of my desk.
- The container for pens/pencils/scissors etc should be at arm's length - front and center.
- Your upright tray is a good place for open projects that you're working with, but don't as yet have deadlines.
- The bookshelf (or wooden boxes) should now contain your books - read (and to be read) neatly stacked and available for research.
- You can also buy in-boxes that are stackable - these can save space if you need more than one.
- Your Personal files, Aborted and Completed Projects can be filed in your Filing Cabinet.
They sure don't need to be taking up space on your lovely neat desk! Now that they're color coded and labeled - they'll be easy to find if you need to resurrect them.
At this point you should be able to step back and breathe a sigh of relief - it looks better right?!
Of course you'll need to function in your new tidy space a day or two and maybe tweak your tray locations so they feel comfortable...
But I bet the next time you sit down to get some work done you'll think of me 🙂
Hopefully you'll also feel more organized, which leads to less overwhelm, more inspiration and of course meet your ultimate goal of being more productive.
I surely hope this was more helpful than painful...enjoy your uncluttered space!
Congrats on a Job Well Done - Liz
P.S ~ If you Like Straight Talk and Practical Solutions...you'll also enjoy this blog.
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