15 Fantastic Tips to for a Clutter-Free Office

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Is your office or workspace a clutter magnet?Image of a recycling bin and the phrase, 15 Fantastic Tips for a Clutter-Free Office

Do you want to keep things looking neat, tidy, and clutter-free?

In this post, I offer a collection of fifteen quick tips to help you keep clutter at bay.

Prepare an incoming box/space/container.

It’s time to give your basic office inbox an upgrade!

Designate a specific container or area in your office for incoming items such as postal mail, packages, deliveries, and other materials.

The idea here is that all incoming items will be contained, from your daily postal mail, to small packages, interoffice materials, and the like.

You won’t have to search for things in your work space because everything will be located in one specific area.

Of course, this doesn’t absolve you from processing items in the box, you’ll still have to do so every day, or every couple of days.

File papers on a regular basis.

The simplest way to deal with multiple papers and files is to just file them. These items belong in a filing cabinet, drawer, or binder, and not sitting on top of, beside, or underneath your desk.

What’s more, when everything is properly filed away, you can find what you need in a pinch.

Try filing items at the end of every week when work slows down before the weekend. Hate filing? Delegate the task to an assistant, intern, or other office helper.

Install a recycling bin.

Make it easy for you to dispose of recyclable waste and refuse. Get a recycling bin or label a trash can as “recycling.”

Place it near your office door, or underneath a light switch. No more wondering where/if/how to recycle papers!

Create project bins or containers.

Contain materials for your projects and assignments by using large bins or containers.

You could use large wicker baskets, medium-sized wooden or leather file holders, or any other container of your choice. You can store papers, files, reports, books, electronics, materials, and other relevant items inside.

Not only is it easy for you to have everything readily available to you at a moment’s notice, but it allows you to keep your desk clear, and prevents all of your project work from getting mixed up.

Ready to work on a project? Pull out the bin and materials, and replace the items when you’re finished.

Contain office supplies.

Corral pens, pencils, erasers, paper clips, staples, and other office items in small containers, or shallow desk organizers.

It’s worth going through your desk drawers, the top of your desk, and other areas of your office to see what items you have on hand.

You’ll be able to easily find a tool when you need it, plus, you won’t have to worry about misplacing or losing items you just purchased.

Keep sticky notes under control.

Do you use a lot of sticky notes on and around your desk? You might want to consider how you use these office supplies.

Don’t worry, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t use sticky notes, but rather how you interact with them.

For example, if you’ve got fifty sticky notes stuck to your computer monitor, and always feel distracted as you work, remove the notes and transfer information into a notebook, or at least a single sheet of paper.

Alternatively, you could set an expiration date for your notes; you could jot down a few key to-dos on a sticky note, and the recycle it.

Or, you could use information on sticky notes just as reminders, or brief comments on paper memos.

Fully utilize bookcases, shelves, and drawers.

Are you making the most of the storage space in your office?

It’s as easy as transferring a stack of books from the floor to a bookcase, installing shelving for open files, and placing office supplies in empty drawers.

Take a good look around your workspace. How can you make the most out of the storage available to you?

Curate your personal items.

Being surrounded by carefully curated, beautiful, and inspirational art, decor, and books, can make your workspace a bit more personable, and pleasing.

That being said, you don’t have to jam pack it from wall to wall with your stuff from home.

If you’re drowning in personal items from home, it’s time to do some decluttering. Start by picking out a handful of items to keep.

Likewise, you don’t have to collect everyone else’s workspace hand-me-downs. Say no to freebies or other office ephemera that you really don’t want, or need. Keep and display items that truly resonate with you.

You’ll notice a big difference in your outlook when you take in your surroundings.   

Think twice before printing documents.

Before printing out any emails, reports, memos, or agendas, ask yourself whether or not you will actually need the item.

Will there be copies provided in your upcoming meeting? Can you take notes on a tablet or notebook? Will you only glance at the item briefly, and then recycle it?

It pays to think twice before pressing the “Print” button.

Adopt a no-storage policy.

Offices shouldn’t be used as haphazard dumping grounds for large quantities of materials, products, and samples.

That’s what storerooms, warehouses, and utility closets are for.

Besides, with all that stuff sitting around you, how are you going to get your work done?

Take the time to identify other appropriate spaces in your company’s building in which to store items.

Ask for help to move the offending items in question, and reclaim some much-needed office space.

Office Supply Checklist

Have lunch away  from your desk.

Crumbs, spilled drinks, empty mugs, dirty spoons, and plates…you needn’t clutter up your workspace with dish ware.

Take your lunch and snack breaks in the company cafeteria, break room, outdoors in a picnic area or park, or at a local restaurant or cafe.

Not only will you enjoy a break from your work, there will be less stuff to clean up and deal with at your desk.

Eliminate unnecessary office furniture.

How many chairs and tables do you need in your office or cubicle?

Remember, you can only sit/stand or work upon a single flat surface at any given period of time.

Create a list of the furniture you absolutely need in your office, and make plans to remove the rest.

Recycle those stacks of magazines, newspapers, and journals.

Free up some space in your office by getting rid of those stacks of print media.

Many publications are available online, and you can always make a trip to the library, or request an interlibrary loan for items.

Don’t want to part with your collection? See if your company has an on-site library to which you can donate materials.

At the very least, recycle the most outdated items and keep only what you need or will reference over the next several months.

Get rid of junk postal mail, email, and telemarketers.

If you haven’t yet reduced the amount of information being sent to you, you’re missing out on some much-needed peace of mind!

Take a few minutes to remove your name from marketing and telemarketing lists, and reap the benefits of less clutter for years to come.

If you’re located in the U.S., you can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website by clicking here.

Tidy up your workspace at the end of the day.

Push in your chair, clear off your desk, shut drawers, file folders and papers, return books to shelves, and generally put things back where they belong.

Just doing this at the end of every day will help keep your workspace clean, and in order.

How about you? Do you battle clutter in your office or workspace? What steps do you take on a regular basis to keep things in shipshape order? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.