3 Steps to Clearing Office ClutterFebruary 9, 2012
It’s that time of year again, where resolutions have hopefully been started or implemented, and we’re ready to move forward! But before we do, it’s a great idea to do some pre-spring cleaning. Why wait for later to clear out the clutter? After all, a big spring cleaning can be a daunting endeavor. As with most things organizing-related, if you work on small tasks, the overall project can be a lot easier. Let’s start by paring down some of the extra supplies and electronics that might be lurking around your workspace:
What are you really using? Be honest with yourself, your needs, and what you’re truly likely to use. if you can’t think of an actual event or situation that is likely to happen in the near future where you could use an item, it’s time to let it go. If you haven’t ever needed the card stock you’ve been holding on to, you probably aren’t going to be using it anytime soon. Same goes for the t-shirt iron on transfer paper, the thank-you notes pre-printed with your old address, and the label cartridges for the label maker you no longer have. Your electronic detritus can also be pared down – look for mystery cables and connectors, dead hard drives, business card scanners that just didn’t work, and out-of-date devices to give the old heave-ho to.
Recycle or donate the discards. A huge barrier to clearing out the clutter that I see when I work with clients is that they don’t want their castoffs going into the landfill. It’s great to responsibly get rid of the things you no longer want or need – we just need to find the right new homes for your items. For office supplies, check with local schools and non-profits, as they are often happy to take all sorts of supplies, which can be used in their own offices, or as art supplies for kids. Electronics can be a little trickier. If you have something in working condition, it can often be donated to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or your favorite charity. Dead electronics can sometimes be sent back to the manufacturer of the item, recycled with a service like Green Citizen, or given to your local hazardous waste disposal unit.
Store what’s left. So you’ve cleared out the clutter and made some room in your workspace. Now it’s time to put everything that you want to keep away. Start by placing your supplies into groups – maybe the ink cartridges together, the mailing supplies in another group, and so on. Place the groups close to where you’d be likely to use them – these then become your work and storage zones. Once your stuff is in a zone, then look for ways to store the items – whether in drawers, containers, on shelves, etc.
By clearing out the clutter, you can dramatically increase your productivity – the things you need and use are within easy reach, and it’s easy for you to put them away when you’re done. On top of that, you’ll feel better by knowing that you’re not hanging onto stuff that you don’t need!