Is your work being affected by the need to destress by decluttering your home office? How many times have you walked into your home office only to cringe, turn around, and walk out?
If you spend more time thinking up reasons to avoid your office than actually working in it, you may be suffering from ‘mess related stress.’ The fact is, clutter does more than waste time and space; clutter causes stress. Let’s take a look at the typical home office hot-spots and learn a few tricks for clearing the clutter to create a peaceful and inviting work space.
Decluttering Your Home Office
I’m one of those people that can’t work in a cluttered, untidy space. It doesn’t matter if I’m at my computer or working in my craft space. If stuff starts to crowd me and messes pile up, I need to take some time to clean up and put things back in their place. I prefer to be organized. Especially when I’m super busy, if I don’t have things organized, things become forgotten or lost. I hope these tips help you in decluttering your home office to make it a healthier work space for you.
Whether you have a huge antique roll top desk, a modern massive executive desk, or a tiny computer cart, your desk is going to be prime space for a lot of stuff. Don’t think buying a larger desk will solve the clutter problem. However, organizing the space you have on your desk definitely helps.
Start de-cluttering your desk by cleaning off the top, cubbies, and drawers. All that should remain is the large items like your computer, monitor, and lamp. When I do this, I use a laundry basket to hold items I’ve taken from my desk. Once you can see your desk’s surfaces, use a cleaner to wipe away the dust and dirt. For me, it’s catching stray kitty fur left behind by my “office assistants”. And, don’t spray directly onto your monitor, keyboard, or mouse. Use a clean damp cloth to wipe those clean. Tuck away messy cords using cord covers like these below available at Amazon.
Now that you have a clear surface and neatly tucked away cords, set up a few containers for those items that you always need. You’ll probably want small bins or cups to hold pens, pencils, and notepads. However, your needs may include paper-clips, staplers, tape, rulers, and calculators. Put only what you need to work on your desk , and store the rest away in containers. The more you have on your desk the more you’ll need to be decluttering your home office again. I got some great organizers for my desk from Amazon, including the second one pictured below. I got it in pink to match my other decor.
You will want a nice big clear area on your desk to actually work on the project you have at the moment. Therefore, rather than pile your desk high with an entire week’s worth of work, choose another area close by to hold the papers, books, journals, or other bulky items you’ll need later.
That brings us to the most common home office clutter monster – papers. This includes projects, notes, mail, and all that paperwork we just can’t seem to get rid of. There are, however, ways to tame even this monster.
As mentioned, you don’t want a pile of papers cluttering your desk. We all have paper to handle every day. We take notes, we get mail, we save receipts – the list is endless, just like the paper. If you tend to toss every piece of paper into one pile, perhaps it’s time to stop treating all paperwork equally.
To set up a system for paperwork that doesn’t just become another pile. Divide your In-Box into categories. For example, set up three boxes and title them “Immediate,” “Tomorrow,” and “File.” Anything you have to handle before you move onto another task goes into the “Immediate” box. Something that is not as time-sensitive, but needs to be checked again tomorrow, obviously goes into the “Tomorrow” box, and things that don’t need any further consideration can simply go into the “File” box to be stored when you have time.
Of course, you will really have a fourth box – the trash can – to complete your paperwork system. If you use this method, remember to keep the papers moving daily, and clean out the filed papers on a routine basis, which brings us to the next area where clutter often reigns – the file.
Even the best file cabinet fills up when left unattended. You may think “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to this clutter, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Knowing you have mountains of clutter lurking behind closed doors is enough to cause stress. When it comes time to open that door or drawer you want to not have papers falling out and unable to find what you’re looking for.
Start clearing the stored stuff out of your files, shelves, and closets by first finding out what you actually need to keep. There are good lists available on many websites, including the IRS. Use these guidelines to begin purging documents that are no longer needed for tax or estate purposes. Learn what paper work can be stored electronically, such as receipts. I’ve slowly moved myself from keeping everything in files and notebooks, to putting my notes, planners, and financial records on my computer. Additionally, I have external storage, and cloud storage as back ups.
Sort through papers objectively, decide what you have to keep, what you can scan to store electronically, and what can be tossed. If it’s something you have used in 3-6 months, it’s likely you won’t use it in another 3-6 months!
Lastly, have a set of files to keep current projects handy at your desk. There are several ways you can keep them organized but quickly available at your desk like these below.
These are the crafts you started, magazines you saved, and other items you kept because you loved something about them. Maybe it’s a book or magazine with decorating ideas or recipes you wanted to try. It may be a story you saved to read later. Perhaps there are pictures to be framed or cards to be stamped. The point is, there are projects lost in a pile collecting dust and taking up space. I’m sucker for keeping magazines. As they pile up, I go through them, pulling out just what I want to keep. I must admit, I still have a 5lb file filled with magazine clippings somewhere in m office closet.
When it comes to decluttering your home office, having a way to store projects is key to keeping organized. Periodically, I go through my craft supplies. I sell what I’m not going use on Facebook Craft Supply Groups. I’ve donated supplies, too. I try to have a drawer, bin, or basket to keep each kind of project in. I’ve found a roll around drawer set super handy and versatile! When I don’t need it I just push it under my craft table.
If after cleaning out your space, you still have piles of projects, investment in some inexpensive shelving, drawers, or cubbies to neatly house your crafting projects. This simple storage solution can go a long way to de-cluttering, and de-stressing both your office space and your creative space.
Now that you have your desk cleaned off, paperwork is moving smoothly from start to finish, filed items purged, and your projects reduced and neatly arranged, it’s time to sit down and get some work done. What a relief to finally be rid of that creeping clutter. Enjoy your ‘mess-less stress-less’ home office!
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