Member Insights: Decluttering Your Workspace

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Member Insights by Core Developments

A cluttered desk leads to a cluttered mind—or so they say. If you need help decluttering your workspace, you’re not alone. Over the course of the week, paperwork, food, trash, and more can pile up on your desk and around your workspace. Whether it’s your cubicle at headquarters or your home-office, use these tips and tricks for decluttering your workspace.

1) Deal with your stuff

You know what I mean—staplers, that stack of business cards, old Tupperware, dried-out sharpies, etc. Choose a day and count the number of times you touch each item on your desk. Keep the top ten or so and put the rest away.

Conversely, you could start by clearing your desk of everything. Whatever you find on your desk that you needed during the day is what should stay there. The rest can find a permanent home somewhere else. Choose the method that works best for you.

2) Compartmentalize

Creating “zones” on your desk for certain tasks is a great way to declutter. L-shaped desks are particularly suited to this. Choose one zone for computer work, one zone for paperwork, and one zone for meetings. Utilize accessories like file cabinets and bookcases as zones for paper.

If you have a smaller desk, choose a left-to-right workflow. Put everything you still need to do on the left, do all your work in the center, and place all finished projects on the right. This keeps your immediate area clear for whatever you’re working on. The goal is compartmentalization.

3) The dreaded paper piles

Dealing with the loose papers on your desk is like going to the gym; it takes a lot of motivation to get there, but there’s a feeling of satisfaction when you leave. Just muster yourself up to tackle it all in on go. Sort it into categories and file it where it needs to be, somewhere that’s not causing clutter.

4) Enlarge your workspace

You may be thinking, “but all my stuff is important; I just need more space.” Sometimes that’s true. Start by utilizing the vertical space of your office with shelving, hooks, and pegboards. If there is no more space to be had, consider reorganizing into a different storage system.

Some workspaces, like tool benches and crafting tables, require that many tools and small items remain handy while working. Without proper organization, these items can leave spaces prone to clutter. Give yourself more working room when you organize these items and tools into small containers or divider trays which can be brought out and put away efficiently.

5) Clean

Cleaning is an important step in the decluttering process. If your desk isn’t clear enough to wipe down with a disinfectant cloth, then it isn’t decluttered enough. Crumbs and spills from working lunches can leave desks sticky or messy. Dust gathers on monitors and keyboards. Wipe or dust your entire workspace for a fresh, clean feeling.

Every day, some new piece of clutter lands in your workspace. Take control of your area and declutter every evening before you leave work. Arriving the next morning to an organized workspace gets your day off on the right track. Keeping your space tidy means keeping your mind tidy and focused on the task at hand. You’ll be amazed at how much your productivity increases when you declutter your workspace.