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Don’t get overwhelmed cleaning out your desk and workspace. Come up with a game plan, and spend a few minutes a day until the job is done and decluttered.
10 Tips for Cleaning out your Desk
- Set up 4 boxes – trash, recycle, shred, and keep. All papers with sensitive information, including your name, address, account numbers, financial information, or any identifiable information about you or a member of you family, should be shredded. You can purchase a shredder for home use, or take it to your local office supply stores where you can pay a small fee for your documents to be destroyed. All other paper gets recycled – junk mail, scraps of paper, newspaper, envelopes, all should go in a recycle bin. Keep the trash box only for items that can’t be recycled. The keep bin is exactly that – the items that you will be keeping but not putting away right now. Personally, about 90% of the clutter on my desk can get recycled, so that bin fills up rather quickly.
- Start going through the papers on the surface of your desk, and sort them into one of the bins. If these seems like a daunting task, set a timer for 5-10 minutes and see how much you can get through. You are only putting the papers into one of your bins. This is not the time to file them away, or to shred anything. You will get to that later.
- Next, tidy up the office supplies. You know the pens, pencils, paperclips, and other randomness. Take a quick minute to test the pens and see if they are still working. Toss those that are dead.
- What about all those wires? Do you really need all of your chargers plugged in at once? If the answer is no, then disconnect some of them, wrap them up, and store them away.
- Tidy up your books and notebooks, putting them away where they belong.
- Set up a file for keeping your receipts and invoices for tax purposes. I prefer an accordion file, but my husband prefers scanning documents and storing them in Evernote.
- Set up a filing system for the other documents that were in your keep pile. Scanning documents to keep them electronically, and then shredding them is a great option.
- Now go through your “KEEP” box and file the items that are in there so they are put away. If you have an item that requires further action, make a small pile for those, but all receipts and other papers need to be taken care of.
- Address the items that you need to take further actions on, then file or shred the items when you are finished with it.
- Commit to addressing all papers as they come into your workspace so that things don’t get cluttered up again. As soon as you get the mail, put it in the recycle, shred, or keep/action bin. Then once a week go through your keep/action and address all of the items. Shred the sensitive items as they arrive, but are no longer needed.
Do you have any tips for dealing with the clutter on your desk and filing cabinets?