Welcome back to the Clear Your Life Small Project Series!
These articles have a mighty purpose. To divide the giant mountain of clutter in your home into bite sized clearing projects that you can complete with confidence. Today lets dig into small projects for office clutter.
To be clear: there’s merit to “tackling” a large amount of clutter when you have a big burst of energy and extra time.
But, there’s a risk that run out of steam before you’ve finished.
What does that mean?
You end up with a bigger mess than before you start.
Instead, think about your home in zones, areas and small projects. Then use my simple 4-step system to clear, sort and complete as you declutter.
If you have more energy and time to do more? Great! Keep going. Just keep the idea of small projects in mind and always finish what you’ve started.
You’ll build clearing confidence, see instant results and keep taking action consistently.
Life is made up of lots of little actions and wins along the way, it’s not one big hurrah or nothing.
Let’s Talk Office Clutter.
Office clutter is the physical representation of delayed decisions. Each time your eyes scan your office or desk and land on an item that you’ve refused to deal with, you’ll feel stressed out.
Whether or not you have a proper office in your living space or if you work from home, everyone deals with some form of paper and electronic clutter.
Piles of documents, unsorted files, notes scribbled on random sheets of paper, books and magazines in all different homes. You likely have a computer surrounded by so many papers, you can’t even see the surface of the desk.
Office clutter wastes time when you’re searching for what you need rather than creating.
This clutter affects your creative and financial energy. It’s a blockage in your home that needs sorting.
Paper clutter is especially stressful because it’s as though you’ll never catch up to it! There’s a steady stream of it pouring into your life and it’s constantly out of control.
Now imagine instead, a clutter-free office.
You can see the surface of your desk, and everything you need to work is within reach. Papers are sorted and you know exactly where to find what you’re looking for. Your work space is a snap to tidy up at the end of each use, and you return to it with and smile.
Work that you’ve been putting off for months is getting done, with ease and flow!
It's Time To Get Clearing
Try and look at your office and divide it into small projects. Here are examples to get you started:
- Taxes/must keep
- Course work, homework
- Top surface of desk
- Pencil cup (yep, clearing something this small can be just the boost you need)
- Single drawers
- Office supply organizer
- Bookshelves (one at a time)
Don’t Let Office Clutter Return
Clients always want better systems. They’re convinced that the right baskets, file folders, or digital systems would cure everything.
I can’t stress this enough: no system will solve a clutter problem.
Before you put systems in place to organize your space, you must clear first.
I’ve helped couples who had receipts as old as seven years old stashed away in their apartment. These were daily receipts, not even for big purchases. Some of the papers were so old you couldn’t read the dates or items on them anymore. There was no system in the world that would make those receipts useful to them instead of just cluttering up their home.
Remember, clear first, organize second.
After you clear, here are 5 simple tips to keep your office organized and clutter-free:
Deal with papers and mail right away: there’s a famous clutter quote from Peter Walsh that’s worth repeating. “Later is the best friend of clutter”.
Notice when you toss papers on your desk to deal with later. Train yourself to open, answer, file and recycle your papers immediately and you’ll be shocked at how quickly those mountains of papers disappear.
Remove papers filled with stuck energy: when sorting your papers, take note of old courses you’ve purchased, notebooks with past thoughts scribbled through them and old ideas that never came into fruition. If you’re attached to these papers, you may fear you’re out of good ideas.
The fascinating thing?
When you let go of these past ideas, you’ll create more space for creative new ideas to blossom.
Don’t let fear hold you back, you’ll NEVER stop creating or having exciting new ideas. If you’re drowning in old notebooks, it’s time to let go.
Keep your ideas in one spot: don’t scribble ideas on multiple paper surfaces or post-its. These will often get stuffed into multiple spots and not be easy to find when you need them.
Make good use of a paper OR digital planner (remember: the only right system is the system that works for you!) Post-its get lost to easily and can add to your office clutter stress instead of reduce it.
Stop over buying supplies: I know, I get it. New office supplies are so tempting at the store! But, if you are in a cycle of purchasing them when you have what you need at home, you’ll create office clutter.
When you complete the CYL Method on your supplies, take note of what you own and what you don’t need to buy.
Tidy up at the end of your work day: This five minute habit completely transformed my office when I finally organized my life.
At the end of the day, remove any plates or cups. Put your papers and books back in their homes. Check your planner quickly for the next day and then line it up neatly on the desk so it’s waiting for you in the morning.
This habit takes so little time and energy, but will set your future self up for a better day, guaranteed.
Small Steady Actions Will Clear Your Life
Feel like you don’t have the time to declutter your life? I hope this blog series encourages you.
Today, you might have time for just the smallest five-minute clearing project. But this weekend you can combine 4 or 5 and get a whole room done. Follow the ebbs and flows of your energy and remember that consistency is key.
If you can clear in small, incremental stages, you’ll transform your life without even putting “declutter” on the bottom of your to-do list.
If you find yourself stressed in your home office or like your clutter is holding you back from creating the work of your dreams, take action today and start clearing!
Tell me in the comments: What would you create in your clutter free office?