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Overwhelmed? Declutter Your Office Now.

If working from home stresses you out, it’s time to declutter your office.

Not only do you get distracted, but your productivity suffers as well. Maybe the following scenarios sound familiar…

You get an epic idea like a bolt of lightning! You quickly scribble it down on a sticky-note, but it eventually gets lost in a sea of random office papers.

Or you’re hosting a coaching client on Zoom in seven minutes. Suddenly, you see piles of unopened mail, receipts and dirty dishes on the shelves behind you. You shove the clutter out of your camera’s view, frustrated that it still lurks in your space.

Perhaps you suffer from  backaches because you’re working on the couch… again. This was supposed to be the week you finally tackled your desk clutter. But it’s just easier to move your lap top to the soft squishy cushions of your couch.

Building your own business means you’re smart, motivated and you have something special to share with the world. Yet your home workspace is a constant source of stress.

Back in your corporate days you had the luxury of massive filing cabinets (and no family members leaving dirty dishes on your desk.)

Now, you question if you’ll ever have a work from home setup that supports your biggest goals, rather than hindering them.

Here’s the good news – everyone can have an inspiring, functional and uncluttered workspace.

Not just type-A overachievers. Not just people who have been tidy their whole lives. And not just people who have a natural knack for keeping spaces organized. Oh, and especially not just people who have large extra rooms that serve as their home office.

How do I know this?

Because I am not one of those people, and I have a tidy, inspiring home office setup.

Before I decluttered my life, I was super unorganized. I battled my clutter, missed deadlines and lost important papers.  And now? I’ve built my intentional organizing business while living tiny (and working from my kitchen table.)

So, let me repeat – you can overcome the mess in your workspace.

As you read this article, I’ll be using the term “office” often. This advice still works even if your home office is in a shared space!

Keep reading to learn five ways to declutter your office for success.

1. Get Your Mindset Right

More than checklists and Container Store recommendations – inner groundwork sets you up for lasting success.

Are you stuck in the old story line that you’ll never be organized?  Until you change this belief, it will continue to manifest in your life.  So, say out loud to yourself “I can do this. I can create a home office that supports my business.” 

Then write it down, and repeat often.

In order to clear your space, you must see your vision that you’re aiming for. Write out how you’d like your home office to look and feel. Don’t skip the details!

TIP: keep an inspiring and meaningful affirmation on display in your office and read it aloud every day.

2. Declutter Your Office... A Lot

Purging excess possessions is the ultimate cheat code to becoming organized. With excess stuff in your life, it’s almost impossible to keep track of your belongings. 

And if there’s more stuff than storage space, no amount of organizing or baskets will help.

Be ruthless, decisive and confident in your decisions.  Every decluttered item opens up space for your most used items to have an easily accessible home.  You’ll also create space for your best ideas to flourish.

TIP: follow the Clear Your Life Method to avoid overwhelm while you declutter your office, it’s available here.

3. Tame Your Paper Clutter

Paper clutter is the most common headache in home offices.

Again, be ruthless in your decluttering.  You’ll be amazed at how many unneeded papers clog up your workspace.

I don’t suggest going all digital – it simply isn’t reasonable for everyone. I love taking notes on paper and I use a paper planner too.

However, there are always old papers, binders, folders and receipts lurking in your space that can easily go.

Decluttering paper is essential.  But how do you stop paper from coming into your workspace?

  • Cancel paper subscriptions unless you absolutely love and use them
  • Switch to paperless billing
  • Tell your mail courier no flyers

As you declutter your office, understand where your papers come from and which you actually need to keep. You can take control of paper clutter with small adjustments.

TIP: make recycling everyday paper easy. Keep a bin nearby, and toss unimportant papers and envelopes immediately so they don’t pile up

Still struggling with clutter?
Find out why!

4. Designate Zones

Once you purge and declutter your office, you’ll have a blank slate to work with.  Now you can put your space back together in a way that works for you.

Think about when and how often you use items to decide their home.  Essential high use items should be the easiest to access.  Lesser used but important items can be stored away to keep space clear.

Because if your notebook or highlighters don’t have a designated home, they become a mountain of mess. But when items have clearly defined homes, putting them back is a breeze. 

TIP: label containers and shelves with tape until you’re happy with your new home office setup.

5. Commit to Daily Upkeep

Small habits performed consistently create lasting change in your home.

So please, take 5 minutes to tidy your desk at the end of every workday!

Bring cups and plates to your kitchen. Put planners, books and papers away in their designated homes. Create a sense of finality to your day so you can move into personal time.

Daily upkeep is essential to success after you declutter your office.

TIP: if a task takes 5 minutes or less to clear up your space, don’t wait!  Do it right away.

Create Space & Declutter Your Office

Building a business that you care about deserves a space for your creativity and productivity to shine.

Take a look at your current set up and see where you can make improvements. And if you’re feeling stuck on where to start, take the quiz below!


Find out why your home is still cluttered.

Most people struggle with one of three common challenges when clearing clutter. But once you understand what’s holding you back, you can create a peaceful, calm & inspiring home you love.

Take the quiz below to uncover your #1 clutter challenge and how to overcome it!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hi Jen,

    I’d love to see pictures of your office space since you’re living tiny. I have my own office, but it’s also where I deal with all things related to our family– my husband and 2 teens, and they try to use this space too sometimes since I have the large family computer in my office. So, I’m continually enforcing boundaries. I think daily attending to tidying the space is key. Thanks.

    1. Jen

      You’re so right about daily tidying! I literally work from our kitchen table that’s a part of our living room/main hangout space as well. We live in 300sq ft. I’ve culled down my office supplies to fit in a bag that I bring out and put away each day. I lovingly call the bag my “desk.”

  2. Jennifer Koen

    I have mountains of paperwork from previous work projects and loads of peer-reviewed articles from previous university studies and my last Master’s dissertation – like boxes full of the stuff. I have managed to fill a couple of recyling bags with papers I am unlikely to ever look at again. But I can’t help feeling like I must keep some of the journal articles that I found helpful at the time and have made notes on – even though I haven’t looked at any of it in over a decade… I have also found some coursework assignments from the Master’s I am currently stuck on (working on my research dissertation and it has felt as if I can’t get going, or that I am going around in circles.). These coursework assignments are not what I would consider my best work, and they actually leave me with a pit in my stomach thinking about them – at the same time I worry that I “might need them” – although logically I should probably toss them out? And that’s not even thinking about the files of notes from undergraduate courses that I have kept for almost 20 years, and barely touched at all in that time. Do I throw these out? Sigh… I am in a quandy.

    1. Jen

      Hi Jennifer and thanks for your comment! Without knowing you and your whole backstory in detail, I’d love to offer a few questions for you to think about:

      – Is there a part of you that’s worried a piece of your past identity could be lost if you let go of these old papers?
      – If you really went for it and got rid of ALL of them – what’s the worst that could happen?
      – Is there a middle ground solution for you, such as curating one (or more, I’m unsure of the size of your paper collection) binders – more as a proud keepsake of the work you’ve done to look back on?

      – Why keep the coursework papers that give you a pit in your stomach? In my experience, that’s literally your intuition giving you a nudge to let them go 😉 Often when we work through the fear of letting go of something that makes us feel icky (like your coursework) there’s a feeling of freedom on the other side. Plus, the realization that you will always have new ideas, new perspectives and new creativity to offer the world

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