By: Julie Meyers Pron
If you’re finding yourself drowning under piles of papers and other things, try some of these tips to get your home office tidy — and keep it that way.
Schedule your declutter session and make it public
Open up your calendar and schedule 30 minutes to an hour for decluttering. If you make an appointment with yourself, you’re much more invested in it.
As the time comes to begin decluttering, announce the goal to the public as a way to put a little pressure on yourself. It also offers motivation every time someone chimes in with a comment urging you on.
When you’re done, announce it to everyone. You’ll feel productive and proud you stuck to your word (and feel the glory of a job well done via virtual pats on the back).
Everything has a place
Try hanging a sticky note by your computer to remind you that you can’t just leave things lying around. Not only does this note block our view of the countless Facebook and email notifications on the computer screen, it reminds us not to leave anything anywhere — it’s a preventative measure to make sure clutter won’t happen again.
If an item is important enough to keep, find a place for it right now, the second you touch it. Do not create a pile of “stuff” to put away later, because that won’t clear anything off your desk. If you work with the motto “everything has a place,” everything will have a place and will be returned there.
Like with Like
While determining correct places for things in your office, keep in mind that the best way to get — and keep — a decluttered desk is to place like with like. All pens are placed with pens and all notepads in a notepad drawer or container. Keeping like with like helps you expedite the process because it you won’t have to think at all while organizing.
Clear off the top of your desk
One of the hardest things to do is to clear as much as possible from the top of your desk. Although this may prove more difficult for those with less storage space, clear away all loose papers, pens and paperclips. Create folders or “bins” for papers so that nothing is left loose on your desk.
Invest in eye-catching organizational tools
As you’re decluttering, you’ll likely notice a need for folders, boxes and shelves. Invest in high-quality, decorative ones that match your style. The more you like what’s around you, the more you’ll want to use and see it, making it more likely you’ll use them. Don’t skimp on the quality, either! Cardboard magazine boxes rarely last a year — consider this an investment in your time, organization and maybe even some of your sanity!
Whether you have a label maker or little stickers and a pen, label everything as you go. Not only will this help you to remember where things are placed, it will also help others from cluttering your desk. If you have a cup area labeled “pens” and another labeled “pencils,” visitors are more likely to return items to the proper place rather than tossing them onto your desk or bookshelf.
Hide your cords or go wireless
Cords collect a lot of dust and are notorious coffee-mug spillers. When possible, hide your cords in a cord manager or collector and, while you’re at it, label your cords for when you need to reposition.
If you can, however, try going wireless. Less initial mess means less cleaning you’ll have to do afterward.
Replenish your stash
Now is a great time to replenish your dusting cloth, cleaner spray, and your plates and cups stash. Keep them nearby — in the back of a drawer for easy access when necessary — and out of sight so they’re not eyesores. Additionally, toss in a box of soft granola bars or other favorite snacks that don’t crumble all over and into your keyboard. When you need an energy boost, open the drawer, grab a snack and get back to work. Having them nearby will make for a lot less mess and trash later compared to if you had to leave your office to grab a snack.
Schedule weekly or daily clean-ups
The more consistent you are, the easier it will be to continue to be decluttered. Work either 15 minutes into your schedule every Friday, or five minutes every day toward putting everything away so that your desk and office can stay clear for good.
Julie is the owner and editor of Julieverse.com and VlogMom.com, a website and network focused on empowering video bloggers. She writes an education column for Rusty & Rosy’s blog page and specializes in parenting, education, organization and travel.