Keeping Your Office Uncluttered in 7 Easy Steps
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A cluttered office can waste valuable resources including time, money, and energy. Lots of time can be lost searching for files and papers, finding a telephone number, or really any essential piece of information when you desk and office are covered in piles of unlabelled and unorganised documents. Since time is money, anything that results in wasted time leads to wasted money.
Because of the negative effects of clutter, it is essential that work areas be cleaned and kept in order so as to improve productivity. The following are a series of several tips that will help you to keep order in your office:
Set a Spot Aside for Incoming Papers
Papers are largely responsible for office clutter. This is mostly because they easily find their way into different spots such as desks, counters, tables, and drawers. Because of this, you should create a tray for incoming papers and make sure that you do not put papers in any location except their designated location.
Start By Clearing a Small Section
The first step to clearing your office is clearing a small area which can be labeled a no-clutter zone. It doesn’t really matter which part of your office this is but it will be an essential step in eliminating all clutter. Once you have designated a zone which is clutter-free, make sure that it is kept that way. Gradually, you can work on expanding the no-clutter area until the whole office is free of clutter.
Remove Everything From a Drawer
Choose a drawer and empty all of its contents onto the top of the desk. Sort the contents of the drawer into three different piles. One pile will consist of stuff which should remain in the drawer, another should be stuff that belongs in another location, and a third should be items that should be discarded. After all of the items are removed, clean the drawer and place the necessary items back in the drawer neatly and in an orderly fashion. Address the remaining piles right away and don’t just leave them on your desk.
Create Easy to Read Folders
It is very common for papers to pile up when we do not have good places to keep them. Creating some folders that are clearly labeled for papers and documents can help put all of this to rights. Place all of your folders in a single drawer or specific area of your desk or office. If you are not able to do this with all of your papers, do it for as many as you can so that you can free up a lot of space for yourself.
Learn How to File Rapidly
Once you have established a system for filing, you will just need to become comfortable in placing files within the folders regularly and swiftly. If you begin to accumulate papers in your inbox, you can take them and separate them into the necessary piles and place them into the appropriate folder. Make quick decisions. If you do not need the paper, throw them away immediately. If you need them, file them right away. Never place anything that you have taken out of the inbox back into the inbox. Instead, put them in the trash bin, the recycling bin, or the appropriate folder.
Create a Box for “Maybes”
Oftentimes, when you are going through a box of papers, you will run across items that you are not sure whether or not you need. Sometimes, there are papers that you might need at a later date. Or, more simply, you are what is commonly known as a “pack rat”. A great way to resolve this issue is by creating a box for “maybes”. You can place these papers here. After all of the papers have been placed in the box, you should hide it in a location which you do not frequent. Make a note on the desk calendar for a day 6 months away when you should look in the box again. On this date, the papers should be looked at. If you did not need any of this information for six months and determine that that the papers are not needed, you should dispose of them at this time.
Schedule a Day to Declutter
Decluttering can become quite overwhelming if you try to do your entire office area at one time. However, if you set aside one day each month, you can keep your area clear without exerting too much effort at one time. If you can get your officemates involved, all the better. The more hands that you have working on the project, the quicker and easier the job will be. Acquire trash bags and boxes and get rid of any papers that you do not need.