Whether you are at home or at the office you probably have a desk that sees regular use. And if you are like most people you probably have at least a few items that seem to have mysteriously obtained a permanent position on it. More likely, there is little actual desk to
be seen under the various odds and ends, paperwork, cups, wrappers, and other items on and in your desk. Taking back your desk by getting rid of the clutter can be a quick way to impove your productivity, organization, and give you a boost in your decluttering efforts – it can usually be accomplished quickly and with very little frustration.
Start by identifying what you need at, on, or in your desk. A couple pencils and pens? A pad of sticky notes or a notepad? Your address book? These are normal things that belong with your desk – watch out for the following items and get rid of them if you have them on your desk:
- loose paperwork
- old envelopes
- more than a few pens and pencils
Keeping a few extra pens and pencils is fine as a backup, but there is no need to have a drawer full of them! If we have a drawer or box full of pens and we used a new one every few days we would still have too many – get rid of your extra pens and pencils to help reduce your desk clutter.
Old paperwork and documents should be filed or scanned if important (I recommend reading through the paperwork clutter category for more info on ways to deal with paperwork clutter); throw them away, or shred them if they contain sensitive information, if they are just taking up space and no longer needed.
If you regularly eat or drink around or at your desk get in the habit of performing a dish and silverware cleanup at least once a day. Schedule a time to return dishes to a kitchen or storage area so that they do not start to take over your desk and leave stains, crumbs, or spills.
If you need storage on your desk, go with the tried and true coffee cup method for your desktop. Nearly everything you need can fit in a coffee cup: pens, pencils, ruler, etc. If you want to go the extra mile you can put dividers or small boxes into your desk drawers for items like staplers and headphones. This way they are close by but out of the way when not in use.
After you have moved all of the individual items out of the way, take a few minutes to deal with your cable clutter. This can help keep your electronics organized and make the area look neater and less of a rats nest of cord clutter.
Lastly, after cleaning off your desk, take the time to wipe it down with a duster or a damp towel. This will leave your desk cleaner than before – this helps me want to keep it cleanafter I am done decluttering it.
On a really messy desk this might take you 15 minutes; once you have gotten in the habit of keeping stray items in their place this becomes a little routine that takes a minute or two once a day and keeps your desk organized and clutter free. I've found this to help my concentration and productivity; instead of becoming distracted and worried about the junk on my desk I can focus on the task at hand.