Is your desk a mess? I deal with a ton of paperwork, mostly because I’m the type of person who has to write everything down or I’ll forget. So, I’ve got paperwork everywhere. It’s craziness. One of the best places, for me, that paperwork likes to hide, is my desk. Actually, everything likes to hide in my desk, including those not-so-cute little dust bunnies! Here are the tips I use to keep the craziness at bay…
How to Declutter Your Desk
Clean and Purge
The first thing you will want to do is clean your whole desk inside and out. This will include going through every post it note and piece of paper that you already have. As time goes on, things get piled up or thrown into drawers and we forget about them. Take the time to go through each and ever piece of paperwork, take care of it, and file it accordingly (we will go over paperwork again in a few minutes).
Make sure when you are cleaning and purging, that you take the time to go through your office supplies and weed it out. If you are an office supply lover like me, you probably have five different styles of highlighters and around twenty notebooks piling up on your desk. In all reality we really don’t need that many so pick your favorites and donate the rest to your local school or daycare. Even though we think having a variety is fun, it just leads to a pile up of supplies which eventually become a disorganized mess.
If it helps, all of your new office supplies, you can keep in a drawer in the garage or somewhere else. I have crates inside a pantry that I keep in the garage. With the wheels off, two crates stack nicely on top of each other, so 6 drawers total. One drawer in the crate has all my new office supplies, so they are not entangled with my used supplies, and everything is organized nice and neat. When I use the last of something, I make a note of it on my list for the store. This way, I always have what I need right at my fingertips…and nothing more!
Control the Paper Clutter
This actually was made into a whole post in itself but while we are trying to have a more organized desk, I will try to keep it short and brief, so that we can get your mess cleaned up. It is important to go through each and every piece of paper that you have lying around and get it taken care of. You can set yourself up with these categories to begin….
- Paperwork that requires action (this would include bills that need paid, paperwork that needs signed or places that you need to call)
- Important paperwork that needs to be kept in a safe place (this would include the mortgage to your home, car titles, birth certificates and so on). These need to be kept in a fireproof safe or somewhere equally safe like a lock box at the bank.
- Other paperwork that needs filed (bank statements, bills that have been paid, etc.)
Start files and as soon as you have something that falls into this category come up, immediately file it accordingly.
The most important thing to remember about paperwork is to take care of it as soon as it enters your home, using the 1-touch rule in the Tips for Organizing Your Paperwork post.
Invest in Some Storage
Invest some money into some storage and organizational systems for your desk. This may include buying new files, a docking station, and anything that will help you keep things picked up and from becoming cluttered. Just be careful not to buy too many things for the top of the desk as this could lead to another mess. You are better off keeping everything stored in specific spots inside your drawers and cabinets.
The particular desk I have has lots of storage. If you can, purchase a desk like that to help everything have it’s proper place.
Inside one cabinet of my desk, I have my printer/scanner and router. In another, I have a file organizing system to file papers, speaker system, my phone, etc. I also have a letter file in there to sort papers and have everything exactly where I need it. That’s not even half what I have in there, but it’s all organized and it looks even better because I can shut all the doors and drawers completely up. When company comes, they don’t see a thing because it’s all hidden.
Ditch the Post-its
This may sound counter productive because this is what you use to stay organized, right?? If your desk looks anything like mine used to, you probably have post-its stuck to each and every nook and cranny that you have available. The wall, the computer screen and every other available space has a post it stuck somewhere on it? The problem here is that you have too many small pieces of paper everywhere and this can cause you to miss things or worse yet…miss a deadline or end up paying a late bill.
Keep your Desk Top Clutter-Free
Keep the organizational tools on top of your desk to a minimum. These items can really help organize your supplies but can become too much, real quick. Your computer, a calculator, pencil organizer and an inbox should really be enough on top of your desk, try to organize the rest inside of your drawers. Since the drawers in my desk are fairly deep, I purchased an adjustable great quality silverware drawer tray that won’t slide my stuff around. It fits in there perfectly, so all my pencils, highlighters, erasers, paper clips, and so on, are in that holder and I store other things I don’t use as often in the bottom of that drawer like a ruler, staples, post it notes, etc. Anything that is used that wouldn’t go in my garage pantry drawer, but is not something I use a lot.
Build a Command Center
I find it beneficial to have a family command center (they also have them at Target) near my desk but not on it. I have one located on the wall near my desk that works well for me. Having a calendar to keep track of all family activities and appointments is a must! You may also wish to include a cork board to keep track of chores, meal list and shopping lists. It is also very beneficial to have an inbox and outbox for every member of your household.
What are your favorite tips on how to declutter?