Tips to Avoid a Cluttered Desk
Start by sorting papers. Just put them in two piles, stuff you need and stuff you can put right into the recycling bin (directly – do not pass Go). Keep a bin, bag or some kind of container right there as you work your way through and get rid of expired coupons, receipts you don’t need, paperwork you’ve already finished, newspaper clippings (anything you kept and don’t remember why). Don’t let yourself get sidetracked into sorting the stuff you are keeping. Just pile it up for now. Focus on getting rid of everything you don’t need. You will feel you actually accomplished something when you have less clutter.
From your pile of papers sort out two piles again. This time sort out work related from personal. Anything like photos of your family versus contact information for a client and so on. Put the personal stuff into a bag or some kind of container which will keep it from being on the floor or piled up on your bed, kitchen table or other places where it will just get in the way and not be very portable. If you can, get family to help sort out these things. Some things, like photos, can be given to them or they can deliver them to the right person for you.
Use a filing system that works for you to sort out the work related clutter. Sort paperwork by date/ month. Have an In and Out box for things you need to do and those which are done and just need to be put away or throw them away if you won’t need them again.
Invest in a bulletin board or magnetic board which you can pin more urgent notes to – this way you can keep track of the important to-do things and they won’t be lost on your desktop. Anything left in the work related pile should be given a place where it can easily and predictably be found or you should not keep it. Avoid keeping odds and ends that you probably won’t use or don’t really need.
Find a container for all your pens, pencils, coloured markers, highlighters, etc. Look at the thrift store for some unique and thrifty storage ideas. Or, get a drawer organizer and keep them stored in a desk drawer, tidily. Do the same with other small accessories like staplers, paperclips, etc.Tidy up cables, wires and such from your computer and other electronics by your desk. Even if they are mostly out of sight they add to the feeling of clutter. There are good ideas for tidying up cables by using twist ties, bread tags or elastic bands.
Everything on your desk that did not really belong there should be put in the right place, the proper room. Make yourself start a new habit of putting all these things (like a hairbrush, lip balm, coffee cups, medicine, etc.) away rather than just putting them down wherever you happen to be using them at the time. Save yourself the extra clutter and you have room on your desk to work with the real things that belong there.
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