How to Declutter Your Workspace in Five Minutes

Web developer with a messy workspace

There is no reason you should work in an untidy office. There is no reason you can’t make your workspace organized and neat. Cluttered workstations affect our productivity. When we can’t find a document that we need to read or sign, that takes away minutes off our productive hours. The key to having an orderly workspace is to have a system. You should create a system that works for you.

Get a Trash Can

You can buy a recycling bin online. Buy a huge one so that you have space for all your trash. Most offices have one central trash bin located far away from the desks. Get one for yourself so that you always have a place to throw your trash in—from crumpled up reports to your disposable lunch box. This might be an obvious step to clean up your workstation. But many times, you get so used to all the clutter on your desk that you don’t realize more than half of it is trash.

Return Stuff to Your Coworkers

You might have borrowed a stapler or a document from your coworker. Learn to give their things back. You might not have noticed, but your desk is cluttered with things that are your coworkers’. Learn to give stuff back as soon as you are finished with them.

Follow the Like-with-like Rule

The like-with-like rule is so simple. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to follow it. The point of this rule is to gather similar types of stuff together. All documents related to your current project should be in one folder. That folder should be in durable magazine bins. Gather your pens and pencils and put them in a separate container. The same goes for your notepads, paper clips, and staple wires. By the end of your decluttering, there should be no loose items on your desk.

Remove Cables and Wires

If your office has not bothered to invest in wireless technology, that means that you still have several cables and wires connecting computers, printers, and telephones. These are unsightly. Gather them together with a rubber band or a cable organizer so that they don’t have to be an obtrusive mess on your table.

Wipe the Table

Are you eating lunch or a snack at your desk? There’s a good chance that you are. Make sure that there’s a wet wipe in one of your drawers. Wipe your desk as soon as you are finished with your meal. That sticky sauce from your Chinese takeout will attract ants and dust.

Choose Necessities

Graphic designer drawing on his desk

Unsure if you need the stuff or not? Ask yourself if you have used it the past month. When did you last use it? If you haven’t used it in about a year, throw it away or give it to a coworker. You can also have a drawer to store things you rarely use. The point is to use your desk space only for things that you use daily. There’s no point in storing items that you don’t need.

Do this five-minute decluttering activity every time you finish your shift. That will reduce the time you need to spend doing general cleaning of your desk. The point of decluttering is to keep it as such. Once you’re finished with a document, for example, put it in the paper rack. Make decluttering a habit, and you’ll never have to worry about a messy desk.

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