“A place for everything, everything in its place.” Benjamin Franklin

In this week’s blog post I’m looking at the benefits of decluttering your workspace. If you work from a home office you are going to be more productive if you love your space – However big or small there is nothing worse than working in a muddle. If like me, you have worked from home for many years you will no doubt have accumulated quite a lot of unnecessary  ‘stuff’.

  • Paperwork – invoices, receipts, business cards, magazines, books
  • Technology – redundant computer equipment, lead, and modems
  • Stock and supplies – envelopes, printer paper, 
  • Personal belongings – your own and your family’s or house-mates’

There are four main issues with working in a cluttered space:

  1. Working in a mess

A disorganised space can lead to chaotic  thinking. Whilst I am not a fan of working in a sterile environment, I do like to keep the piles under control – not always successfully I hasten to add! Keeping tidy means you are less likely to be distracted whilst working and you won't be thinking about that bag of stuff in the corner of the room

  1. Finding things

The more clutter you have in your office, the more difficult it is to find anything which means you waste valuable time searching for that particular piece of equipment you rarely use but one which is vital for a specific task. I’m always looking for that elusive camera lens.

  1. Security and confidentiality

Do you need to keep certain information private? If you are a health professional with patients' records it’s probably a good idea to get them in a locked drawer or cupboard. If these papers are in a muddle not only are they not to hand but also there may be confidentiality issues if you share your office space with other people. 

  1. Lack of space

Having a tidy office will gain you space. Keeping on top of the clutter will allow you to room for a comfy chair for reading or an exercise bike to get the heart rate up.

Options for Decluttering

When it comes to decluttering you have several options:

  1. Do it yourself

The problem with setting aside enough time to declutter is that it’s so easy to put the evil task off. Procrastination is a killer for getting those jobs done that always seem to stay at the bottom of your long to-do list. If you are tackling the sorting yourself, you’re likely spend a great deal of time deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. If you’ve held onto these items for a long time, it will be even harder to get rid of them. Work out when you last used them and if it hasn’t been within the last 6 months consider if they can be sold, given away or recylced.

Have you got time to tackle the decluttering? If you’re stacked out it’s unlikely you are going to make the time to do this time-consuming task. Is your time more valuable than it would cost to get in a declutterer?

2. Recruit a friend you do theirs and they do yours

One solution is do a decluttering swap with a friend. A session on your office and then return the favour by spending the equivalent amount of time on theirs.

3. Outsource to the experts

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to declutter your space yourself then hand it over to the experts.

Decluttering my office

I recently decided that my stock of stationery which I sell for charity needed to be hidden from view in my office. Tight for time I called in our local experts, Alison and Karen from Lifeworks to clear the space and to store the boxes in a couple of cupboards.  They organised, labelled and moved all the boxes so that I can now find the planners, notebooks and cards easily.

Within a couple of hours they had completely cleared the whole of one wall and now I have the space for a new bookcase. I'm now motivated to continue their good work and tackle the rest of the office myself.

The main advantages of outsourcing your decluttering are:

  • It’s done in one session
  • It’s quicker as the professionals are more focused and decisive
  • Expert declutterers have no emotional attachment to your stuff and if they are experienced they make intelligent decisions on your behalf.
  • Sort into four piles
    • Recycling – magazines, non-confidential paperwork, newspapers, fabrics, etc
    • Give away useful belongings to friends and family or put them on local Facebook pages or sites such as Streetlife.
    • Charity – give books and other saleable objects to charity shops for resale
    • Rubbish
    • Sell items with value on eBay, Facebook or other apps.

If you are looking for a complete guide to decluttering take a look at ‘Sorted' by Gillian Perkins 

Once the job is done, treat yourself to a new house-plant, some fresh flowers or a new picture to celebrate.

Categories: productivity