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With an estimated 25-30% of the workforce expected to work from home part-time by the end of 2021, the lines between home and work continue to be blurred. This means that organization and order in your home office setup are even more important than ever. That's why we came up with our top 9 hacks to improve the efficiency of your workspaces so you can get back to doing your best work.
If you clicked on this article, the chances are it's because you know it's time to make a change. That is the first step in moving towards a happier and clutter-free office space (and existence). This being said, getting a good grasp on the very real adverse effects that disorganization in a workspace can have on your life will undoubtedly motivate you way more than any "want" might. So here are some facts about clutter:
Now that you understand why reduced clutter is important, we can really get cooking.
The first step here is to find any and all documents scattered throughout your home - not just the ones at your desk but also the ones in any folders, cabinets, or binders (that includes the memo you took to read in bed last night too). Once you have everything in one place, you can start categorizing. Next, you want to put personal documents (credit card bills, tax records, etc) in one pile and work documents (contracts, meeting notes, etc) in another.
You now create 3 more piles: 1. shred, 2. keep (physically), 3. digitize → this part is pretty self-explanatory. Once you go through your work and personal document piles and have everything into these new piles you can trash everything in the shred pile, move all the keepers aside for now and scan digital documents to your computer (you can use a scanner app too)! The key here is really to know when you can start throwing out some of your documents. Here is a good benchmark:
After this, scan the "digitize" folder and then trash them too. The final step is to build a system for organization going forward. How in-depth you want to categorize is really up to you but a strategy is to have one file folder for personal documents and one for work documents → you really should not need more space than this.
This is really a game-changer for organization because it saves you time and energy when you're looking to put something away. Instead of spending 10-minutes trying to find where you put all your sales scripts, you'll see everything at a glance and be done in no time. This is also a system to put in place to ensure you stay organized since you'll have the motivation and momentum of knowing that you've already spent the time organizing. Be sure to label within your bulk organizers like your cabinets, drawers and, file folders for extra optimization.
This is the part of the process that Marie Kondo likes most. You go through every single item in your office area and determine if it's a keeper or not. We'll discuss what to do with non-keepers shortly. This includes old tech like hard drives, USB's, pencils, cables, floppy disks, stationary, etc. Here you want to throw out anything broken or in borderline unusable condition (ink-less pens and cables that don't connect to anything).
Any tech that still works that you don't need right now or don't feel like wiping just yet, you can leave aside or prep for storage. That goes for all other knickknacks that don't spark joy at this moment too (think Newton's cradle, snow globes, books, paperweights). We recognize that not everyone can commit to throwing things out entirely so we recommend using an on-demand storage company, like Fellow, to store some of your belongings until you're ready to make a decision or until you have time to go through it again (more on this later).
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of setting your office up for success. Building up will help give you more options for storage, keep things off your desk, and, ultimately help you stay clear-headed. Some great options include shelves, pegboards, magnetic boards, or cork boards.
Another great tip to keep things in order is to have an order for your things in the first place (makes sense right?) This means that if everything has its place, then that's where it should go - at least in theory. Having containers and in-drawer organizers are key to staying on top of your office. For example, if you have a spot for your pens and pencils, then you know where to put them when you need it or when you don't. These organizers help you create systems for your things!
As you can probably imagine, consistency is key here. So instead of spending a couple hours every month or so decluttering everything from square one, add some up-keep tasks to you daily to-do. This could just be as simple as "never leave anything on my desk when you clock out for the day" or "spend 5 minutes every night putting things away." These habits will serve as the foundation of sustained organization and declutter for years to come and will ultimately ensure you're performing at the top of your game.
While it's easy to get caught up in decluttering, you also need to commit to cleanliness - sounds pretty obvious I know, but you'd be surprised how many clients we have that don't remember the last time they vacuumed their carpet or wiped down their desk. Adding this as a weekly task will get you more invested in the space that you work in and will keep your mood elevated as you go about your tasks. You'll also be surprised how much cleaner your office setup looks when there are no crumbs, no coffee cups, no dust bunnies and no window smudges.
The last tip is to use an on-demand storage company, like Fellow. With our basic plan starting at just $0.99 / month (yes, less than a dollar per month!), you can take office decluttering into your own hands. The best part is you never need to lift a finger. We deliver the packing materials. We handle the pick-up. We deliver whenever you need your items back. You can even manage everything online through your digital storage locker. So if you're not ready to part with those belongings, documents, technologies or books, but don't want them in your home right now, we'll happily keep them safe. Don't just take our word for it though, we've helped hundreds of clients get their work lives back on track. Click here to schedule your first free pick-up!