Not everything in your home office is bringing you joy and, in fact, a cluttered home office or desk may be the culprit for unnecessary levels of stress while simultaneously draining your creative output. While Marie Kondo has gained notoriety for her tidying expertise in recent years, Kondo’s motto of “get rid of sh*t that doesn’t spark joy” is not a new revelation.
According to a nine-year interdisciplinary study, conducted by UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families, humans are collecting possessions at a rate never before seen in the history of “intellectually modern humans.” The significance of these findings are quite simple. For many, especially women, clutter often leads to higher levels of diurnal cortisol which is a measure of stress. The study looked at the homes of 30 dual-income families from varying backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses and found that from refrigerator doors and garages to laundry rooms and home offices our spaces are being taken over by clutter which “is a visible sign of unaccomplished work.”
There are many reasons to keep your workplace tidy but as we all know actions speak louder than words. We scoured the web for functional and doable tips for keeping your desk clean so whether you’re working from home or still making your way into the office we suggest applying these simple and achievable techniques into your decluttering process. While decluttering your entire home may not be achievable at this very moment decluttering your desk is absolutely doable and may result in a boost in your creativity and a decrease in your stress levels.
Do the objects on your desk support your work?
In the days before penning this article our team at M&P took a long hard look at our own work spaces and found that removing objects on our desks that didn’t support our work was a great first step in the journey to increasing creativity and reducing stress.
An old ticket stub from 2018, a ball of tangled yarn, half-complete crossword puzzles, dirty coffee cups, mini-USB cords, irrelevant Post-It notes, magazines from a previous career, an outdated globe, a hiking book and a stack of stickers were all items that were housed on my desk. The ticket stub really made me question the ecosystem of my work space.
Some of the items found a new home in my desk drawers where they did belong and a few of the items were shipped to other locations around my apartment. The rest? They were trashed or donated and it felt really good to see my desk opening up.
Strengthen your vertical storage game
Look around your office. How much wall space could be turned into valuable real estate? Any room under your desk for a rolling storage cart? Is the inside of a closet door going unused? There are countless storage solutions for the taking which are especially relevant for those of us who dwell in tiny spaces or share offices.
Floating shelves, acrylic spice racks, stackable drawers, storage on wheels, corkboards, pegboards, over-the-door pockets, wall-mounted filing systems and cut wire hanging baskets are low-investment solutions to clearing your desk and giving essential office items an accessible home.
Floating shelves - Floating shelves are great for your office items that you need to access regularly but don’t want cluttering your desktop. Think books, manuals, notebooks, totes that house extra cords, small electronics or gadgets. Shelves are also a great place to display your kids’ artwork of photos of loved ones.
Acrylic spice racks - Spice racks hung on your office walls are a great solution to small essentials that tend to clutter desktops. Plus acrylic racks allow you to see what you’ve got without having to dig through a drawer or storage tote. Extra Post-It notes, highlighters, tape, spare paperclips, notecards, whiteboard erasers are all items that you can move from your desktop to vertical storage.
Pegboards - Now this is a vertical solution that you should get excited about. You can go the more expensive route with a system from a fancy container supplier or paint a pegboard from your nearest hardware store. With limitless pegboard accessories (think hooks and baskets) out there you can house everything from architecture drawing tools to educational craft supplies.
Over-the-door pockets - A truly cheap and functional solution for all of those pesky office supplies that you can’t seem to find a home for. From extra batteries and a scientific calculator to a small umbrella or small electronics.
Storage-on-wheels - A rolling cart is ideal for those of us working in small spaces. It can be pulled out from under your desk or a nearby closet when you need to access working file-folders or industry magazines.
Don’t forget about your other desktop
Yep, we’re talking about your screen. Keeping your desktop organized and decluttered is an essential component to keeping your sanity and elevating your creativity. The process can seem a bit daunting but with these few tips you’ll be on the path to ridding your life of digital clutter.
Remove old files from your computer’s directory. This means you’ll need to go through the folders one-by-one but it’s well worth the time and effort. If there are folders that you are accessing weekly we suggest keeping those in reach. Otherwise move seldom accessed folders to a cloud storage solution.
Subdivide your folders where needed. Some projects become larger than expected and when all of the assets of one project live in the same place it can become confusing. Consider subdividing your folders into a thoughtful file-naming system that makes sense to you.
Organize folders on your desktop alphabetically. This seems like a no-brainer. You’d be surprised by how easy it is to get lost within the chaos of your desktop when your folders are all over this place without any type of organization.
At M&P our team is always looking for simple and executable ways to make our lives easier, our work more streamlined and our daily deliverables more creative. If you want to share any of your decluttering tips with us we’re all ears!