How to Reduce Office Clutter
- August 7, 2019
- Bryan Rudolph
Ways to effectively reduce office clutter:
Remove ‘Just in Case’ Items
Reevaluate the items you are keeping ‘just in case’. Get rid of anything that serves no real purpose,
present or future.Remove Physical Files
Digitize as many documents as you can to get rid of physical files that take up too much space.
Receipts, invoices and other crucial documentation can all be kept in digital form and backed-up
regularly to protect against disaster (something that actually can’t be done with physical copies of
documents). Start first with all the new receipts you’re generating. Then take an hour every
week early or late in the day to digitize existing hard copies. Start with the most current files
Take the digitization of your receipts and invoices one step further by not printing anything out if it can
be read on the computer.
Shred Old Documents
Any documents that do require a physical copy temporarily should be disposed of as soon as their
usefulness has expired. Using your own paper shredder is good for data protection, but if that is not
such a big issue then work with a paper shredding service to save even more space.
Any documents that require physical copies should be printed double-sided wherever possible. This
saves on the physical file size but also minimizes the amount of paper you need to keep stock of.
You might be the big boss but you don’t need a big desk. Swap out big workstations for minimalist
workspaces that provide just the right amount of space required for the tasks that are performed
there. 6’ x 6’ foot workstations are considered quite generous these days. Of course for
telemarketing and other heavy phone & computer jobs, workstations can be considerably smaller.
Creative Storage Ideas
Use vertical space for storage. Multiple shelves can attach to the studs in the wall, or pockets where
frequently used files can be stored are a great way to save space and declutter the offices of a small
Use ‘Dead Space’ for Storage
There are lots of ‘hidden storage’ ideas you might be able to make use of too, such as the dead
space behind doors and under desks.
Declutter Your Cables
Always tie and label your cables so they are out of the way and also so you can identify which cable
leads into which machine when you need to. Use sharpies to label them, with a silver color working
best on black cables and a black marker on white or grey cables.
Sort Mail Quickly
Set a specific time aside to deal with all the mail, including recycling junk mail and used envelopes.
This should be a daily exercise if your business receives a lot of mail.
Keep all the desks as clear as possible as a cluttered desk can contribute to increased stress levels.
If certain papers are absolutely necessary to keep physical copies of nearby at all times, then
consider a pin board or wall pocket where they can be stored off the desk. Keep all other items to an
absolute minimum. It might be a good idea to implement an end-of-day clutter clear-up routine for
every desk so they are ready to go for the next day.
Reevaluate Item Usefulness
Re-evaluate the usefulness of every single workplace item. Do you really need five staplers? Is there
one that doesn’t work so well and so just sits there never getting used? Apply this logic to literally
everything in the workplace. Just ensure everything that is there has a purpose and is actually useful.
No More Sticky Notes
Get rid of sticky notes! They can be useful in their way, and it is possible that you need to use them to
some degree. But try to discourage their because they immediately add unnecessary visual noise
to even the most orderly of office spaces.
Ten-Minute De-Cluttering Exercise
If your office seems like it requires a complete overhaul to get even close to something resembling
decluttered, then try this ten-minute decluttering exercise every day for a week: Take two bags, one
for trash and one for recycling, and go through the office inch by inch sorting everything in your path.
This works best in conjunction with other tips from this list such as digitizing all your documentation.
Create a Regular Decluttering Ritual
To stay on top of the clutter, organize a regular decluttering routine that involve exercises like the ten-
minute declutter exercise that everyone in the office takes part in, even if it’s just you in there!