Though reducing clutter in your life always feels like a noble goal, it’s one that can be hard to maintain. Often, it seems like everywhere you look is just clutter, even though you tidied up a few minutes ago. If you’re working—and especially if you’re working from home—desk clutter can be a serious daily annoyance. So what can you do about it?
If you’ve tried decluttering before but it hasn’t stuck, chances are you’re best off if you can start from scratch. Place all the items on and in your desk into a box. Then, next time you sit down you can add items back to your desk as needed. If you need your pens and stapler but don’t touch your graphing calculator or old printer manual, it’s probably time to sell, donate or toss those items.
You may not feel like you need to start from scratch, which is okay too. However, it’s still a good opportunity to figure out what you actually need on your desk. Some basic questions to ask yourself are: What is this item for? Do you use it, or do you simply think you’ll use it? Once you can answer those questions, you can sort the item into a “keep” or “get rid of” pile.
Once you’ve put your desk back together and started working again, don’t just put your organization efforts out of mind. Instead, pay attention to your workflow. Are there spots on your desk that always seem to end up cluttered? If so, starting from scratch and frequent reassessment might not solve your problems. Instead, look for places where you could expand your storage situation. For example, could you set your printer on a riser and store things underneath? What about your laptop or monitor? If not, can you install wall shelves or even add a bookshelf to the room for extra storage? Use as much of your space as you can to your advantage.
One thing that helps with clutter hot spots is making sure everything on your desk has a place. If it doesn’t, the desk at large becomes a place to toss all of those miscellaneous items. Giving everything a designated place can help curb clutter before it happens.