If you’re a work-at-home mom, it’s hard to give time for organizing your stuff. Besides work duties, you also have mommy and wife duties to do, so you’re basically working non-stop. But having a clean and organized desk will surely make you feel energized, focused and productive at your job.
As you declutter your desk, you also declutter your brain, so you can work more efficiently in as shorter time as possible. Besides that, you also become less distracted. Being a work-at-home mom provides distraction enough, so give yourself a break from all chaos by keeping your home office area clean. Here are some tips to keep your desk clutter-free:
1. Set aside time to clean up
As busy as you can be, you need cleaning up for your sanity. Schedule and set aside two to three hours of major cleanup – you can do it on a weekend when you don’t have work. Dedicating some time to organize your desk, drawers, shelves and all storage areas related to work is your first step to keeping yourself focused.
2. Clear the area completely
Clear your desk space completely. Put all the items in the drawers in the center of the room. Yes, it’s going to be a big, messy pile of things, but it’s the best place to start. This will allow you to analyze each piece and see where they must be. While the desk is unloaded with stuff, remove the dust in the area. Vacuum under the chair and desk, wipe it down with wet cloth and spray some fabric refresher for a fresh scent.
From your pile of items on the floor, remove the things that are of no use to you anymore. Toss fully used pens, old shopping receipts, broken scissors or staplers, and other forms of scrap in the trash. If you haven’t organized in a while, you may find random items that don’t belong to your office area, perhaps a bottle of lotion or one of your baby’s bottles.
4. Decide what is going to go where
Now that you’re down to the useful, usable and valuable items, organize them into zones. Sometimes due to lack of organization, we tend to keep random items near our work area so we can easily get it when we need it, but most of the times, the need seldom occurs. Assess how often you really use every item, and keep them in their proper zones.
Keep the most used items closest to you and place them on the desk. But be ruthless – don’t just put anything you might need on top of your desk, because that’s what would create clutter again. Keep the items placed on your desk to one to three items only – as much as possible, it should be your computer only. You may place a pen holder and some tissues, if you need to. And yes, it must not include pictures of your family and dog – just hang them up on the wall or make them your desktop or smartphone wallpaper.
Place your next frequently used items within arm’s reach or just a step away, but not on your desk. It can be in the drawers below your desk, shelves above your desk, or cabinets beside your desk. Then, the occasionally-used items must be placed on the next closet or bookshelf within a few steps from your desk. Finally, the rarely used items must be kept in a storage closet or any available storage within the house. If you think you’ll never use them again, you can give, sell or donate it to others.
5. Get organizers
Typical drawers can be cluttered if you simply place everything you need together. Segregate them by type by using organizers. You may purchase a file tray for your papers, and small organizer drawers to keep your pens, clips and scissors separated from each other. Label them for easy access.
6. Keep all books in the bookcase
Sometimes, books get stuck on top of desks, which eventually builds up clutter. Unless you’re actually reading or using them for work, bring it back to the bookcase where it truly belongs.
7. Declutter your desktop computer
Besides your physical work place, your computer can also bring a distraction. Declutter your computer by removing unnecessary icons in your desktop. If your computer is getting slow, perhaps it’s filled with too much files. Delete unnecessary files. Invest on an external hard drive and store your older files there, and delete them from your computer.
8. Organize the cables
Cables can be messy under and on top of your desk. Keep them organized and concealed by using office supply cable organizers, and keep them out of the way to make the area clearer.
Now that your desk is already organized, try to keep it that way. Here’s what you can do:
9. Finish your projects as soon as possible
One of the greatest things that add clutter to your desk is unfinished projects. Sometimes, people keep unfinished work on top of our desk to remind them that it needs to be finished, but they don’t actually work on it right away. As much as possible, try to work on a project to completion. If it can’t be finished in less than a day, store it on the drawer until you’re ready to work on it again.
10. Don’t eat at your desk
Sometimes you think you’re saving time by multitasking, like eating while working. But actually, taking a break once in a while can make you more productive. People who take some ten to twenty minutes break for a meal or snack are more productive rather than those who face their desks all day without a break. Also, this could prevent crumbs from falling into your keyboard, or worse, spills on your computer and precious documents.
11. Toss trash immediately
Keep a trash can close to your desk as well as a recycle bin. Don’t leave trash sitting in your desk because it only creates a distracting clutter. For papers that you don’t need anymore, toss them to the recycle bin.
12. Set aside 5 minutes to clean after work
After finishing work, take five minutes to clear the surface of your desk. At the end of the day, it might look like a whirlwind has hit it, and it can make you feel distracted tomorrow. To make sure you start every morning fresh, keep a clear desk.