I like to think of myself as a neat and tidy person, but to look at my office space you may think differently. I tend to be a bit compulsive about saving things. I may need that article in a few weeks, or that cute set of post it notes, in the drawer they go. I look around and think to myself I really need to declutter. It just seems like an overwhelming task, I just don’t have time. Does this sound familiar? Well here are a few tips to help you declutter your office space.

1. Spend 10-15 minutes a day. If time is not on your side, just spend a few minutes each day purging. You can set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes and have at it. Once the time is up, stop and go back to work.

2. Write on your goal list for the week that you are going to declutter. You will feel a sense of accomplishment crossing this item off your list. This feeling will help you continue your journey.

3. Work in the circle method. I often teach my cleaners, clean in a circle. Start at one point in your office and go around in a circle. This will help cut down on the where do I start. You are less likely to miss anything.

4. Ask yourself, have I used this item in the last year? Yes just as you do with your clothes, if you have not used an item in a year, its time to donate or toss. If you think you may need these items over the next year, simply put them in a box in the corner. After a year if you have not taken them out of the box, you didn’t really need it.

5. Business books can take up a lot of space. After you are finished reading it, perhaps you can pass it on to a younger associate. Let them experience the knowledge as well.

6. The dreaded pen drawer. Seems we all have one. We stash all the cool pens and paperclips, post it notes, you name it, the drawer holds it. Try buying a drawer organizer and separating everything. Every few months go through your collection of pens and things and see what still works. If it doesn’t, toss it.

7. Sometimes it can be hard to purge, you feel an attachment to these items. It may be time to call in the professionals. They will be able to help you decide what is necessary and what you are just being sentimental about. They can even offer you some helpful organizing tips. These tips and tricks can make your remaining stuff more functional and easier to get to.

Your office is a reflection on you. When people walk in they instantly form an impression of you. What impression do you want them to make? Spend a few minutes a day cleaning up and see how much more productive you become.

http://www.marieclaire.com/career-advice/advice/a4364/desk-personality/

Originally published in the Democrat & Chronicle on May 5th, 2015.