De-cluttering Your Workspace

Kirk Loftin

With the popularity of Marie Kondo’s Netflix show Tidying Up, there’s a surge of people improving their lives by tidying. I went through de-cluttering myself last year, after adopting minimalism. There are real benefits to purging junk and organizing what’s left, but what about at work? Can these kind of home improvement life hacks help your daytime life at the office? Absolutely! Here’s a breakdown with some easy tips to help improve the 1/3 of your life you spend at work (and don’t worry, you won’t have to thank last year’s TPS report as you toss it in the recycling bin).

Physical Tidying

Organize your desktop, drawers, and shelves. Marie Kondo talks about “sparking joy,” but it’s hard to imagine that applying to work things. Instead, think about if it adds value. Make your area as stress-free as possible. Your desktop should only have as few things on it. Can that binder go on a shelf? Can that framed photo go on the wall, so it won’t get knocked over? Things used less often go in a drawer, and things used frequently are better up top. For paperwork, create a simple filing system so you can know where to put things without losing them. The same amount of work seems WAY more stressful when it’s a mountain on your desk (and don’t forget to use the trash can and recycling bin).


Digital Tidying

In addition to your physical space, consider tidying your digital work space. How many emails do you get a day? If you have junk mail coming in every day, take the time to unsubscribe so your email doesn’t get too full. Create folders to sort emails once read. But, if you really don’t need it once you read it, delete it! Email trash folders usually hold emails for around 30 days (depending on settings), so you have time to get it back if needed. Also, talk to your IT professional about cleaning up your computer. It’s very likely that after backing up important data, you can get your IT person (way faster than you would be able) to tidy up your hard drives to make your computer run less sluggish.


Social Tidying

If work has been stressing you out lately, your work-life balance goes off the rails and you need to do some social tidying. Do you always say yes to dinner with co-workers on Friday? Maybe start passing every other time. If a friend constantly texts you all day, let them know “hey, I can’t be on my phone during the day, so I won’t be able to respond.” You can’t stop meetings, but you can sit next to someone you don’t mind being around during them.


Tidying up can be a great way to decrease stress and make things more manageable. The good news is that tidying up your workspace will probably be a lot easier than tidying your entire house. And I promise, nothing feels better than sitting down at your nice, tidy, organized desk with a fresh cup of coffee feeling like you’ve got the day under control.  


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