Office Decluttering Tips
If you need to declutter your workspace in readiness for the New Year but just can’t face the idea of the huge amount of work it might involve then here are a couple of quick ways to make an impact quickly.
Clear out multiple files
During the process of updating electronic documents we can sometimes forget to delete the old copies and end up with multiple files of the same document. This takes up space but can also result in an outdated version of the document being used by accident. If you have multiple copies of the same item then clearly label the correct one with either a date or a word (eg: current, latest, new) so that you know which one to keep and then run a search to find all the previous files and delete them (and make sure you check other possible locations you may have in addition to your computer such as shared drives or cloud)
Clean up the apps
There are now apps for almost everything and as many of them are free they are also easy to accumulate. Do a manual cleanse of all the ones you know that you don’t use or (in the case of some phones) let your phone identify which ones you haven’t used in awhile (as part of its storage cleanup process) and allow it to delete them for you.
Store the same supplies in one place
Whether it’s stationery items, stock or cleaning supplies, items that you store can be hard to find if you don’t have a proper system. For example, if you mix different types of supplies (eg: stationery mixed in with cleaning products) and store stock or supplies in different locations on your premises it can be difficult to gain an accurate picture of what you have, where to find it and when you might need to restock. Pick one place for each type of supply (eg: a dedicated cupboard for stationery supplies) even if this means putting one type of supplies or stock in a big box and labelling it (if you don’t have enough cupboard space). When you can see exactly what you’ve got there will be less chance of accidentally buying lots of the same things (and having to store it) or running out of specific items at crucial moments.
Get rid of the information
Over the past year you’ve probably accumulated lots of magazines, emails, newsletters etc that are information based. Often we plan to read these later but never get time to do it and if you have a pile of magazines sitting in the corner of your office then chances are they’re probably out of date. Start with the physical information like magazines and identify anything worth keeping (especially if it’s current regulatory or compliance information) and then get rid of the rest (remember you can probably always find the information online if you need it). Once you’ve cleaned up all the physical information take a look at your email inbox. Again items related to compliance may be worth keeping but it’s probably time to make a decision about the rest. If you’re unsure what to keep or don’t want to delete anything then set up an email folder and call it something like “Information 2017” and move everything into it so that it’s no longer cluttering up your inbox and providing a distraction. And if you decide in the future to get rid of all this year’s reading material then you can simply delete the folder.
Reduce your personal paperwork
It’s easy to accumulate multiple diaries, notebooks, planners, calendars etc during the year but whenever you have multiples of anything it means that you’re doubling up on the workload. Take a look now at what you’re using to manage your time (and to do list) and consolidate where you record things. For example, do you have your to do list spread across a number of notebooks or are you managing your time on both a planner and a diary?
Ditch the commitments
It’s a good time now to work out which commitments you will continue with in the new year and how many you can manage without them detracting from the important areas of your life (ie: work and family commitments). Remember that you don’t have to stay committed to any group forever (unless you’re enjoying it) and it’s a good thing too for groups to change periodically and allow new members to bring in new ideas and energy. Make a list of all your commitments and decide which ones it’s time to hand over to someone else.
Recycle the old technology
Most offices have old technology sitting around gathering dust such as printers, computers, phones and other electrical appliances. Gather them all up and confirm where to drop them off for recycling in your local area. Alternatively you may be able to sell some of them privately or trade them in for a newer model (if they are still working and not too out of date).
Just decluttering in the key areas mentioned above can make a big difference to how organised you will feel heading into the new year and they don’t take too much time to do. These tips can also be applied to your home life (so maybe consider doing it there as well) and once you get started on the above and begin to see the difference it’s making you may even become inspired to do more!
Photo credit: iStock.com/cyano66