This week, I decided to “spring forward” my spring cleaning by organizing my work space. I was surprised by how therapeutic the process was. From filing away loose papers to cleaning up my desktop – decluttering gave me a sense of relief and pride, which actually made me more productive. Here’s how I cleaned up my act:
1. As someone with a home office, separating my work and personal life is difficult. So, I started my spring cleaning by removing any personal items – like bills, books and even exercise equipment – from my office.
2. Next, I tackled my storage closet. It was only then that I realized how much I had actually accumulated over the years, and how this stuff was “stuffocating” me. I used the Kondo method to toss the things I really didn’t need or like anymore while neatly arranging my essential items in clearly labeled storage containers.
3. Once my closet was tidy, I dug in to my filing system. Again, using Kondo’s minimalist methodology, I kept physical copies of only the essential items – like tax documents and client information – and tossed the rest.
4. My digital files were next. For me, it was easiest to organize files by year so I created folders for each year, subfolders with the year and topic, and file names that were preceded by year and topic. This uniform, hierarchical taxonomy has made finding and storing files so much easier and quicker. Let me give you an example of how this would work:
5. Finally, my desktop got wiped clean. Again, essential files were archived in appropriate folders while non-essentials got trashed. This LifeHacker article provides some good tips on how to simplify your desktop.
6. I even managed to go through the dreaded task of cleaning up my email inbox. There are a variety of tools to help you do this if you don’t want to go at it alone. I was able to scrub about 100 emails per minute using Mailstrom. I admit, deleting emails in bulk felt good and was highly addicting. So much, in fact, that I may start and end each work day doing just that.
After the initial mental hurdle of combatting my clutter, it was really easy and I developed a rhythm. Once it was all said and done, I felt like a weight had been lifted that I didn’t even realize was there – freeing my mind and allowing me to sit down and get to work.
Do you have any tips that keep your workspace tidy? I’d love to hear them.