Decluttering is the removing of items you don’t need or regularly use. It is not adding more items to organize all the stuff you don’t need or regularly use.
I came across this article about decluttering your desk. When I saw the title, 13 Must-Have Items to Declutter Your Desk, I had to check it out to see what the heck they were talking about. I couldn’t think of a single must-have item for decluttering a desk, much less thirteen.
Take a look at the items on that page and tell me if any are must-haves. I don’t see anything that is must-have, and honestly I don’t even see anything that is a like-to-have.
Now that you have an example of what not to do, here my tips for a better way to declutter your desk.
- Remove the paper. Paper is the most common item that causes a desk to look cluttered. File anything that needs to be filed and take action on anything outstanding. If the paper isn’t one that is required to be saved, then toss it or shred it. If you need to process papers on a daily basis, establish a system to keep it organized. Be diligent about keeping the paper items to a minimum.
- Remove items that aren’t used daily. If you have items that you don’t use everyday, move them from your desktop to a drawer. Some examples are: stapler, staple remover, paper clips, sticky notes, and tape dispenser.
- One pen. Unless you are extremely talented, you can only write with one pen at a time. Keep one pen on your desk. If that pen dies, then go to the supply closet and get another to replace it. If you need to occasionally use a different color pen, a marker, or a highlighter, keep them in a desk drawer. The only time you need a pencil/pen holder on your desk is if your child made one as a gift – in that case, use it for your one pen.
- Ditch the sticky notes. Sticky notes tend to multiply and look very cluttered. Consider using a notepad, or record your notes on your computer instead. You could use Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, or create task lists or calendar items in Outlook.
Photo is my desk in my home office.