Three Tips to Declutter Your Desk

When was the last time you saw the top of your desk? If it has been a while, you’re not alone. Here are the steps I’m taking to clean off my desk in preparation for 2015.


Start with an assessment about what really bothers you about your desk: Is it the stacks of unfiled papers or the empty coffee cups? Consider how you want your desk to look and make a list of changes you would like to make.

1. Create a simple filing system to keep important papers. One system I use is a “tickler” filing system.  A tickler file is a 31-day system that allows you to place papers you will need for the future. I start each day by going through that day’s folder to see if there is anything important I need to take care of. This filing system also acts as a physical reminder system for you. You just have to remember to use it. Whatever system you use, once you decide on it, take a few minutes each day to keep papers from piling up again.

2. Now, for the fun part. Take absolutely everything off your desk. Yes. Everything. In fact, put everything in a box and move the box into another room. Once that is done – dust/polish desk. (I love a clean desk.) Enjoy the feeling of spaciousness that your uncluttered desk offers.

3. Now do not bring that box into your office. Go to the other room – open it – and remove one item. Really look at it. Does it add value to your office? Do you love it? Need it? Only if you do, then bring it back and give it a home in your office. Do this with each item. Too often we shuffle things around without even addressing if we need or want them.

These tips to declutter your desk are simple, but effective. If you feel scattered, overloaded, or overwhelmed, start by cleaning off your desk.  This will make a difference in how you feel and how you work.

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