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Inside: Get control of your desk clutter with these tips. Whether you use your desk for work, bills, or homework, you can make your desk more productive and clear it of clutter with easy steps. Free download included.
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Out of Control
Two years ago I received an email from my insurance company. The email was my 3rd notice concerning my home insurance. My house insurance was past due; they would be canceling my coverage within five days.
My insurance company had mailed two bills to my house. While reading the email, it sounded vaguely familiar. But looking at my desk, there was no way I’d find it.
An email from my insurance wasn’t the first time I’d received a late notice due to clutter. I’d received late notices from other companies, lost school notices, and misplaced important documents regularly.
Almost losing my house insurance was the kick I needed to get my desk clutter under control.
Get Control of the Paper
First, I needed my office area to be a place I wanted to spend time at. My desk was in the corner, and I didn’t care about it. I found it easy to throw everything in a pile and forget about it.
I needed to spruce it up.
The biggest issue was the paper. What to do with all the incoming paper I would later find and take action on?
I created these clipboards and hung them up above my desk.
Make Your Own Clutter-Free Clipboards
1. Find some clipboards that make you smile. Cutesy clipboards can be found at office supply stores for a few bucks.
Alternatively, you can buy cardboard clipboards and using modge podge glue and cardstock or scrapbook paper, color up the clipboard yourself.
2. Using cardstock letters, glue one word on the clip of each clipboard. Depending on the kind of paper you accumulate some ideas are:
- Your Kids Names (organize their school papers, sports papers, etc.)
3. Hang them up wherever you tend to sort mail and incoming paper. I used to bring all the mail into the kitchen, so I had three clipboards hanging on the fridge using command hooks for years.
The clipboards said my kids’ names, my name, and “TAXES” which was a catch-all for important papers. At the end of the year, I went through the taxes clipboard and emptied it. Throughout the year, I knew I could find all important papers either on my clipboard or my children’s.
Quit Creating Desk Clutter
Another way to cut out the clutter on your desk is to quit creating it. But how?
1. Dry Erase Paper
Often we quickly write some to-dos on nearby paper. Instead, use these tear-off sheets of dry erase stick on papers instead of scratch paper or planners. You can stick these pages any surface over and over. They can stick to your wall, fridge, or directly on your desk. Write your to-dos then erase it them at the end of the day.
2. Erase Pens
Keep your desk clutter-free by using only one writing utensil that allows you to erase in pen. Erasable gel pens will enable you to write in pen on any surface and wipe as you go. Plus, who doesn’t love writing in gel?
Get a Paper System Down
- Paper or mail can be sorted into categories: recyclable paper, documents to shred and save for later.
- Either keep a recycle box under your desk or take it outside into the recycle bin immediately. If it’s mail, sort it before coming inside.
- Documents that need shredded can either have its own box or be shredded before going into the shredder box. I’ve found the shredder to be too messy and it now lives outside. Having my shredder in the garage is handy to destroy credit card offers and other junk mail before I come inside the house from the mailbox.
- Open bills immediately, recycle extra envelopes and paper, shred essential papers, and hang up the actionable paper on the appropriate clipboard.
Make It Yours
Your office area should be a place you want to go. Since you’ve got to either pay bills, do homework, or you have to work there, make it enjoyable.
Much like I did with the Clipboards, add a touch of fun and bit of your creativity to your space.
- Hang up Christmas lights year-round.
- Frame affirmations to inspire you when you’re not feeling motivated.
- Blow up a picture of your favorite people or animals and put it front and center.
- Arrange your desk to face a window if you must be at your desk all day.
- No outside view? Make it your mini-retreat. Bring in some succulents. Even fake plants can brighten your day.
Now my desk looks inviting with my cute clipboards, succulents, and year-long Christmas lights, and I don’t want to throw paper on my desk. It’s a more inviting area for me to work and for my kids to do their homework. I’ve found having an attractive area keeps me inspired to stay on top of the clutter all the time, not just in January.
And thanks to my fun clipboards, I haven’t received a menacing email threatening to end my home insurance in years.
To get started, download this guide to decide which areas in your home you need to declutter to make this year more breathable for you.
It’s okay if you don’t declutter the whole house. We aren’t looking for “go hard or go home” around here. Start with six areas and see what else you want to tackle. Maybe it’s nothing – perhaps it’s more. It’s your journey. Enjoy it.
This post is part of a 5-part series on an organization and decluttering series with four other bloggers. Check out the 5 week series from all of them here.