Over the holidays, though, I had enough time off that I got in all the R&R I needed and have time left over for some much-needed decluttering around my office.
Now I’m starting the new year feeling re-energized by my newly clear and clean surroundings.
Here’s why it’s a good idea to organize your office on a regular basis:
1. Find things.
I found a couple gift cards stuffed into a drawer full of business cards – money!
2. Toss things.
There’s nothing like the march of time to help decide which papers need saving and which can be safely thrown away. Inevitably I save less than anticipated because the information is dated or not as important as I originally thought.
3. File things.
Every pay stub or expense receipt filed now brings you that much closer to being ready to prepare your income tax return. I start the New Year by labeling hanging files for pay stubs, receipts and anything else that comes in during the year related to my freelance income or expenses. I take the old files out of the two-drawer filing cabinet by my desk – the only papers files I still keep – and put them with other documents I need for income taxes. I create matching folders in Outlook for copies of online receipts and notices from publishers and clients who pay me via direct depost.
4. Shred papers.
Invest in shredder, they’re not that expensive; the latest one I bought was under $75. Nothing beats the satisfaction of shoving bank statements go through those tiny metal teeth and then into recycling. Better yet – sign up to get bills and bank statements electronically so you don’t have to shred them at all.
5. Get ideas.
Ever been at a conference or meeting, picked up a business card or brochure and thought, ‘That’d make a great story?’ only to come back to the office, toss it in a pile and forget it? Sifting through piles brings those story ideas back to the surface.
6. Feel good.
I don’t know about you, but when my office is organized, I feel better about myself, and work. Same applies to closets and cupboards.
7. Look good.
My office is right off the front entry of our house. If it’s clean, I’m more inclined to show it off when friends or family stop by to visit.
8. Give things away.
Thanks to my decluttering, I’ve got a pile of old, worn, unused or under-used stuff waiting at the front door to donate, recycle or trash. Sort through what you’ve got to see if there are any old electronics – scanner, cell phones, tape recorders – you could take to Free Geek or a similar organization that refurbishes and gives away older electronics. I’ve also got a bag of books to sell to Powell’s‘ if they don’t take them, I’ll give them away.
9. Make room for new stuff.
Two years ago, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to replace an ancient desktop PC with a new one. I vowed not to bring anything new into my office until I’d gotten rid of a lot of unnecessary stuff. Once I was clutter free, I could shop with a clear conscience.
10. Rid yourself of nagging guilt.
When I go months beyond needing to clean my office but keep putting it off and putting it off, the mental baggage – i.e. guilt – can become unbearable. Every morning I sit down, my shortcoming is there, staring me in the face. Once things are decluttered and organized, and the task is finished and off my mental to-do list, I feel better about myself.
Had your own office cleaning revelations? Please share by leaving a comment.
[Flickr photo by Jellaluna]