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Video:How to Declutter your Desk

with Erin Hoffman

A decluttered desk can lead to a much more productive workday. Get a look at some strategies for de-cluttering your desk and keeping it looking neat in this how-to video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Declutter your Desk

Hi I'm Erin Hoffman, Productivity Specialist and President of Optimum Productivity. I'm here for About.com to give you some tips on how to declutter your desk. 

Clear Out the Excess Paper in Your Desk

The first step to a decluttering your desk is to clear out the excess. When I am called in to consult on a home office organization the number one problem that I see is too much paper and stuff, especially on the desk. A good place to start is with the papers on your desk. As you sort through the papers ask yourself these questions: Will I ever need this document again? What will I be doing when I need this document? Can I access it somewhere else? Keep what you need and get rid of the rest. 

Declutter One Space at a Time

Clear the paper from your desk “one square foot at a time”. You want to resist the urge to go from spot to spot or act on any papers you find while you're organizing. Place papers that require action in a “To Do” or “Bills to Pay” spot and take care of them later. This will help stay focused and deliver faster results.

After sorting through the papers on the desktop, go through the paper in the drawers. Go through the same process with the rest of the “stuff” on your desk and in the desk drawers. There are a few questions you can use to help decide what to keep and what can go. Ask yourself “why do I need this” and “when was the last time I used this”. Here is an organizing secret: The less stuff you have to organize, the easier it is to organize.

Find a "Home" for Every Item

At this point you may be surprised with just how much space you do have. Many people are thrilled when I tell them that they do not need to invest in larger desks or more storage, they just need to clear out the excess clutter. Now it's time to find a home for everything remaining. Keep the items you use the most within easy reach. Desktop organizers are a great way to keep your desk clutter free. 

Consider How Your Work

Also consider HOW you work, are you right handed or left handed? Which way do you face at your desk? This will help you determine the most productive way to lay out the equipment and supplies on your desk. One final tip, it's good to have a good system in place. Think about the process for how you'll handle bills, mail, and papers that need action. Create a vertical file for papers that need action on your desk. Vertical works better than a horizontal bin or basket because it is less likely to pile-up or over-flow.  Also, make sure that you have a place to put the paper once the action is complete. A functional filing system that is easy to access will help keep your desk clutter free. 

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