Clutter is known to be a constant enemy of any workspace. It can start simply from a small piece of paper left lying around and before you know it, you’ve got all sorts of knick-knacks spread across your desk.

Worst of all, a cluttered environment will make it difficult for you to focus. It has even been linked to increased levels of stress and anxiety.

Don’t let it get to that. Follow these 5 steps to declutter your workspace.

Step 1: Start from Scratch

By the time you end up thinking about decluttering, your workspace has already gotten out of hand. At this point, you can’t just move a few things around. You’ll need to start with a clean slate.

Take everything off your desk – and that means everything. That includes office supplies, documents, your phone, and even your computer. As long as it’s not something permanently attached, it’s got to go. While you’re at it, use this opportunity to clean off the desk as well.

Aside from the stuff you know you’ll definitely be using (your computer, for example), put everything in a box. Don’t worry, you’ll be sorting this out next.

Step 2: Sort Your Stuff

Now that your desk is tidy, you can return the stuff you removed. But don’t just put it all back at once. Start by taking only the things you need when you need them.

The first set of items that’ll make its way back to your desk are the stuff that you use most often. It’s probably things like your computer, and maybe a notebook and pen. Leave the rest in the box and just take out items when necessary.

By the end of this process, you’ll find out what you really need and what you can do without. Just look at what you end up using on your desk versus what’s left behind in the box.

Step 3: Cut Down On Paper

Let’s take a closer look at what is still in your box of clutter. There’s a good chance most of what’s inside are paper items such as receipts, old post-it notes, maybe even a printout or two. These things are likely to be responsible for most of the clutter.

Going digital is touted as a solution but this doesn’t work for everyone. However, you can still use the principles of this method to get rid of as much paper as you can. See what you can scan or take a picture of so you can throw the physical copy away. If you can’t toss it in the trash, file it away in a drawer or filing cabinet.

The goal here is to not let paper, no matter how small, pile up on top of your desk.

Step 4: Have A Place for Everything

Documents aren’t the only things you need to have a place for. In fact, every single item in your workspace should have a place to call home.

Get a desktop organizer to keep pens, clips, and other office supplies from being scattered everywhere. Small drawers or canisters are also great at keeping your desk clean since they keep your stuff out of sight.

For the bigger items that you don’t need to have on hand all the time, consider moving them somewhere away from your main work area. Since they’re not often used, you can safely put them in storage and just take them out when you need to.

Step 5: Clean Up At the End of Each Day

Once your workspace is cleaned up, the last step is to keep it that way. All you have to do is tidy up your desk at the end of the day.

Before you go home, make sure everything you take out from the drawers and organizers goes back where they belong. If new bits of paper makes its way onto your desk, file, scan or throw away what you can.

Don’t wait until the next day to get your space sorted out. When you arrive the following morning, your attention should be on the day’s agenda, not fixing the leftovers from yesterday.


If you want your office to be organized and clutter-free, OIG can help. We provide space planning & design services to create the ideal work environments geared for your organization’s success. Give us a call at 972-388-7848 to get started.