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Declutter your office by asking yourself these two questions

If you want to declutter your office, the first step is asking yourself these two questions before you touch a thing.

You’re not alone, desks across the globe are filthy

March is nearly over, we’re past all of the New Year’s resolution garbage, and many of us remain settled in our old ways. If you find yourself struggling to maintain your composure this early in the year, rest assured you’re not alone.

The first step in combating the post-winter funk is to organize your life for success. Becoming Minimalist’s Joshua Becker wrote about decluttering, and while its specific focus is directed more toward one’s home space, the article’s philosophy is absolutely applicable to your office setting.

The first question

A lack of organization in your workspace has been linked to detriments ranging from decreased productivity to developing depression—neither of which makes your job the least bit enjoyable. Becker’s analysis comprises of two simple questions, the first of which is: Do I need this?

When answering this question, be as objective as possible. What do you absolutely, uncompromisingly need in your office? Desks, chairs, computers, filing drawers, and wastebaskets come to mind for most occupations; obviously, your specific needs might extend to including a printer or scanner, a digital design pad, or a workbench. Look at the fundamental requirements of your job, and ask yourself what you can’t do it without.

Unless you really want to piss off your boss, keep those things.

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The second question

The second question is a bit more complicated: Why do I have this? Apply this question to everything you have left over from the first one—“because I need it to do my job” isn’t the answer you’re looking for here. Sure, your workspace should be clean, organized, and maintainable, but it should also reflect your personality and reason for being there. Pictures of family or friends, a favorite mug, or a customized lamp might complete your office space, so long as they aren’t too intrusive—so don’t junk these.

The life-sized inflatable corgi your mother gave you for Christmas that you kept out of guilt, though—you know, the one that’s been crowding the entire left half of your keyboard since day one? That can probably go.

Sentimental value always has a place—but, like most things, that place lies in moderation. Pursue these two questions to fruition, and you will notice a staggering difference in the organization of your workspace, even if you didn’t notice any encroachment beforehand.

Cleaner space leads to cleaner work—so keep it clean, folks.


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Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

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  1. Pingback: 10 things you can get rid of in your office today (the no-brainer purge) - The American Genius

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