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Seven Tips on Decluttering Your Office

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With warmer days approaching, April is the perfect time to clean and work on office organization.

Here are seven tips to help you declutter your office in honor of National Records and Information Management month.

  1. Start small. Don’t look at the overall big picture. Instead, divide your office into areas or stations (Example: mail station, printing station, filing station, etc.) and look at organizing one area at a time. An office area might be as small as a drawer, bookshelf, or corner.
  2. Start with you. Before you touch anything: think about what environments, what scenarios, what systems make you the most productive. For example, establish an environment that mimics those thoughts.
  3. Three-Part Declutter system. A system can start with a To-Go pile (donate, trash, return), a Keep pile (frequently used items), and a Put Away pile (files, etc.). Physically place items in each pile and move items to the appropriate location. If the new location involves an area you haven’t organized, place to the side until you can get to it, but set yourself a deadline so you won’t procrastinate.
  4. Time to Spring Clean. Clean all surfaces including drawers, keyboards, computer vents, monitors, phone, mouse, light fixtures, blinds, window sills, baseboards, chairs, office accessories, floors, ceiling fans, desks, countertops, etc. In addition, untangle wires and cords, purchase a new battery backup surge protector for all equipment, and install open shelves in areas where you need more storage but not more clutter.
  5. Purge, purge, purge. If you haven’t thought about this already, consider donating excess or unused office supplies. Throw out broken items, manuals you can find online, and old magazines or catalogs.
  6. Your Work Area.
    1. Place the most frequently used items on your desktop.
    2. Use drawer organizers to place desk accessories and keep supplies discoverable in drawers.
    3. Label and organize supplies keeping only what you expect to use in the next year.
    4. Use systems such as colors, numbers, and the alphabet to help you sort and organize items quickly.
  7. Reach Out for Resources. 
    1. Check out the Managing Your Practice page from the South Carolina Bar for additional office organization resources.
    2. Visit the South Carolina Bar Lending Library. There are several practice and management guides to help you organize your practice.
    3. Contact pmap@scbar.org for a free consultation.