If you’ve been following our “New Year, Clean House” series, then you know that you’re almost done giving your home a refresh. By now, hopefully, you’ve reclaimed your bed, turned your bathroom into the oasis it’s supposed to be, and are actually cooking in your kitchen again. You should be feeling pretty darn ready to conquer the new decade right about now!
But we’re not quite finished yet. There’s still one fairly important space to take care of—the one where all of your #goals become reality—but only if you can keep it clutter-free. That’s right, this week we’re taking on your home office. Because whether your workspace is just a corner in the living room or an entire spare bedroom, we’d bet you’re guilty of (at least a few of) these clutter crimes.
Here are four easy ways to declutter your home office space and get that dream desk back.
1. Ditch your old tech
Unless you’re planning on starting a museum of ancient relics (like those floppy disks buried in a drawer), it’s time to get all that old tech out the door. We’re talking about the old hard-drives, laptops, and especially the space-eating desktop computers. But before you send off your tech fossils to be recycled, make sure to protect and wipe that old data.
“If your data is truly sensitive, it can be worth the time and effort to bring it to a certified e-recycler, which guarantees a data wipe or sometimes will even destroy the unit in question for a small fee,” says Lauren Williams of Casual Uncluttering.
Ditching old tech goes beyond computers and smartphones. We’d also suggest a purge of any old or broken printers, keyboards, speakers, cables, and anything else you no longer use that’s taking up precious workspace.
“So many of our electronics can be recycled,” Williams says. “Be good to the environment, and let things go. You’ll be stunned at how much free space you’ll gain.”
2. Digitize your paperwork
We know you still have manuals, guides, and paperwork lying around that could be digitized—and we know because we’ve got ’em, too. And while the initial idea of going digital might seem daunting, we promise it’ll be worth it in the long run.
“It’s a time-consuming task, but not going through these items and converting them to digital means they’re taking up valuable space,” says Melanie Hartmann of Creo Home Solution.
Focus on the most important files, and recycle the rest.
3. Downsize your collection of office supplies
Photo by Organization & Relocation
Let’s be honest: Was there ever a time when you needed multiple staplers, hole punches, and tape dispensers? Take a good, hard look at all of your excess office supplies, and donate or toss anything you don’t need. This also applies to all those jars of mystery pens.
“Here’s where clearing the clutter saves you time,” says Williams. “Why are you wasting time checking if a broken pen still works or if there’s enough paper in the half-used notebook that you don’t even like? Let it go!”
4. Dial back the desktop knickknacks
We’ve all got them, but there’s a fine line between having a few fun mementos on your desk and the world’s biggest (and most distracting) collection of dancing solar toys. If your desk is starting to feel like the kids got hold of it, then it might be time to store some of those tchotchkes elsewhere.
“Having too many knickknacks means it takes longer to clean,” Hartmann says. “As Marie Kondo would suggest, keep only those items that bring you joy when you look at them, and either donate, sell, or gift anything else.”