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Declutter your workplace in 8 steps


Some office workers say that chaos is the best order and they can only work efficiently when their desk looks like a maze of papers, stationery, and other necessary or useless things. However, as studies show, the majority of employees perform much better in a well-organized and clean environment, when they know for sure where they can find anything in a split second. If you want to be proud of your workplace, but you don’t know how to go about putting it in order, here are some ideas for you.

1. Set aside time to declutter your desk

Making your working area clean and perfectly arranged is a serious matter that may take up an hour or more. That’s why you need to allocate some time to it in your calendar. Thus, you may focus on decluttering without compromising any of your appointments, meetings, or tasks. You can come to work earlier than usual or stay after the working day is over.

2. Step back and look

Now that you have nothing in your way, you can get down to business. First, make a couple of steps back and observe the desk and everything around it. The point is to find the most problematic zones in the current arrangement of your workplace. Make some mental or written notes as to what you think causes the clutter. A good idea is to take a photo of the desk and the working area. That will allow you to see them from a different angle.

cluttered desk

3. Remove all your things from the desk

Rather than trying to rearrange the things one by one, we recommend you to remove all of your stuff from the top of the desk, out of the drawers, and from near the desk. Put all of that into a box. Then, work for a couple of days, picking a thing you need from the box and putting it back. After that, list all the items that you have used and those you haven’t.

4. Throw junk away

All the items you identified as useless in the previous step should be relentlessly discarded. If you have quite a few of those, but you can’t bring yourself to throw them away because they may present some value to you, put them in a box and take them home. You can also leave them in a self-storage facility if you don’t want to clutter your house. Another way to get rid of unnecessary objects is to donate them.

self-storage facility

5. Put the cables in order

Under you desk, there is likely to be a tangle of cables used to connect all kinds of devices. You may not need some of those any longer, such as an old charger or camera cable. Take some time to identify the unnecessary wires and discard them. Label the ones that you still use. That will save you some time when you need to disconnect/reconnect your electronic equipment. To cleanly arrange the cables, we recommend using a rain gutter or Carblox.

6. Clean the workspace

Before the final declutter stage, clean the desk and everything on it with a disinfectant. Use screen cleaner and a special cloth to wipe down the monitor. Don’t forget about the keyboard and the chair, which you can clean with a vacuum-cleaner.

declutter your desk to look like this one

7. Purchase “organization helpers”

One of the best ways to declutter a workplace is to use the so called “organization helpers.” Those are folders and files for keeping your papers, tumblers for your pens and pencils, and small containers for paper clips and other tiny items. Also, have a good look at the stationery you have. Throw away what you don’t really need.

8. Arrange your things in a new way

Now, it’s time to put the things back. It’s not so simple as it seems, though. You need to work out a system that will allow you to easily find an item. Keep your most-frequently used things in the closest drawers and less-frequently used ones farther away. If you do a great deal of paperwork, make sure your documents are arranged in the left-to-right sequence on the desk:

  • You have just received a document for processing (left).
  • You are working with the document (center).
  • You are ready to submit the document (right).

Put the stationery in the tumblers and containers you’ve purchased.


Your workplace is clean and tidy now, with all the redundant stuff either discarded or safely stored away. Yet, the clutter may return as more and more papers accumulate on your desk. To avoid that, take five minutes before going home every day to arrange your office space.

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