I recently was chatting in a Facebook group of entrepreneurs in a thread of about 75 people. The topic was trending towards the constant struggle of keeping their desks clean and organized. I, being someone who can’t stand to work in a mess, just couldn’t understand why these business owners were having such trouble cleaning their desks every day. So I ended up jumping on a few video calls to do some mini-coaching and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
No one had any kind of system for their workspace! There were paper stacks in one corner, giant lamps taking up half the desk on the other side, drawers jam-packed with all kinds of random stuff, and not an organizational system in sight. No wonder they were struggling with their work! If you can relate to those people, whether you’re a business owner or not, you are officially in the right place at the right time. Here are the 5 tips I shared with those women on my video calls that helped them transform their workspace in just a few hours.
1. Get A Rolling Cart!
A cart on wheels is a desk’s best friend. You can pick up one of those 3 tiered carts from Target or Ikea for under $30, and you can even buy organizers made specifically for them. These carts are great because you can store all your desk supplies, whether they’re office-related or craft tools, by your desk, but not on it. Your supplies are within arm’s reach, but they aren’t taking up your workspace. Plus, you can roll it closer or further away as needed. I use this one and it doubles as my Cricut Maker and craft supply storage.
2. Stay On Top Of Paper Clutter
Paper is the downfall of every desk’s cleanliness. It can pile up in just one day and turn into a big fat mess. You really need some sort of filing system and you have to follow it religiously. I chose a desk for myself that has a filing drawer attached, but you can totally use a free-standing filing cabinet as well. Always keep a trash can by your desk, too, so unneeded papers get thrown away immediately and don’t get mixed in with the keepers.
3. Don’t Leave A Mess
We’ve all been there before. We had a huge explosion of craft project leftovers all over our desk, but the clock is ticking and it’s almost time to go pick up the kiddo from karate. So you leave it there and think “I’ll clean this up later.” But later you walk by the desk, see the mess, don’t want to fool with it, so you leave it longer. All of a sudden, it’s time to work again and you have to clean up before you can even get started again.
When you’re factoring in your work time, make sure you include 5-10 minutes of cleanup. If you only have two hours to work, set your timer for 1 hour and 50 minutes. When the timer buzzes, that’s your cue to start cleaning up. And don’t half-ass it, either. Put everything back where it goes.
4. Only Keep What You Need
If you never use those binder clips or rubber bands, then Girlfriend, why are they taking up your precious real estate? Don’t keep things in your desk and home office just because they’re office supplies and they “go in an office.” Sure, having things like a staple remover and a hole puncher is fine to have if you staple a lot of things and punch a lot of holes, but those tasks aren’t really in your day to day work, how about trading their spot with something you do actually use.
5. Design An Attractive And Inspiring Workspace
This one’s a biggie, and probably something you didn’t think about. If your desk area isn’t cute, you’re not going to care as much about keeping it clean. But if you bought a nice desk, a great lamp, and some organizers in your favorite color, you’re definitely going to work a little harder to show it off at it’s best. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a well-designed desk area, either. You can hit up stores like HomeGoods and Target for really great stuff at a super affordable price tag.
I also recommend putting some fun art above your desk to brighten up your mood. Happier women are naturally tidier women. For me, I like using a letterboard. I can put fun quotes, inspiring messages, or the occasional hilarious hijackings from my husband there.
PS: Isn’t that drawer organizer cute? Check out this post to see how I made labels with my Cricut Maker to keep it organized all the time.