Whether your office is relocating to larger headquarters, experiencing a downsize, or perhaps just shifting to a different location, moving provides the perfect opportunity to reorganize and declutter. Not only can decluttering your office make your move both easier and cheaper—less stuff means less packing and labor— it can also lead to increased productivity and efficiency once you settle into your new home base.
Before the Move: Overcoming the Clutter Mentality
Chances are you have come across this scenario at some point while cleaning: You stumble upon an item that you haven’t used in quite a while and your first instinct is to toss it, but suddenly you are plagued the dreaded, “just in case” (“I’ll keep this just in case the new printer dies, I should store this just in case…”). You reconsider and put the item back where you found it, only for it to collect dust until the next time it crosses your cleaning path. Sound familiar? If you’ve been in this situation before, you’re definitely not alone. Keeping items “just in case” is one of the biggest causes of clutter and purging these unnecessary backups can make a big impact on your office’s cleanliness.
To better handle this scenario when you come across it during your office move, ask yourself one simple question: “How long has it been since this has been used?” If it is more than 2 years, it’s probably safe to discard.
Top 3 Office Items to Declutter
While you should ideally be on the lookout for clutter hotspots everywhere and anywhere, here are 3 common types of office clutter—and simple decluttering solutions—to help you get started.
Offices both big and small are highly susceptible to paper clutter in the form of file folders, rogue printouts, and receipts, but thanks to technology there is a simple solution to save your office from the paper tsunami. Consider digitizing your paper files. Get an assistant to scan in all the paper paraphernalia throughout the office and convert it to a digital format, such as PDF, and organize it all in a cloud-based app. Not only will this make your move easier since you can do away with hefty filing cabinets, but those digital files will now all be highly organized, easily accessible, and effortlessly searchable—saving both production time and sanity at the new office location.
We live in an innovative digital era where technology quickly gets outdated, so it isn’t uncommon to have a digital graveyard somewhere in your office that includes miscellaneous cords, old computer accessories, and even technology that fizzled out and got pushed aside. Be honest with yourself when you are deciding what to keep. What are the chances you will actually use this again? Is it even compatible with new technology? Look for irrelevant or broken technology and either donate it if it’s still useable or send it to an electronic’s recycling facility if it’s broken or heavily outdated.
3. Odds & Ends
It’s easy to look just at the sources of large clutter since they instantly make a visual impact, but the small odds and ends add up significantly. Used up pens, highlighters, and other office supplies all have a way of getting pushed to the back of our drawers when new supplies arrive. This leads to a flood of half-used writing utensils polluting prime drawer space—or worse, desktop space. Get rid of old supplies and anything broken or damaged in general. If you don’t feel good about tossing the supplies, donate them to a cause like Right-to-Write that will distribute them to children in underdeveloped countries. It is also wise to look toward your personal belongings when assessing small clutter sources. Your personal office should still have a few key accessories to make it feel like your space, such as a framed photo on your desk or a potted plant to brighten up the space, but be sure not to overdo it.
After the Move: Keeping It Clutter-Free
You have sorted through your office, made some tough decisions, and narrowed the contents down to only what is necessary. Now what? You need to find a suitable home for everything in your new office. While it can be all too easy to go back to stuffing drawers with excessive supplies and allowing your desk’s rogue paper pile to resemble the Eiffel tower, try to shift your habits slightly. A good rule of thumb to make sure you don’t run into the clutter problem again: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” This means there should be a place for everything to be stored and it should promptly be put back when not in use.
Are you doing a good job keeping clutter at bay? Ask yourself this: “If a client were to enter this space right now, does it’s current state reflect the company? Does it look like an organized and professional environment that I can be proud of?” If not, look to areas that could use improvement. This may mean investing in more shelving, cupboards, or other storage solutions to make clutter maintenance more intuitive or simply encouraging employees to clear off their desks every evening as part of a regular clean up schedule. Even if you change just one of your clutter causing habits, your future office’s aesthetic and productivity will thank you.
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