Research shows the productivity of a business can be seriously affected by the amount of clutter around the work space. And a decrease in productivity usually means a decrease in profits.
Small businesses operating out of smaller spaces tend to be the worst effected by this problem. But it is also an easy problem to solve.
How to Reduce Office Clutter
Use these 20 ways to effectively reduce office clutter:
Inventory System Design
Design a system for necessities such as paper, stationery and ink cartridges. This way you only ever keep stock of what you need. When an office becomes over cluttered, it becomes difficult to find what you need easily, and you can end up ordering more of something you already have.
Remove ‘Just in Case’ Items
Reevaluate the items you are keeping ‘just in case’. Identify the future usage likelihood of every single item you don’t use regularly and get rid of anything that serves no real purpose.
Remove Physical Files
Digitize all of your documents to get rid of physical files that take up too much space. Receipts, invoices and other crucial documentation can all be kept in digital form and backed-up regularly to protect against disaster (something that actually can’t be done with physical copies of documents).
Take the digitization of your receipts and invoices one step further by not printing anything out if it can be read on the computer.
Shred Old Documents
Any documents that do require a physical copy temporarily should be disposed of as soon as their usefulness has expired. Using your own paper shredder is good for data protection, but if that is not such a big issue then work with a paper shredding service to save even more space.
Any documents that require physical copies should be printed double-sided wherever possible. This saves on the physical file size but also minimizes the amount of paper you need to keep stock of.
Online Task Manager
Use email for memos and task notes and make use of social media chat apps such as Whatsapp which can serve as an online company notice board.
Learn how and where to recycle everything so you don’t end up storing loads of empty ink cartridges or spent batteries, light bulbs and other such items.
Interior Design Hack
An interesting office hack for decluttering is to use the same flooring from wall to wall to give the area a sense of space. Small rugs or carpeted areas break the space up and make it feel smaller than it needs to.
You might be the big boss but you don’t need a big desk. Swap out big work stations for minimalist work spaces that provide just the right amount of space required for the tasks that are performed there.
Creative Storage Ideas
Use vertical space for storage. Multiple shelves can attach to the studs in the wall, or pockets where frequently used files can be stored are a great way to save space and declutter the offices of a small business.
Use ‘Dead Space’ for Storage
There are lots of ‘hidden storage’ ideas you might be able to make use of too, such as the dead space behind doors and under desks.
Declutter Your Cables
Always tie and label your cables so they are out of the way and also so you can identify which cable leads into which machine when you need to. Use sharpies to label them, with a silver color working best on black cables and a black marker on white or grey cables.
Sort Mail Quickly
Set a specific time aside to deal with all the mail, including recycling junk mail and used envelopes. This should be a daily exercise if your business receives a lot of mail.
Keep all the desks as clear as possible as a cluttered desk can contribute to increased stress levels. If certain papers are absolutely necessary to keep physical copies of nearby at all times, then consider a pin board or wall pocket where they can be stored off the desk. Keep all other items to an absolute minimum. It might be a good idea to implement an end-of-day clutter clear-up routine for every desk so they are ready to go for the next day.
Reevaluate Item Usefulness
Re-evaluate the usefulness of every single workplace item. Do you really need five staplers? Is there one that doesn’t work so well and so just sits there never getting used? Apply this logic to literally everything in the workplace. Just ensure everything that is there has a purpose and is actually useful.
Give Everything a Home
Every useful item in the workplace should have a home so that whatever it is, it is always easy to find and monitor any necessary replacements and refills that might be required.
No More Sticky Notes
For a truly decluttered office space, you must get rid of sticky notes! They can be useful in their way, and it is possible that you need to use them to some degree, but try to discourage their use as much as possible because they immediately add unnecessary visual noise to even the most orderly of office spaces.
Ten-Minute De-Cluttering Exercise
If your office seems like it requires a complete overhaul to get even close to something resembling decluttered, then try this ten-minute decluttering exercise every day for a week: Take two bags, one for trash and one for recycling, and go through the office inch by inch sorting everything in your path. This works best in conjunction with other tips from this list such as digitizing all your documentation.
Create a Regular Decluttering Ritual
To stay on top of the clutter, organize a regular decluttering routine that involve exercises like the ten-minute declutter exercise that everyone in the office takes part in, even if it’s just you in there!