I absolutely love to decorate, organize, and reorganize my home. But what about my office? You know, the place where I spend 40 hours every week…That definitely counts as a “home away from home”—whether I think of it that way or not! Now that students have graduated and gone off to their homes, internships, summer jobs, or the nearest beach for the summer, I can tackle my Summer To-Do List that starts with “REORGANIZE OFFICE.” Here are 8 steps I’m taking this month to make sure my office inspires happiness, peace, and learning.
1. Sit in your office (in your normal seat) and look around.
What makes you smile? What makes you anxious? Where do you look most often? Which items do you grab most frequently? Make a list of your answers and any other thoughts or feelings you may have about your space. This exercise will provide the foundation for your organization agenda. Even if you’re not 100% positive about what you’d like your office to look or feel like, you may notice some trends by starting with this activity.
2. What must stay?
This part is pretty simple. Make a list (or a pile if you’re already comfortable with rearranging your space at this point) of the things that you need on a daily or weekly basis. Some examples may include your stapler, your computer, or your cup of pens—these are the essentials!
3. What inspires you?
Or, as my colleague would say, “What sparks joy?” For me, these are my (fake) plants, my family pictures, and my odd collection of dachshund trinkets. But for you, it could really be anything that makes you smile throughout the day or reminds you what you love about life! I challenge you to be strategic when identifying these items!
4. Are you going for a specific color scheme or theme?
If so, walk in your office door (or cubicle opening) and see if that “theme” comes across immediately. Is it too much? Is it hard to recognize that there was supposed to be a pattern or theme? Maybe it’s just right!
5. Now, go sit down on the other side of your desk.
You know, where a visitor or student might sit during a meeting. What is their viewpoint of your space? Check for items or pictures that may be distracting and take away from the point of your meeting. Remove distracting items so that you know the visitors or students will be able to focus on the conversation. That being said, it’s okay to give them some nice things to look at too…
6. Organize so that things make sense.
Where do you first look when you need something to write on? Write with? Where do you store files that you won’t need to revisit for a while? What if you’ll need to revisit them soon? I’m currently trying a binder system to organize my related notes, files, and documents because binders are stackable and the papers aren’t loose inside of them. There are many other great ideas out there as well! Whatever you do to organize yourself, make sure it makes sense for the way you work. Oh, and make sure to do it fully and completely so that you don’t find yourself needing to “reorganize” once a month!
7. Clean that place up!
If you’re lucky, like me, you have some incredible people who take great care to make sure that your desk is clean and your trash is empty before you get to work in the morning. But there may be corners of your office that haven’t been cleaned in ages. Also, think about how grimy your keyboard is…Time to give the whole office a good ol’ fashioned deep cleaning!
8. Finally, repeat step #1.
Anything that you’d still like to change, update, clean, get rid of, or add? What makes you feel inspired to get your work done and have a productive day?
I’d love to hear from you! What do you do to keep your office clean, organized, and inspired?!
This post was inspired by a colleague of mine who has beautifully exemplified minimalist living and refreshing declutter. To find out more, visit her blog here!