For one thing, statistics show that cutting down on clutter and freeing up space in your office has countless benefits. It reduces the likelihood of accidents. It cuts financial losses due to disorganization. You’ll also save your team members an average of 4.3 hours a week looking for papers, and your cleaning crew 40% of their work.
Plus, science has shown that our brains like order. A decrease in clutter directly leads to an increase in cognitive performance, focus, and productivity.
Finally, having a lean and orderly office also gives a boost to your brand image in the eyes of any visiting clients, partners, and investors.
Divide and Conquer
To begin with, you should approach the project zone by zone.
Tackling your entire office space at once can be overwhelming. Instead, divide it into sections and complete one of these at a time.
You can group sections according to location (dealing with the IT corner first, then cleaning out the storage areas) or according to their function (decluttering desks one day, then tackling filing cabinets).
Take Stock and Categorize
When you declutter any one section, start by taking stock of all the items, and categorizing them.
This has the added benefit of leaving you with an extensive list of your office’s inventory, and an excellent handle on where to find what.
Carefully list everything you have, especially those pesky items you don’t need every day that are tucked away in storage spaces and forgotten about.
Then, categorize your items into things you need frequently, things you need from time to time, and things you can get rid of.
Repurpose or Create Appropriate Storage Space
Next, find appropriate storage space for the items that you’re planning to keep.
Either clean out existing filing cabinets, storage closets, and cupboards, or invest in new ones. Don’t forget to label everything.
Move frequently-used things – like those needed in ongoing projects – within easy range of anyone who needs to access them.
Generally, keep in mind which area of your office serves which purpose. Only keep essential items in your workspace (i.e., your own desk). Have a reference area to store filing cabinets, shelves, and binders. And finally, designate an out-of-the-way storage area for things you use infrequently.
Bin, Recycle, Donate, Sell
Categorize the things that you want to get rid of according to whether they are fit only for the landfill or whether they can be recycled.
Also consider which items you could donate, or even sell. Printers that can’t keep up with the demands of your expanding business, those non-ergonomic office chairs you kept when you bought new ones, outdated artwork that no longer fits the style of your business? Other people will be happy to have them!
Finally, digitize everything you can. Paper documents stack up extremely quickly, taking up space, and becoming an organizational nightmare.
Instead, put a digitizing system in place. Scan receipts, bills, and invoices – these digital versions are acceptable for tax purposes. Find a way of electronic note-sharing. Consider instating an electronic document signing policy. And be sure to do regular backups of your files.