5 steps to a CLEAR desk


Can you see the top of your desk or does it look like a wasteland of file folders, business cards and the random paper clip?

If you’re like most busy professionals, cleaning up your desk is low on your list of priorities. At least until you reach your breaking point.

If that time has come, schedule some time to tackle the clutter on your desk. To help you, here’s my decluttering system I use with my clients. It’s five easy steps to get you closer to feeling in control of your workspace again.

It’s called the CLEAR Your Clutter System and my clients love it. CLEAR is an acronym for: Collect, Liberate, Establish, Action, Review.

Step 1: Collect
Scan your desk and get rid of the trash and recycling, and put away obvious items. Collect the remaining items and put them in a box, which you’ll call Clutter Control.

Step 2: Liberate
It’s time to liberate the items from Clutter Control. Start sorting the items, grouping like with like. For example, all To Do items go in a pile, all things to file go in another. If you’re unsure, put it back in Clutter Control. The key is to keep your momentum going and not get stuck on this step.

Step 3: Establish
Find a home in your workspace for the items you are keeping. Where to put these items depends on how often you use them:

  • Daily – on top of your desk or within arm’s reach.
  • Weekly – close to your desk, such as a drawer or filing cabinet.
  • Monthly or Annually – least accessible area of your office, like a closet.

Step 4: Action
Before you randomly buy storage containers or file folders, gauge how much space the items will take up and measure the storage area first. This will save you tons of time and aggravation. Now you can start putting things away.

Step 5: Review
Allow a week to pass and assess if your desk is still clutter free. If not, think about what’s not working and make the necessary changes and adjustments. Remember, there is no perfect way. It’s all about what works for you and your style.

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