Clearing the Clutter

About a month ago we put our house up for sale since we are relocating to the upper mid-west.  It forced me to clear up the clutter in the house which is always a challenge and a great opportunity.  It has also forced me to keep it clean and clutter free the entire time.  I really do not want to spend more than about 15 minutes to prep the house if someone wants to see it.  The room that has been the biggest problem for me is the home office.  I’ve never been good about keeping this room clutter free which is surprising since my work office is always tidy – I hate piles of stuff around there.  Here are some tips that I’ve been using to keep the office clutter free:

  1. Clear the piles:  The first thing I did was sort out all the piles of paperwork on the desk.  I put it in a file or threw it away.
  2. Create a place:  I have a simple filing system for bills and other paperwork that is due at a later date.  I cleaned that up to make sure it was current.
  3. Process paper daily:  I’ve forced myself to clean up the desk each night so that everything is in the proper place when I go to bed.  That way in the morning I have a clean slate to start the day.
  4. Clean out the files:  As I’ve been filing the paperwork I had or get each day I clean out the files I encounter.  Instead of spending days cleaning out the file cabinets I’ve been taking files as I touch them.  This way a bit gets done each week and over a month things are definitely better.
  5. Enlist help:  As I clear out the accumulated paperwork there are things that need to be shredded instead of just thrown out.  To get this done I have one of my sons help me with the shredding.  He will tackle a pile a couple of times a week.  This is time I can use to do something else that needs to be done.

What I have found to be most helpful is to make sure I know where everything belongs and take a few minutes each day to address the items from that day.  The initial tackling of the desk was the worst part of it all; with simple steps the daily maintenance is easy.

The unplanned side benefit is that I am much more efficient when I sit down at my desk now.  I am not hunting for anything, I know where it is and I can get right down to the business at hand.

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