Nov 30, 2017 · 2 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

At work, toward the end of the year, the Records Department sends out a reminder to clean up your desk.

It’s a nicely worded, friendly reminder with helpful tips on how to clean up your workspace and appropriately manage your paperwork.

The end of the year is a busy time. There are holiday parties to go to, gifts to buy, decorations to put up and family get-togethers. After Christmas, there’s all the new year planning: resolutions to make, goals to set, and new projects to start.

Like the Records Department says, it’s also the perfect time of year to spend a few hours getting your workspace in order, to “file, refile, return or recycle.”

Whether you work from home or commute to an office every day, and whether the workspace is for your job or your passion project, set aside some time for these steps:

File: If papers are important enough to keep, they’re important enough to have a home. File them away. Use whatever system you want and name them in the way that works the best for you. For instance, all my car-related items are filed under T for Truck, because I used to drive one though I don’t anymore. I have a file at work called Old-Timey. It includes my emergency pager and forms in triplicate that I need from time to time. Use whatever works.

Refile: If you took it out of a file, put it back into the file. But first, decide if you really need to keep it. Do you? Do you really?

Return: I like this one because it doesn’t have to do with paper, the bane of my existence. (Yes, I’m a writer and I LOVE paper. That’s part of the problem.) This one is about all the things you’ve taken out and may not have put away. Now’s your chance. Put them back and revel in your clean work surfaces.

Recycle: This goes for paper and things. If it’s paper you no longer need, recycle it unless it’s got sensitive information on it. If that’s the case, shred it. If it’s an actual thing, donate it if it’s in good shape so it can get a new life with someone else, or recycle it if that’s possible. It’s best to avoid the landfill if you can, but sometimes, that’s just not possible. Do your best.

So join me in finding some time in the next couple of weeks to go clean up our workspaces. Mine will be at my job because my workspace at home is the kitchen counter and sometimes the closet if everyone is asleep. I have to keep those areas clean.

What workspace will you be tidying up this December?


Image: Annie Spratt
Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.