In just a matter of days, we’ll be saying goodbye to the first month of the new year. And yet, your desk still screams of 2013 with all the clutter of the past year still lying around. If you haven’t cleaned up your workspace until now, then it’s time to put Project Declutter into action.

SET THE DATE. Work has probably started coming in and it’s easy to prioritize those over the task of cleaning and organizing your workspace. However, when things pile up around you, it can be overwhelming because it can make it seem that you have more work than you might actually do.

So make time for it. Maybe spend coffee break tidying up, or spend an extra hour or two in the office to get it done. The latter is not really tempting, surely - but just think of the reward that you will be able to work more efficiently after this (and that might lead to lesser overtimes in the office – won’t that be fun!).

OUT WITH THE OLD (AND THE NOT SO USEFUL). Unless you’re holding on to them as important references, get rid of old newspapers and magazines. The article you’ve been wanting to read might have a digital version, so maybe you can just save the link and read it when you finally find the time.

If you’ve accumulated lots of decorative pieces, toys, or photo frames in your desk, maybe bring some of those home and just leave a few at work. While these can be pretty to look, having too many can be distracting.

RETURN THE STUFF YOU’VE BORROWED. When we’re in a hurry to accomplish a simple task like signing a document or stapling a report, we sometimes just grab a pen or a stapler from the nearest desk which might not be our own. We sometimes forget to return these things so don’t be surprised if you find that you have two, even three staplers on your desk.

Make it a point to return stuff you’ve borrowed so there’ll be less items on your desk to worry about.

YES TO SMALL STORAGES. The usual habit is to get bigger boxes or mobile cabinets to put all our stuff in. But sometimes, this just encourages us to hold on to things even if we have no use for them. Having small storage spaces keeps us from hoarding things and trains us to just keep what’s really essential.

MIND YOUR DIGITAL CLUTTER TOO. It’s not just about the physical clutter – you also have to mind the mess on your computer or laptop at work. Delete unnecessary icons from your desktop. Save files in properly labeled folders. This can make you more efficient because you can easily find files you need, instead of going through all the folders you have or running endless searches.

Similar to the Home Edition of Project Declutter, it is highly recommended that you do this on a regular basis as well. Maybe schedule it every end of the month so you find yourself refreshed and well-prepared as you begin another month of work. Who knows, when you’re stressed at work, you might even find this therapeutic.

Image used under Creative Commons from Nick Keppol

Lennie Arboleda

Lennie is a former radio deejay and TV writer now dabbling in public relations and publishing. She enjoys ordinary things (a good book, a nice park, and a perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookie) and the extraordinary company of her loved ones (especially her seven-year old boy Sloan). Follow her life adventures on