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Workin' Girl

Purge These Items From Your Office To​ Gain Zen, Boost Productivity, And Spark Creative Clarity

We all know that part of being productive and at our best when we're doing our work is creating an office space that accommodates greatness. For some of us, that simply means keeping things neat and organized in a chaotic, busy work environment; for others, it could be methodically managing an organized mess; and for others, it's all about steering clear of clutter and welcoming zen.


No matter what group you belong to, here are a few tips for things you need to get rid of today if you want your office space to be a place of peaceful productivity and calm inspiration:

How To Declutter Your Office Space in 2024

1. Outdated or miscellaneous files... whether digital or paper

Listen, I'm the first person to tell you that I am a digital file hoarder. I'll keep emails for more than a decade, save files on the cloud and forget about them for years, and don't even get me started on my digital photo albums. In my line of work there's a lot of downloading and uploading, so I empathize with anybody who can't bring themselves to delete things.

That being said, delete 'em. There are certain best practices when it comes to tax documents, accounting records, payroll stubs, invoices, and the like, and there's a lifespan for every file.

And if your company is into paper files, find out the procedures related to purging from your manager, HR rep, or other professional who knows more about the file-keeping and file-shredding protocols. Figure out an organization process and find ways to go digital when you can. Address this quarterly or even bi-monthly, and get some assistance. Either way, you want to get rid of file clutter and free up valuable space both on your tech devices and physically in your office.

2. Those extra knicknacks, mugs, children's drawings, or expired snacks in or on your desk

We all love those special drawings we get from the little loved ones in our lives, but you can't keep every scribble or class project at your desk. A great way to enjoy these while at work is to take photos of them and include them in a digital photo album on your desk or as your screensaver on your computer. You can also utilize wall space and frame them to put up.

Also, let's purge those little Rasta-man figurines from your last Jamaica vacation, those three impulse-buy Stanley mugs gathering dust in your bottom drawer, or at least throw away those stale snack cakes you were saving for a rainy day.

If you really love certain knicknacks, they'll be top-of-mind and useful. If you have the space, add a bookshelf or floating wall shelves that can house three to five select items that are simply there for mood-boosting or to spark inspiration. Otherwise, take them home, donate them, or sell them.

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stockfour/Getty

3. Old tech or equipment

It's a good time to consider whether you need a tech upgrade or a total replacement, and this applies to your computer or laptop, your work phone, and other tools you use to do your job. (Here's a good guide on how to decide or at least what to consider when pitching to your manager or the IT team for the budget approval to do so.)

If you're using tech that's not helping you in the ease and efficiency departments and have the power to get rid of it or at least upgrade the components (i.e., programs, apps, or actual equipment), take the time to do that now. Do your research on the latest technology that will make you and/or your team more competitive, productive, and fulfilled, and tech that will save you time and stress in the job that you do.

Incorporate tech that will help you automate some parts of your job like scheduling meetings, responding to emails, or relaying information, and get rid of tech that's archaic, not a good fit for the people you work with or the job you do, or simply isn't a good product.

And you don't necessarily have to go big or expensive for this. It could be something as small as recycling or selling an old monitor to get a new, larger one with better resolution or trying a wireless mouse and a new mousepad. It could mean finally donating that old printer you've had in a corner, or calling your phone carrier to negotiate a deal on a newer phone. Look into the warranties that you might have on equipment, coupons, sales, or other ways to purge and replace.

4. That busted or uncomfortable desk-and-chair situation

This is often overlooked, but the comfort and set up of your office desk and chair can play a major role in negatively contributing to not only your productivity but your overall health as well---especially if you spend the majority of your time at a desk during your work day. It's very important to have a desk-and-chair setup that is ergonomically sound, and if you work for a company, this is something that should be a priority for them as well.

If your work chair is half broke-down, the seat or other padding is worn out, it's made of hard uncomfortable material, or it's not adjustable for your height, the height of your desk, and a comfortable eye level to your computer screen, it's time for an office makeover.

Maybe even consider a standing desk and a walking pad if you want options that will spark activity, productivity, and wellness while you work. Figure out the best positioning of your desk and chair or other nontraditional options for this. Trust me, your back and mental health will thank you in the long run.

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Featured image by ljubaphoto/Getty Images

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