Paper Matters Blog
Marie Condo Your Office Space

If you’re like me, your office space is probably littered with post-it notes and daily lists that have not been completed because you have been sidetracked with other “important” tasks.  Well, I’ve decided that it’s time to Marie Condo my office and create that space that I wished I had.

Sounds a lot easier than it is, right?  Well, maybe not.  When I started sifting through the piles of paper I’d created over the weeks, months and years, I noticed the tension in my shoulders relaxing.

Sheet by sheet and three hours later, I was able to discard most of my unnecessary documents, tradeshow trinkets and office supplies I didn’t know I had.

I was also able to complete a few tasks on those post-it notes that had decorated my desk.  Marie Condo was right, if you take it one step at a time, you can accomplish your goals.

Here are a few tips to help you Marie Condo Your Office.

Step one:  Everything starts with a goal and a vision of what you want to accomplish. The key is to keep the end goal in mind when you find yourself wavering to discard a vase that has been collecting dust in the corner.  Once you take that first step, everything will follow.

Step two:  This is the hard part but it’s necessary; decide what you will discard and what you will keep.  I had to make some very hard decisions on what I thought was important, what was actually important and what was just a vanity piece of artifact in my office.

My solution:

  1. The obvious question: Is it something that will bring value or benefit to me emotionally, physically or professionally? Or, as Marie Condo would put it, does it bring you joy?  For example: does that bowling trophy from 3 years ago push me to do better? Or, do I really need to keep that printed quarterly review from a year and half ago?
  2. The reasonable question: Will others need access or is it a shared asset?  If the answer is yes, is there another location where the asset can be filed or stored? When I put this question to the test, I did find many duplications of printed material.
  3. The difficult question: Is it unique or have a special meaning? As much as I want to hold on to each amazing memory that I’ve made at tradeshows and conferences with my colleagues and customers, do I really need to keep all those badges and lanyards?

If the answer to any of these questions were no, then let it go.

Step three:  After I discarded the unnecessary items in my office, it was time to start organizing.  Following Marie Condo’s advice, I organized my stack of papers by projects or by type; however, this may be different for everyone. As I reviewed the emails, meeting agendas and notes that had been printed, I used my reasoning to determine whether it was a keeper or not.

Instead of buying more supplies, I used colored sheets of paper as my section dividers and post-it notes to bring attention to certain documents for future reference.

There is always room for more de-cluttering but if you take it one step at a time, keep your goal in mind and refrain from accumulating more artifacts, you will find yourself in a space that you enjoy and inspires your work. As always, print responsibly.

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