In the home, workspace, or college dorm, it is easy to build up useless masses of clutter that is not relevant to anything productive, simply wasting space and putting a drain on your time and energy. Not only do these stacks of magazines, old papers, and miscellaneous items you’ve forgotten to put away cost you in efficiency, they also may lessen the aesthetic pleasure you receive from your environment. Such situations throw a damper over your mood and thus cut into your productivity and enjoyment as you go about your daily tasks.

          Thankfully, the amount of work needed to bust clutter and organize pales in comparison to the benefit from doing so, and so taking the time out to work towards a cleaner and more neat space is almost a no-brainer. This task can easily be done in an afternoon, and afterwards you will thank yourself for weeks to come as you eventually habitualize the actions needed to keep your area organized, clean, and effective. 

Step 1 Getting Started Now

          If you’ve continued reading thus far, I’m going to assume you have cluttered or non-organized space that needs to be taken care of. If this is the case, stop reading now and go get a garbage bag. The hardest part about cleaning up in a situation like this is getting started, so it is essential to take steps and finish the problem instead of simply lamenting about it’s existence with no follow up.                             

           Now that you have your trash bag, go and turn on every light you can find. If you have windows, open them. This will create a well-lit and productive environment and will help you focus. You may also want to turn on some music. You’re about to do work.

Step 2 Throw out Everything

          Well not literally everything… but basically you are going to want to take stock of the objects on your desk, in your drawers, on selves, and elsewhere with the mindset of “chuck first ask questions later”. Be ruthless here, as a weak run-through will simply result in more random junk getting turned up and needing organization. If you can live without it, throw it out. Cut down on as much stuff as possible, and try and fill up your trash bag.

Step 3 Organize

          Now that you’ve thrown out all of the junk that’s been plaguing you, you’re done with about half the battle. Now however, items are haphazardly strewn about, drawers and shelves have awkwardly empty spaces; there are most likely pens and small important items that have escaped the purge lying around everywhere. Now that everything in front of you is important and necessary, it is time to put it all away in a manner that reflects the importance of these items.            

          Begin by grouping the like together. If you have a lot of cool pens, make a pen section in your top drawer or in a penholder on your desk. All the papers that were deemed too important to chuck should be organized on file if you’re feeling constructive, or at least in the same area if not. Take the time to tie off excess wire length with zip ties, making your computer set up more concise and less bird nesty. By the time you finish this step, everything you need should be within an arms-length if possible, and you should know exactly where said items are.

Step 4 Clean Up

          If you have done the previous steps right, there should be dust bunnies everywhere, and your space should have a distinctive organized but dirty feel to it, as you’ve just moved and jostled a lot of stuff that hasn’t been touched for a while. It is important now to seal the deal by dusting and going over old drink stains ect. with a wet paper towel. Dust your lamp and your computer screen right now, if your like most people, the amount of crap that came off will be satisfying. Repeat this process on the rest of your stuff and the new look and shine your items will take is sure to please you.

Step 5 Don't Relapse!

          Now that your area is finally clean, the last thing you want to do is mess it up again. This entails making conscious decisions when handling items as not to just throw them any old place when you’re finished using them. Also, try and maintain the cleanliness of your desk by regularly dusting and keeping screens glistening with wet wipes. Try and get used to staying organized, it is an attractive and healthy habit that will pay off exponentially in the long run!