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Cluttered Desk? How To Keep It Neat And Clean

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I FREAKING love office supplies! I could have my own paper store and be in heaven. All the pretty papers and texture on the covers. Ahhh…

But here is the thing. Lots of office supplies and tools don’t make the business or farm profitable. AND having all the pretty things doesn’t make you productive. 

Some people think that a little messiness can inspire creativity.

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Time management tips, a daily planner page, and crock pot recipes to help you get out of the kitchen faster.

This may be true when it comes to crafts and DIY projects. It makes sense that a small mess while doing creative projects would help you get in the creative mind space. But when you are trying to get important work done….. mmeeeeaaa I beg to differ. There has to be a line between messy and chaotic.

If your desk at work or in your home office is covered in papers and your file folders are strewn everywhere, there’s a good chance your productivity and creativity is swirling down the toilet.

All of this can result in more stress and a cluttered mind. The key is figuring out how to corral the clutter so that you can work more efficiently in an environment that energizes you. Let’s explore some ways to do that.

Your Messy Desk

Can you fix a cluttered desk habit if you are naturally a messy person? I thinks so. But you have to WANT to fix it. You can’t just have someone come in and say you need to have a cleaner desk and expect it to change. 

Even if you’re not a neat freak I think you will see the benefits of having a more orderly environment while you work. 

Your desk says a lot about you too. If you have customers that come to your farm or homestead you want to leave the best impression possible.  Like it or not anyone who sees your workspace will form an opinion of you. It’s human nature to make judgments.

Even if you have a small workspace there is so much you can do to make it appear more organized. Something you may not have considered is the way the piles sit on your desk. Are they in a neat stack without corners sticking out? Or are they more like a higher level of your desk because you’re not sure where one pile starts and the next one begins? 

Anyway, I will get to more tips to help you make your desk a little less messy later.

a not cluttered desk with a laptop and planner

Downsides of a Messy Desk

When your desk is cluttered, you waste time searching for things you need in order to complete your job. This could be hours each week.

Along with this lost productivity comes the stress of not being able to find what you need. It can take a toll on your mental state and even affect your creativity and critical thinking.

Visual clutter also zaps your energy. You feel overwhelmed simply by being surrounded by the mess on a daily basis because your brain has to process what is around you.

This feeling of being inundated can also take away your motivation, lessening your productivity.

A clean desk allows your eye to flow, making you feel more energized. It will boost productivity when you’re able to find what you need and make fewer mistakes.

Increased productivity is a catalyst that leads to getting even more done. This type of success feeds on itself.

You will also be projecting a more professional image when your workspace is a more neat and clean environment.

Ways to Clear the Cluttered Desk

Cleaning up the mess will take a concerted effort.

Be brutal by getting rid of everything you don’t need. Put necessary papers in their place, such as a clearly labeled filing system or binder.

  • Keep only basic mementos such as family photographs if you feel the need to have them on your desk.
  • Avoid placing items on surrounding furniture such as chairs or cabinets. Once you’ve cleared away the clutter, keep it neat by reducing your paper intake.
  • Use email and other electronic methods such as scanning documents whenever possible.
  • Have a nice jar or cup on your desk for holding writing utensils. But don’t fill it with too many. A packed jar will not add to the look at all. You only need 3-5 writing utensils and maybe a few highlighters and markers if you use them. 
  • For sticky notes have a basket that fits all of the shapes you use often. 
  • Have a binder for each species of animal you raise. Keep things like pedigrees and care info that you reverence often in that binder.
  • Limit yourself to one binder or folder when it comes to information gathering, seeds, animal care info extra… If you have a packed folder of info let’s be honest. You won’t be looking through it to find the answer you need.
  • Set up your desk in a way that helps you feel like you can work smoothly without drawing your feet. 

To keep your desk from becoming a cluttered workspace again. Do a sweep of your office space every evening, putting things away and clearing surfaces.

Limit your tendency to create piles in the first place by setting up spaces (a specific binder, notebook, or folder) for everything you do at your desk.

For example:

  • Garden planning
  • Livestock breeding planning
  • Bill paying/budgeting
  • Meal planning

Labels are ok but I’m not a fan. Labels once again add to the visual clutter. Only add labels to things that will be hidden from sight most of the time. Like file folders and things like that.

It’s ok to have ONE basket like this for important papers and things you need to look through later if you don’t have the time right then. BUT make sure it is not huge and you make a habit of sorting through it often.

laptop computer on a clean desk

A few simple steps will help keep your workspace tidy and improve your productivity, not to mention improving your mental outlook.

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