Productivity and the Basics of Cleaning Up

Jun 16, 2020

For many of us, our home offices, kitchen tables, living room sofas and even bedrooms have all been repurposed into full-time home offices. Your once clutter-free kitchen table is now the drop zone for all of your work stuff. Your tech, deliveries, printing proofs, loose finish swatches and everything else are beginning to clutter your rooms in your home.

An abundance of clutter can be not only wildly annoying but also very harmful to our health and productivity. Clutter increases the stress hormone, cortisol, in our bodies. High levels of Cortisol are linked to everything from increased risk of chronic headaches and digestive issues to more harmful ongoing mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. Excessive clutter also makes us more likely to procrastinate, life hinders our ability to read facial expressions and suppresses our short term memory.

Now you might think “it’s too much - the clutter is taking over.” Well, not to worry - here are some first steps to help you get on the road to tidying up:

  1. Make Your Bed: Regardless of whether or not your bed is working double-time as your office - making your bed can be one of the most productive ways to start your day. Taking a moment to make your bed gives you a small win in the morning and decreases the amount of visual clutter your brain registers throughout a day. This will help you set the tone for your day and is a practice you can continue when you eventually return to the office.

  2. Break Down Your Cleanup Into Small Steps: No matter how tempting it is to rip everything out of the cupboards and start fresh, it’s important to remember to not overwhelm yourself. Don’t forget, too much visual clutter at one time leads to more cortisol spikes - decidedly unproductive. Instead, start small. Devote your time to cleaning one drawer, one closet or one area of your home or office at a time. Achieving these little goals not only feels good but also decreases the risk of an unfinished declutter project making your productivity worse.

  3. Keep, Repurpose, Gift, Donate, Toss: As you work through your stuff it can be difficult to discern what should stay and what might be ready to go. One simple tool is to remind yourself that if you can’t keep, repurpose, gift or donate an item then it might be time to toss it. Critically evaluate each item you wish to keep, especially those “well, you never know” or “I might one day need these” items. Your donation or gift could be beneficial to others and help keep clutter out of landfills.

  4. Find a Space For Everything: Everything has a space you just have to find it. Buying storage pieces like laterals, pedestals, or bookcases can give you the groundwork for perfect storage. Then, use baskets, paper trays, and bins to break down that storage further. Once an item has a home, make an effort to put it back in that same place after every use. This will help you build your tidy habit while also making things easier to find in the future.

  5. Maintenance: Don’t let your hard work go to waste! Schedule time each week to tidy up. Visit all the problem areas in your home - we all have them - and quickly tidy and sort through the clutter. Dedicating 5 minutes a week to decluttering your space can save you hours six months from now.

No one is perfect, and managing clutter is an ongoing journey. But with these simple steps, you can get started on creating a more relaxing and productive space. If you’d like to take your clutter management to the next level, contact one of our storage experts for more information.


Atiyeh Ghanbari

Director of Marketing, Office Specialty