Refresh your working space for the new year.

Working Wood Desk

Guest blogger Cyndy Ratcliffe, Certified Professional Organizer®, Organizing Solutions, Inc.

As Melanie invited me to be a guest blogger to share some organizing tips I was reminded of this quote “Don’t be too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet” unknown

So often we are running so fast that we continue running without stopping to evaluate what we might change to be more productive and less stressed. An organized working space is a great start! The number one question I hear when it comes to this type of project is “Where do I start?” To answer that question I’d like to share a 4-step process for getting your workspace organized.

  1. CLEAR – the old

The new year is a great time to clear off your desktop, old files, binders, books and supply closets. Statistics show that we only retrieve 20% of what we file so be aggressive. Set up a shred bin and large garbage can for the items you can get rid of, there will probably be many.  You may find information that is legal, tax or past client related which you need to hang on to should the need arise in the future. Create an archive box for these items and get them out of your current office space. You can retrieve them should the need arise in the future … it rarely does.

  1. CATEGORIZE – the physical items you are keeping

Sort the items you want to keep by category. Some examples might be working files, resources, and office supplies (mailing, printing, and writing). Just create an area to categorize them as you are sorting. The next step will help you with containing them.


This step is about finding the right containers for the items you have categorized.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Open bins within arm’s reach of your desk labeled “in”, “Action/working”, “pending” and “to read”.
  • A desktop file to store all your recurring work folders on your desktop.
  • Deep drawer dividers for your desk drawers to keep items organized.
  • A-Z guides for easy retrieval of your files.

Deep drawer dividers for your desk drawers help keep items organized.


4.  PLACE – the contained categories in an efficient location

Set up regularly used items to be within reach while you are sitting at your desk. If you are right handed items like office supplies, shredder printer and the desktop file may work most efficiently to your right. I have a bookshelf to the right of my desk for easy access to binders, mailing supplies, my printer, the recycle bin and my client preparation supplies. Everything at the ready!

So, schedule blocks of time in the next week to “turn off your faucet”. Start by clearing out the old. It doesn’t have to be done in a day. Commit 30 minutes each day until you feel like the faucet is off and your desktop and office space are working efficiently for you.