If you're new, start here >> to learn more about Simplifying Home and download the free 8-week checklist.
Even if you're not completing the checklists, keep going! Any improvements you make will be worth it. And share your updates with #simplifyinghome on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Simplifying Home | Week 6: Office + Workspace
Clean + DeclutterWhether you have an at-home office or a desk in a corner or maybe just a few random papers and supplies in a drawer, it's important to improve this space and make it functional. Ideally this could be where you pay bills, meal plan, even consider your family's purpose. Start with pulling everything out, grouping like items, cleaning the related surfaces and cabinets, and carefully considering items before they're put back. Remember: It should go in the outbox if it's unneeded, unloved, unwanted, or unused in the last 6-12 months.
Do you have a place to store important papers? Especially those that should be kept for years? Even if you have things saved on a computer, it's helpful to have hard copies of yearly tax forms and other things easily accessible in a file. I like this >> handy little guide on what to keep and how long. Maybe go ahead and print it to keep in the front of your files for easy reference. Now go through the files and get rid of the unnecessary!
We tend to set up our technology where we want it, then sort of ignore the massive chord web that results. This isn't necessarily a huge issue, accept that it looks terrible and makes it difficult to move anything around. And just because we learn to ignore it doesn't mean that this visual clutter isn't effecting us. So, grab some zip ties or labels or get a docking station or whatever will help your particular brand of chord-crazy. And enjoy the peace that results.
When you pulled everything out, likely you found scattered pens and sticky notes and other random supplies. Group like-items together, and keep out only those items that you use daily or at a minimum weekly. No need to have paper clips and tape and every other office product in your way if you don't use them. My go-to items are basically pens and paper. For how little I use the other supplies, everything else can be easily grabbed from an office box (or drawer or cabinet, if that's what you have) as needed. And, of course, if items are rarely or never used, then get rid of them or at least greatly reduce them.
Do-Not-MailMail is often something we all just accept as part of life, and spend the few seconds it takes to toss things in the trash or recycling as we see fit. Problem is, it really is an unnecessary waste of time and energy processing all of these envelopes, offers, ads, catalogs, etc. And, if neglected, can lead to terrible clutter on the counter, the desk, or wherever it accumulates until we finally address it.
So, make a preemptive strike against the junk mail. Cancel unused subscriptions right off the bat. Also start looking into other sources for removing yourself from send lists.
Here are a few places to start:
dmachoice.org to stop receiving direct mail
optoutprescreen.com to stop receiving credit and insurance offers
catalogchoice.org to stop receiving catalogs
yellowpagesoptout.com to stop receiving the yellow pages
Cleaning RoutineFor some, this process comes naturally, and for others it requires more attention. And some seasons throw off the routine more than others. Consider your current lifestyle and available energy/time and find a cleaning routine that fits. You can find lots of pretty weekly cleaning checklists on Pinterest to either print and use, or as inspiration for creating your own.
After a month of alternating between cleaning your home by task (when we cleaned the floors and dusted throughout the home) and cleaning your home by time (doing as much as possible in twenty minutes), you should have a better idea of how you work best. I used to be a by-task cleaner. Now, with kids and limited energy, I do much better setting the timer and just seeing what gets done.
Go here >> for my cleaning checklist or a blank printable to complete with your routine.
Digital StorageSometimes we neglect the photos and digital files on our computers and back-up drives because it's not taking up physical space. The truth, however, is that these need to be decluttered and maintained just like any other physical possessions, for a few reasons:
1. Clutter has the same impact on our overall well-being whether it's physical belongings or digital files. Reducing all types of clutter can help lighten our load mentally and physically.
2. Less is easier to maintain. Computers can crash and in a second files can be permanently lost. Important documents and photos should be packed up on disk and/or a back-up drive. This is easier to keep up with when you're only keep the good photos and the essential files.
Start going through those files. Delete the excess or unnecessary. Also delete photos that are blurred, have closed eyes, etc. We like have thousands more photos than we need, so preserving the poor-quality photos is really unnecessary. Then, go through and back it all up on disk and/or external drive.
Time ManagementIt's likely time for a seasonal real evaluation of how we spend our time. Are you wasting time on frivolous distractions or have too many things to get done in a day? Start evaluating ways to improve these gaps in the time available with the projects to do. Reduce your list to the top priorities, and implement a time management system like the Pomodoro Technique to balance work and breaks.
Home BudgetHopefully you already have some sort of home budget in place. If you don't, now is a good time to start. If you do, then it might be time for a reevaluation and update. Track and observe your spending for a month or two and notice any gaps where money is sneaking out unnoticed. Tighten up in areas like frivolous eating out so you have more left to save and give.
OutdoorsMost of us have jobs and hobbies that keep us inside and/or in front of a screen for a large portion of the day. This week, make an effort to spend a dedicated ten minutes (or more!) outside everyday. Not just to and from the car, but sitting on the porch or playing with the kids or going for a week. Get some fresh air, and sunshine if it's out.
Your Home ProjectsHow are those personal home projects coming? I'd love to hear what you add to your lists and what's getting done! Share them on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with #SimplifyingHome.
simplify home: 8-week checklist
week 7: storage + organization
bedroom office tour
following purpose w/ passion
family purpose statement