Whether working from home or being back in the office, a clean and clutter-free desk is the key to keeping a clear mind. Making sure your workspace is in order is one of the most productive things you can do with your time as it can make a real difference to your everyday activity.

It can be easy to forget this importance, especially when you won’t have commercial cleaners who see to personal space and the only person who suffers from the implications of this litter is yourself.

However, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to your desk spring clean, especially if you have years of clutter and organised mess sitting around. Our 8 top tips will show you how to declutter your desk successfully and help you work from home successfully.

1.Allocate Time

It’s all well and good deciding to declutter your desk but actually following through with it is harder.

We all have busy work schedules and cleaning tasks often fall to the lowest priority on our lists. Scheduling in time will make this easier, but this needs to be timed right.

If you know you have a busy day ahead, don’t tidy your desk in the morning; it’ll quickly become cluttered again during the day and you won’t get it done properly.

Friday afternoons work well, our attention often waivers during this time as we look forward to the weekend and it’s unlikely you’ll start any big projects during this time either.

Returning to work on a Monday morning to a clean and clutter-free desk will keep you motivated to maintain this during the rest of the week.

2.Remove Everything

Start by removing everything, including your computer from your desk and give it a good clean.

Then clean your items, knowing how to clean a mouse and how to clean a keyboard can save you from accidentally causing damage to electronics.

Next, you can start to place items back, starting with the essentials, you’ll soon realise what you actually need and what you don’t.

3.Purge your Belongings

If you’ve been working at your desk for many years, you’ve probably collated a lot of junk.

You may be hanging onto that joke Secret Santa present from last Christmas, or a coffee mug your kids made for you but just doesn’t hold enough coffee for your daily cup. Try to remove the sentimental value and get rid of anything that isn’t useful.

Moving these items to a different space will give you a clear picture of what space you have and give you a better idea of what to keep.

4.Go Digital

We live in a digital world and it’s time to utilise this. If you have a messy desk, it’s likely to be down to numerous piles of documents.

Scan these onto your computer and place the paper copies into filing cabinets. You can still access these if you need but having a digital copy means you can quickly reference them on your desktop, without creating a mess on your desk.

If you have photo frames that take up too much space, scan these on too and create a photo collage as your desktop background. That way, you still get to see them, but they don’t take away your precious physical space.

5.Get A Desk Tidy

Desk tidies are a brilliant way to organise your stationery and also provides a means to inject some personality into your workspace.

There are all manner of colours, shapes and themes available to buy online so you can go as mad or subtle as you wish.

Don’t just chuck all your pens into it, use this time to test each one and take the opportunity to throw out any that have run out of ink.

You may also discover your have duplicates of supplies, no one needs two staplers or three hole punches. Offer these to colleagues, if no one takes up your offer, move them to a communal stationery cupboard.

6.Give Everything A Space

Yes, everything! Allocating a space for everything will help you keep your desk clutter-free. It highlights any items that ‘don’t belong’ and will make it easier for you to acknowledge them.

Separating trays for documents, such as ‘to do’ ‘done’ and ‘awaiting approval’ will keep any remaining paper items organised and easy to find.

Even the simple act of using a coaster for mugs will help prevent you from hoarding drinkware on your desk and encourage you to return dirty glasses to the kitchen before you become buried in them.

7.Don’t Forget The Desktop

It isn’t just the physical workspace that should be kept clean, your digital world should be too. Have a look at your desktop and go through any shortcuts or tabs that can be deleted.

Do the same with your email inbox, junk email and old projects can be removed and important information should be organised into folders so they don’t get lost.

Go through your folders and see what can be deleted and what needs to be organised. Sorting out your desktop can really increase productivity by removing wasted time trying to locate the right information.

8.Get Some Drawers

There will always be items we need on a regular basis that are big and bulky and take up too much space. At the same time, we don’t want them too far away as we need them so often.

Getting desk drawers will make a real difference; notebooks, reference books, excess stationery and anything else can be kept close by and reduce any risk of them going missing.

Just remember to keep these clean and try to avoid keeping food in them as it can often be forgotten about when it’s out of sight and can lead to mould and other nasty bacteria growing.

If you are a serial clutter culprit, habits won’t change overnight. Don’t worry, you’ll get there eventually. At the end of each week, give yourself 5-10 minutes to simply look at your desk and locate what shouldn’t be there.

By following these tips, you’ll be on the way to having the best-kept desk in the office and who knows, maybe your colleagues will follow your example too.