With the constant flow of new responsibilities and roles filtering into our workload, how are we to keep track of meeting notes, searching for files, and trying to stay up-to-date when in a state of disorganisation? In most cases it comes at a cost, a cost on our time, relationships and health.

I speak from experience, in my previous life I was consumed by my job, excelling in a male dominated industry, I identified myself though my career and I loved it. As the hours grew longer and workload increased, so did my clutter. Too busy focusing on my role and not on my health, I found out the true cost of clutter and disorganisation.

Clutter Isn’t Just Physical

My clutter was not physical clutter, it was the stuff I carried around in my head, massive to do list’s, plans and ideas, meetings, targets to meet and managing a sales team. Don’t get me wrong I loved it but my body was telling me a very different story.

How do we cope when we are pinged, tweeted, zoomed, facetimed trying to function on a diet of constant learning to keep up with new things, sifting through information, swapping quickly between tasks and multitasking? Generally speaking…not very well

Clutter’s Impact on Your Life

Excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. In a study Core Data Happy Homes 2017  a quarter (25.4%) of respondents say clutter creates stress or anxiety in their lives, and 16.5% say it impacts their happiness negatively. Similar proportion say clutter decreases their sense of self control (14.9%) or creates a sense of shame in them (13.9%)

In a study conducted by OfficeMax they found 46% of employees surveyed had difficulty segregating clutter from essentials.

Rethink the true cost of clutter

“Either quit your job or keep paying for my kid’s school fees and mortgage” That was the wakeup call I received from my doctor, without a doubt it was time to rethink my work life balance; who am I kidding I didn’t have balance I had full on bias to work. That is when I made the decision to rethink the true cost of clutter. The next day I quit my job, said goodbye to the company car, nice salary, company credit card, the nice office with the amazing view over Sydney Harbour and started to rethink my life

6 Top Tips to Conquer Clutter that won’t cost the earth

  1. Set limits

How many stress balls do you really need? How many pens do we need? Generally, one that works is great unless you work as an artist. It is ok to say no thank and refuse the tradeshow bags; it is ok to refuse to follow so many people on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Ask yourself do the newsletters, tips, and emails that fill up your inbox warrant space in your day? Do they add value to your working day or are they a distraction?

Set limits on what you print out and store on your desk top or in the cloud.

Set limits on how long you hold onto emails which you intend to read when you have a spare moment, chances are if you have not read it in 2 weeks you are not going to read it.

 “Set with a limit of 2 boxes in our imminent move to a new workspace, I found Tanya’s tips on how to identify clutter and how to declutter very useful. The connection made between our clutter and the environment was thought provoking, making me stop and rethink before bring adding more things to my space. Maya “

  1. Rethink what is working and what’s not working for you.

Rather than introduce another new organising system, it is important to look at what is currently working, no point in reinventing the wheel, either tweak it or refresh it. You will instantly recognise what is working, because that is where you go to all the time, it’s what you use the most. What you don’t use is sitting in the back of the filing cabinet, on the shelf covered in dust or you constantly work around it and never use it.


  • Remove anything that is no longer relevant to your office space, example
  • Old calendars
  • Old papers, post it notes, to do lists
  • Anything that is broken and cannot be repaired (pens, folders, clips etc)
  • Recycle or donate redundant e-waste (mobile phones, computers, stray cords)
  1. Rethink Space

As hot-desking and offices become smaller, we no longer have an area to spread out or the luxury of a desk to call our own, it’s important to utilise the space you have available.

There is no room for excess stuff, we need to rethink how we use our flat and vertical surfaces and what we carry around with us. We cannot stretch our four walls to accommodate our stuff, so we have to rethink the space we have.

  • Add hooks and lift frequently used items up and off your horizontal surfaces
  • Remove anything that is not relevant to bring in what you need, in other words declutter
  • Look for stackable storage to utilise your vertical space, look for light weight transportable storage if you are on the go. Shift cabinet shelves up and down to fully utilise space.
  • Check out recycled and repurposed storage before buying new
  • Make a concerted effort to remove one item per day that does not aid the function of your work space
  • Look for storage that is easy to use, if it is difficult you will not use it, only adding to the clutter
  1. Declutter little and often
  • Daily, weekly or monthly routines are one of the best ways to keep clutter at bay.
  • Daily: At the end of each day clear your desk of clutter and return items including digital files to their correct home.
  • Remove all visual clutter from your desktop and turn off any reminders that are not relevant to the task ahead
  • Finish each day by writing a to do list for the following day
  • Weekly: Review your wallet, bag, briefcase, back pack on a weekly basis, remove receipt, action them, file or recycle.
  • Declutter your inbox and empty the recycle bin on your devices
  • Monthly: Unsubscribe to newsletter and blogs you have not read or no longer relevant
  1. Clean your deck

With the desk clear it’s time to clean the space. Grab your cleaning products and start cleaning the desk, don’t forget the phone, computer, coffee cup, flat and vertical surfaces. Don’t be surprised how much food falls out of keyboards.

Now that your desk is clear of clutter and clean, the trick is only return what you truly need and want. Be realistic when it comes to the “wants” we might want a lot of things, but if they take up valuable space and get in the way of doing your job, they are CLUTTER.

  1. Responsible Recycling

When it comes time to updating or replace office equipment, there are many options to responsibly dispose of ewaste and office supplies

E Waste  

Drop Zone  FREE nationwide recycling service for televisions, computers, printers and computer peripherals. Available to all householders, small business and schools.

Mobile Muster The official recycling program of the Australian Mobile Phone Industry. Tips from Mobile Muster to remove your data and safely recycle your mobile phone

TechCollect: Recycling e-waste responsibly. Free national recycling service for computers, computer accessories and TV’s (e-waste)


Recycling Near You: On this site you can search for information about the recycling and waste services offered by your council.

TerraCycle is Eliminating the Idea of Waste® by recycling the “non-recyclable.” Whether it’s coffee capsules from your home, pens from a school, or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility, TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste.

For more tips to reduce, reuse and recycle waste visit Eco Organiser®

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The 10R’s© Rethink Responsible Refuse Repurpose Reorganise Repair Reduce Reuse Recycle Reward