When beginning to Organize your Office Space, we have learned so far that a few things must be done in order to be successful:

  1. Weed out all of your important time sensitive things that must be done ‘yesterday’, and either do them NOW, or put them in a basket on top of your desk and do them as soon as you are able.  You need to make time for this: Turn off all phones, e-mails, facebook messages, IMs, etc.- and carve out time to do this and only this.
  2. Look around your office and determine a list of ‘categories’ that all of your ‘stuff’ fits into.  Categories are dependent upon the type of business you run.  Many times though, important categories to have are: RECYCLE, THROW, SHRED, DONATE, Follow up, Expenses, Clients, Marketing/Networking, and so on.

Keep in mind that while we continue de-cluttering your office, you MUST continue 1 & 2 above.  New categories will arise, and ‘stuff’ will come in that must be put into the categories immediately.

The next part of de-cluttering is actually putting the ‘stuff’ into each category.  This is a big job, and can be very time consuming. It is most efficient and productive to do in large chunks of time.  Weekends are good for this.  To begin:

  1. Get bags, boxes, bins or enough floor space for piles
  2. Label each of these with a category name that you determined.  It is best to use a bright pink or orange ‘post-it-note’, or large signs and a sharpie.  If labels are obvious, you don’t have to ‘think’ when you get into a groove.
  3. Sit in the center of all of your labeled boxes and bins.  A floor space or giant table to good for this
  4. Begin to grab stacks of ‘stuff’ and throw into each contained category.
  5. If more categories develop, have your supplies ready to make more boxes.

Do not begin to sub-categorize here or get too detailed.  This is only the first run though.  It must be done quickly just to begin separating your ‘stuff’.  Again, it is best to carve out large amounts of time, especially on weekends.  It can be very disruptive to the productivity of your business. It can also be stressful and exhausting, as many of my clients have learned:

Are we done yet?

* De-cluttering their office space and Conference room took over 140 hours of ‘man-time’- and 4 days.  The good news?  Their business has never been better.  They are so organized they even began a Business Training and Scanning School!





If you plan on being productive in your office, that is, meeting deadlines, following up, making money, or at least getting a job done to the best of your ability, you must first make sure that you have a de-cluttered office space, and an intention of setting up systems that will ensure you get the task done in a timely manner.

If your office is cluttered, your performance, or lack thereof, will reflect this.  It is important to be congruent in all that you do if you want to be successful.

Today we will begin the task of de-cluttering.  It is important in this step to sit back and figure out what categories all of that paper and ‘stuff’ will fit into.  This will help us in the process.

Some suggestions are:

  1.  To-do
  2. Client’s
  3. Expenses
  4. Dates and invitations to remember or record
  5. Manuals or Directions
  6. Things to file
  7. Marketing/PR
  8. Contacts
  9. Leads/Follow up
  10. Networking

There are numerous categories that can be formed here that apply to your particular business.  The important thing to to decide what categories you need, so you can begin separating your ‘stuff’ into them. You may want to keep your categories broad here, and we can ‘sub-categorize’ later.

So sit back, look around you, and make your list.

Andy's Desk- BEFORE



An office or business can be located in a home or in an office space outside of your home. Regardless, your job or business is usually a necessity, and allows you to live the life that you desire- at least from a financial standpoint.

The most important thing before you begin the process of organizing this space, is to de-clutter what you don’t need.  But even before we begin to de-clutter, it is important to deal with things that are urgent or a necessity.  It doesn’t help to begin organizing while phone calls or deadlines are being missed.

Today, go through your desk (probably on top), or any papers lying around, and weed out the most important ones. These are the notes to yourself that must be followed up on, the bills not paid, checks not cashed, promises not kept or deadlines not met.

Put these into one pile, and prioritize them-top to bottom. The ones on the top are the most important.

What to do first

Then carve out a few hours each day.  E-mails, facebook, twitter, and phone calls can wait.  You must knock out your top priorities that you have overlooked. Once those are out of the way, we can begin.

Stick to it!


Does Clutter really effect our business or our work financially?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Clutter is defined at:
transitive verb
: to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness

That definition of clutter seems pretty telling. I think it would be a fair statement that if a business’ movement is ‘impeded’ or its ‘effectiveness is reduced’, that there will be repercussions to your bottom line.

To further validate this, here are some other statistics regarding business and CLUTTER:

• Numerous Organizing studies have determined that most people never reference 80% of all papers they save (but they are still saved, and they are the number one contributor to clutter)
• Individuals in the workplace loose 280 hours per year, or seven weeks because of poor communication-that is, seeking extra clarification (clutter can be in our heads as well)
• The typical executive spends between 4.5-6 hours a week searching for papers. Of course, the more cluttered one is, the more time is spent.
• An interruption in your workday costs around 6 minutes of focused time. These 6 minutes must be added on the actual time it took for the interruption. (A 10 minutes phone call means 16 minutes; A two minute Facebook response may cost more that 8 minutes if you get distracted)
• Brother International did a study in 2010 and determined that time spent looking for misplaced items costs corporate America $177 billion annually.
• Again, Brother International said that minutes spent daily looking for misplaced files, staplers, keys, etc. added up to nearly 2 weeks a year.
• On an individual level, many employees loose checks, forget to cash them, loose receipts and never get reimbursed to name a few.
• According to the Small Business Administration, one of the largest burdens to small businesses is the inability to properly be of service to ones customers, increase sales, or improve the bottom line because of mishandles paperwork.
• Last, it is important to consider the stress related doctor visits. Statistics have shown that 75 percent or more of physician visits are related to stress.

Its safe to say that by reducing the CLUTTER, and by ORGANIZING your business space(s), you will not only increase your productivity, profits, and security, but help decrease your overall stress.

(the photos in this post are of an actual client- we will watch him as he progresses, and succeeds in de-cluttering permanently)

We will be addresses the home or work office space in posts to come.


We are continuing on organizing our GARAGES today.

By now, you should have:

  1. De-cluttered your ‘stuff’
  2. Donated, thrown, recycled or sold your ‘stuff’- or put it where it belongs if it is not in the garage
  3. Decided what categories your ‘stuff’ belongs in
  4. Put your ‘stuff’ into the categories in piles in your garage
  5. Decided what shelving, cabinets, bins or boxes you will use for your garage

Now the fun part begins!

You get to decide where your ‘stuff’ will live.  Everything needs a ‘home’ in the garage.  Your things will ‘live’ there.

How do you go about doing this?

  •  How much ‘stuff’ do you have in each category?
  • What space do you have to put it in?
  • Keep like ‘stuff’ with like ‘stuff’.
  • Use a tape measure if needed to measure volume, height, width, etc.
  • Attempt to contain ‘stuff’ in bins, and if possible label each bin

Even if you aren’t an organizer by nature, just think of your cabinet or shelf space like a giant puzzle. Your goal is to put your ‘stuff’ away where it will fit and to keep categories together.  You also want to keep the things in categories in ONE SPACE or area.  Camping equipment should not be in 3 areas on the garage for example.

When you are finished putting it all away, I suggest labeling it if you have more than yourself in your home.  It is also important to show the rest of the people in your home where you have put everything, so they are able to locate it.

Congratulations! Now you have an organized GARAGE!




So far, we’ve managed to de-clutter and categorize your stuff in your Garages. Now you are left with piles all around your garage.

Today, you will decide how much of each category you actually have. Can you just put it into a box, label it, and call it a day? Or must you decide how you are going to contain it, store it, or display it?

Some of you may already have bins and containers, shelves or cupboards. Some of you may not. Regardless, resources and ideas will be given here. When deciding what to use and how to store your things, as yourself the following questions:

1. How often do I use it? (access issues)
2. Who needs to use this? (will effect height)
3. How much do I have?
4. Am I visual? Do I like to see everything?
5. Do I want to make it user friendly for my family?
6. Do I want everything put away so I can’t see the clutter?
7. How much am I willing to invest? (time and $)

Next, let’s look at some storage options:

Monkey Bars Garage Storage Systems is great for those who like the visual. They also have the ceiling racks: Contact Ryan Webber at ryanw@monkeybarstorage.com or HERE

If you want cupboards, HOME DEPOT has some nice ones, HERE

Costco has some pretty inexpensive industrial ones, HERE

These are just some ideas if you don’t have a system in your garage. If you do, you may want to consider bins or containers as well. Rubbermaid makes nice ones. The most important thing is that they are strong and that your ‘stuff’ will fit into it in the categories you have determined.

Measure first before you go out and purchase anything. This step is important, so take your time.


On Day 3 of Garage Organizing, you determined categories for the stuff in your garage. Today you will act upon those categories.

Many times, ‘stuff’ from each category is kept in various places throughout the garage, and possibly even flows into the house. A good example of this would be Christmas Decorations.  If these are kept in a garage, it is best to put ALL Christmas themed things here, so they are all together in one happy family.  This includes Christmas themed clothing, serving or entertaining pieces, and even cards.  Then all of your Christmas themed things are together, and you know exactly where to locate them for the next year. One other prime example of this is tools.  These tend to get shoved throughout your home in different drawers, rooms and cupboards.

According to the categories you established, designate an area in your garage for each one. Put up a bright sign so it’s easy to remember. Keep a healthy distance between each category, as sometimes they grow. This does not mean put things away in a spot you think it is going to fit.  This merely means designate a pile, a box, or a spot in the garage for each category. Again, you may need to go into your home, your yard, your shed, or wherever else you stash other things that belong in your garage and gather them to go to their spot.

Note: Your garage will look messy and cluttered during this process.  It often gets worse before it gets better. This is part of organizing your ‘stuff’.

This is also another opportunity to get rid of more things.  When the piles of stuff grow, it may occur to you that you don’t need as much as you have.  Feel free to throw, recycle, donate or sell at this point.

Once you have finished gathering your belongings and have them in their designated categories, you are done for the day.

Great work!






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Become more organized – OR experience a De-cluttered Calm Life

Become More OrganizedMissy Bystrom, professional organizer of over 25 years give you her insights and ideas on how to live a more balanced, and less cluttered and chaotic life. No workbooks, no ‘step-by-step’, just a simple common sense approach you can listen to and follow at your own pace. Listen while you are driving or at home, and get ready for a calm, balanced life!

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