It’s spring, which means it’s also time for the daunting task of spring cleaning.

If you work out of an office, it becomes easier to have papers pile up on your desk and office supplies. A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind, or so the old adage goes. That’s why we’ve put together an office spring cleaning checklist and selected 5 tips to help you start decluttering to get – and stay – organized all year round.

1. Divide your workspace into zones

Regardless of how large your workspace is, it’s important to answer what you’ll be using it for in order to optimize the space you have. You may require a workspace for your computer, a library for your resources, a quiet space for meetings, and a storage area for your supplies. Set up zones for all of your daily functions, so you can organize related activities and materials into those designated zones. This will provide a foundation for a more efficient use of space.

2. Create a paper organizing system

Many businesses are moving towards a paperless office, but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of using paper altogether. Create folders to sort paper documents by project, department or topic. Make it a weekly habit to go through the printed sheets on your desk and throw away what you no longer need, and sort the remaining papers into its corresponding folder. This will minimize the clutter on your desk and help you find documents faster.

3. Declutter your inbox

Most of us are drowning in emails and spending way too much time staring at our inboxes. Proper email etiquette can help you manage your digital clutter. Similar to your paper organizing system, create a way to manage your email. Create folders to group your emails, set to-do reminders in your Outlook calendar for urgent to-dos, and group conversations so you can find an old email faster.

4. Keep a basket or drawer for short-term storage items

One useful way of keeping clutter to a minimum is to assign a basket or drawer for short-term storage items. Plan ahead for the next month by tossing everything you’ll need for that month in this space. This could include papers, publications, memos, and event paraphernalia. This will help keep everything you’ll need in one contained space/area. Once the month is over, you can toss these items out and start again for the next month.

5. Keep only what you need at arm’s length

Most of us are guilty of occupying every inch of our workspaces, forgetting that visual clutter is still clutter. The only items that should be within arm’s length are what you’ll need immediately, such as your laptop, a notepad, your planner, pens and a mug. Keep everything else in the zones you’ve created, in your catch-all drawer, and your short-term storage space.

With a proper plan in place and the right mindset, decluttering your office doesn’t have to be a looming task on the horizon.

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