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  • Sharon Radigan

Dealing with Desk Clutter.


Desk clutter is an issue independent of general clutter. No less stressful, but it can feel more daunting to deal with. When we look at general clutter, we know a good portion of it can go. With paperwork, it all feels important. Some (slowly raising my hand) are used to their old filing systems and still receiving hard copies. However, once the task is complete, they are left with that piece of paper. It gets put off to the side with all the rest to be dealt with another day. That day never comes, and the pile grows.

Those without a desk take care of things wherever they are comfortable sitting, with their stack of paper close by. Stuffing it in a drawer, putting it in a lovely basket, or some other fancy holder does not change the fact that it’s piling up. Like all clutter, these silent piles of inanimate objects will speak to us. They can stress us out by just sitting there. Feeling as we did as children, being told to clean our rooms for the gazillionth time.

Who wants to go back to that? Or deal with the last-minute anxiety of thinking, did I pay that? What did I do with that invoice? etc. Not knowing where things are or even where to look for them should not be a way of life. Even if you know, it's "in this stack somewhere", furiously leafing through each page until you find it only increases the feelings of anxiety. As you get closer to the bottom, your mind is already thinking of all the other places it could be.


Here is how I slayed that dragon. Buying a shredder and scanner was a game changer. The scanner is about the length and width of a 12” ruler and is only an inch high. The shredder is the size of a small trash can. They have transformed the act of sitting at my desk from a negative to a positive. Who knew shredding paper could be so satisfying? Watching the pile shrink is a cherry on the sundae.

How the documents are saved and the new filing system configured is a very individual process. Work intuitively. Create folders on the desktop or in the document center, and make sure to back up these folders on a Flash Drive. It's a beautiful new world, embrace the process. With all those papers gone, you now have room for some personal items that inspire you.


A bouquet of large yellow chrysanthemums and my favorite candle are keeping me company as I write this. My workspace is clear, and my mind is able to focus on doing what brings me joy. Taking the time to create a workspace that brings you joy is worth the investment of time. Who knows what creative ideas are lying dormant under all those papers?


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