True value of an organized workspace

The urge to purge has hit me. After seeing many of my business friends working on clearing the extraneous from their lives, I figured it was time to have a go at it myself. With books like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, and all the articles in just about every magazine that are now touting that it’s easier to manage your business and personal life if your spaces are cleared and organized, how can anyone argue that having a messy desk or cluttered closet leads to creativity?

I’ve been interested in the art of feng shui for many years. I’ve learned that the general effects of clutter should be taken seriously. According to some authors on the subject, chronic clutter, or disorganization, on top of our desks is indicative of resistance to our work, and cluttered shelves or inboxes can lead us to feel overwhelmed. Some of these experts say that if clutter is found throughout our workspace it can create worry and problems with communication. The solution offered by those who seriously practice feng shui is to remove all clutter from the workspace and to organize all papers and things that do not belong there.

Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D, psychologist and author of High Octane Women says, “Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves.” She says that clutter should be recognized as a significant source of stress. It signals to our brains that our work is never done and it makes us anxious that we will never get to the bottom of the pile. Carter suggests that, “If you don’t use it, don’t want it, or don’t need it, get rid of it. You can toss it, recycle it, or donate it, but don’t keep it. If you use it, but only rarely, store it in a box (if it’s in your office) in a high or low place, to leave easy access for the things you use more often.” She goes on to say, “Don’t let papers pile up. Random papers strewn everywhere can be Public Enemy #1 when it comes to stressful clutter.”

Rachel Gray (no relation) from says, “Simply having a kempt workspace can increase your productivity and reduce stress.” She suggests that you should designate a space for every item, and work at putting things back in their space when you’re finished using that item. She also says that keeping both an inbox and outbox is essential to reducing clutter.

An article on suggests using a daily, weekly, and yearly maintenance schedule. It says we should schedule time each day to do things like:

  • Organize loose documents on the computer.
  • Transfer all loose business cards, sticky notes, and other scribbling to a central location.
  • Throw out any mail (or other items) that is obviously junk.

Now I’ve really got the urge to purge. I can do this. Soon, just like some of my friends, I’ll be able to see my desk again.

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