Office Declutter Review

I am here with Sue and we have just finished doing an office declutter which we’ve been doing for two days. We had an initial start and then we had a bit more of a fettle today. And today we have got all organised and sorted, if you would prefer to watch this interview, the video will be below. 

Jo: Sue how do you feel? 

Sue: Fantastic and exhausted. 

Jo: It is draining isn’t it. What did you expect from it? 

Sue: I’m not sure, I think I had a better idea today, than I did when we did the first day. Because when we did the first day, I expected to start with the top of my desk, which was an absolute pit and you said no we start with the storage. And that was a bit of a revelation, but it worked really well. So today I knew it was gonna be more storage and the kind of surface clutter would come last. 

Jo: Absolutely yeah, I think that’s one of the common problems people make. They start with the stuff on top and just end up moving stuff around. Whereas if you start with the storage actually you’ve got then places to put stuff. 

Sue: Well that’s right, I mean the stuff that was on my desk ought to have been in my drawers that I couldn’t get in the drawers because the drawers were overflowing. 

Jo: Yeah. 

Sue: And just having permission to get rid of stuff  which is stupid because I’m in control my own life. But having, I think I said to you earlier on, about borrowing permission, and the energy to keep going and do it. Because it’s the sort of thing that if you say “oh I’m going to spend an hour tidying” it needs to be a good chunk of time. 

Jo: A good chunk of time yeah, I mean we’ve had two solid days at this haven’t we? So you know that’s 16 hours of sorting. But I mean we found stuff from… when was the earliest we found stuff from dated? 

Sue: 2010. 

Jo: Yeah so it’s 10 years of stuff. So actually two days is not a bad amount of time to sort it really is it? 

[They laugh]

Jo: I think we did very well. And what’s your plan for keeping on top of it now? 

Sue: Putting things away when I use them. And also building a bit of time in, once a month just to have a fettle. 

Jo: Absolutely, I think it is really important to stay on top of it. And that’s where people can fall down. 

Sue: That’s one of the things I want to watch because I’m not a complete finisher. I’m a great starter. So one of the things I’m working on, is knowing that when I’ve finished something, it’s not actually finished till I’ve closed it and put it away. Rather than I’ve finished writing, put the pen down and that it’s finished and it’s not. Or you know completing a report on the screen and the file is still on my desk, it’s not complete, until it’s away. That’s, I’ve just got to work on that. That just needs more discipline. 

Jo: Yeah. 

Sue: Now because I know I can put things away. And I know that I have changed my habits in the bedroom, which you helped me with before. And I do put things away there, I now know I can! 

Jo: Yes absolutely. 

Sue: And that’s huge! 

Jo: And because everything has a place whereas before it was kind of all in chaos really. 

Sue: There wasn’t anywhere logical to put things. 

Jo: So now there’s a space for it. That does make a lot more sense. 

Sue: I do also now know I do have enough space and enough storage. I don’t need another filing cabinet or another set of drawers. 

Jo: Most people sort of go for more storage first and actually if you clear out what’s there, then you can usually fit more stuff in. What would you say if anybody is sort of, in a bit of a, loads of heaps all over the desk and things like that? You know, what would you advise? 

Sue: I would advise them to ring you and I seriously would. Because I’ve tried, and we’ve talked about it, I’ve tried to tidy my desk. I’ve taken advice from other people, who said just clear your desktop put it somewhere you can go through it – but clear your desktop. And all that happens is I end up with bags and boxes of the stuff that I’ve taken off. And then I collect it again, and I’ve still got nowhere to put things. So if somebody’s desk is heaped up, I would seriously say to give you a call. And then don’t be tempted to try and squirrel it away before you come! 

Jo: Yes! Yeah, you’ve got to kind of give the full picture. Absolutely. 

Sue: That’s quite hard because there’s an element of pride involved in that. But this time round I didn’t even think about tidying my desk before you came. I thought I’m not doing that because, I know, I need to tackle the drawers first. And I knew I couldn’t tackle those without you. 

Jo: Lets just see in a draw, go on open a drawer. Oh look at that, isn’t it beautiful!?! (Watch video below to see) 

Sue: It is. There were rubber bands breeding in every draw! Loose rubber bands. 

Jo: We’ve come to the end, fantastic thank you ever so much Sue, I’ve really enjoyed it. 

Sue: You’re very welcome, I enjoyed it too.

The Hanger Trick

I want to share with you a top tip for your wardrobe. It’s one I’ve heard, I can’t take credit for this at all, but I can’t remember for the life of me where I’ve heard it. I’ve heard this tip a few times from a few different sources, so this is not like my idea in the first place. But it is a great one that works for sorting out your wardrobe. 

One of the things we do is we cram lots of stuff in, and we just keep cramming really.

We might have a clear-out every now and again and go “Oh yeah I kind of like that, I’m not sure oh yeah” And one of the things that you can’t necessarily remember is when you actually last wore it. So it might be “oh yeah I wore that recently” but you’re not quite sure when really. Actually when I look at some of my things, it’s probably been quite a long long time since I wore them. 

So this is a great trick, which is called The Hanger Trick

What you do is you turn all your hangers to face the same way. 

For me I turn them the wrong way, because I don’t like them being the wrong way. 

You turn them all face that way, and then when you throughout the month, throughout time, when you when you take something out and wear it, when you put it back after you’ve washed it you turn the hanger to face the other way. 

This means when you come to your wardrobe, you know what you’ve worn and what you haven’t. As you’re going through your weeks and the month or whatever you can try and wear things that you haven’t necessarily worn before. So you’re using more of your wardrobe. So you might actually go I wore that last week so I’ll wear that one instead, because you can see immediately by which way the hangers turned. 

Then at the end of a period of time, that might be two months, it might be a month, it might be might be three months for you, whatever feels comfortable. After that time then you look at what you haven’t worn. 

For example, my wardrobe has been like this (mixed up hangers) for about two months now so I’m probably due for a bit of clear out. And I have this top I can see I haven’t worn because the hanger hasn’t been turned back, but actually this is a summer top, so I’m gonna hang on to that. 

There are sort of things like that, it might be evening dresses, maybe you’re not going to wear those all the time. 

This other t-shirt however, is not really a summer top, I’m not really sure I like it, and I haven’t worn it, so actually it’s going to go. 

That’s as simple as it needs to be. 

I’ve got a spare hanger there if I need it, now I’ll put that out the way because I don’t actually need it in my wardrobe at the minute. Then I’ll turn all my hangers again, once I’ve gone through this process to face the wrong way, and as we go through the month just see if I can wear things that are a bit different. 

It means that we’re not going for the same things, because we tend to only use about 10-20% of our wardrobes, so we just go for those same clothes all the time. This means actually we’re looking a bit different, we’re picking some different stuff you. So this helps you not go out and buy more clothes, because you’re actually using some of the stuff that you don’t use. 

So great tip, try the hanger trick, let me know how you get on.

Can Decluttering Save You Money?

Can decluttering save you money?

I firmly believe that it can. 

One of the things about decluttering is that you declutter and then you organise. It’s not just about getting rid of the things, which can actually make you money if you sell them – so that’s the first way that you can make money on that. So you’re definitely not losing money. 

But the organisation for me, and the people that I deal with, means that people are not buying things needlessly. 

I did a declutter with a lady the other day and we did her office and we found six packets of blue tack. Now that may not seem like a huge deal but if you add that onto all the extra plastic files that have been bought, all the extra staples, all the extra pins, you know people tend to buy more when they can’t find the things that they need. 

So when you’re decluttering you’re getting rid of all the excess, but then you’re organising what’s left over and putting things into places so that you know what you’ve got. That’s going to save you money on buying the things needlessly that you don’t need. Because you can actually find the stuff that you’ve got, which is fantastic. 

The other thing is if you look at the amount of time being disorganised and being cluttered takes up. I was doing some email workshops the other day and I added up, if you spend an extra 10 minutes a day, just 10 minutes, looking for something. If you charge yourself out at £30 an hour, over the year that equates to £1,300. 

£1,300 is not a small amount of money. That is a holiday. That is huge, it’s loads of new stuff, it’s those experiences that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. All that time it just costs you money. 

Especially if you work for yourself, if you’re like for me I’m self-employed, you I have my own business, if I’m spending 10 minutes a day extra doing something, it’s actually costing me money. 

So work out the value of how much that extra time, look at it realistically and go okay how long is this taking me being disorganised? 

What is the impact on my life? 

How much is it impacting on my life? 

And put a financial value to it. 

You’ll soon see how much time and how much money you could save if you got more organised. 

So decluttering and organising, it’s going to save you money, it’s going to save you time and that will save you money as well. 

Also being more organised makes me more efficient. It definitely makes me more efficient. It makes everything I do, just a little easier. With a clearer head space, it’s so much easier to do the things that I need to do. So then the knock-on effect of it is even more time saved, saving even more money. 

There is really no excuse, so go ahead save yourself some time, save yourself some money and get decluttering.

Before and After Photos

One thing I find really important when working with clients is using before-and-after photos. 

I really really advocate doing this. 

If you have got a space that you’re not very happy with, take a picture of it as it is now. Look at that picture. Sometimes it’s easier to go into a different room and then look at that picture and see what it looks like. 

You can get sometimes a bit more reality by distancing yourself from the actual space. It’s very difficult because we live in these homes, we have all these things around us, it’s our normal, you know. 

To actually look at it in different eyes, sometimes, when you look at it through the lens of a camera or even download that onto your computer or something and look at it on a screen, you can see it differently. 

I’ve shown people pictures of things before and they’ve gone “that’s not what it looks like” and actually it is. 

So before pictures are really really useful. They’re also great for when you have then decluttered because once you’ve done the actual job, you can then see the difference. 

I think because we’re doing it, and while we’re doing it, it’s a gradual change, and you kind of go “oh yeah that is a bit different”. But when you actually look at how it was, you can see a real stark change. 

Even if that’s in a drawer that was a bit disorganised, it can be massive to show you where you’ve come from and where you’re going to. 

I was listening to a guy the other day (I can’t remember who it was) but he was talking about goals and he was talking about 

“It’s as important to know what you coming away from, as it is to what you’re going to.” 

There was a study done, and it was with mice. What they did was they measured mice and their fear while running away from a cat, but they also measured their draw going towards some cheese. So it was measuring both coming away from something it didn’t like and going towards something else it did like. 

The study found that the draw for each was equal, it was 50/50. So exactly the same amount. 

There’s not more pull going towards something you want and less coming away from something you don’t, (which I thought actually) but it is exactly the same amount. I’m not saying we’re mice but we have a similar way of thinking. 

So if we know equally what we want to head towards. as much as what we want to come away from, I think that’s really important. 

One of the things I encourage people to do is put those before and after photos up. 

Imagine you’ve just cleared your kitchen, on the inside of your kitchen doors just put that picture of what it was like and what it is like now. That will help you know what your coming away from, so what you don’t want it to get back to. But it will also show you what you’ve got it to, in its pristine state, the ideal, and that’s what you need to be heading towards all the time, because it’s easy for things to get mucked up again. 

So use before-and-after pictures. 

They are a fantastic way of keeping you inspired, helping you know what you’re coming away from, and helping you keep that focus on what you’re heading towards and how you really want it to be.

Will I Regret Decluttering?

One of the worries that people have sometimes is; 

Will I regret decluttering? 

They remember that time when they got rid of that dress, and they’ve then just thought about it for years since that moment;

“Oh I wish I hadn’t got rid of it. 

That was a beautiful dress. 

I could have worn it to this event, or that event” 

And yes that can happen, I’m not going to deny that. 

There is a chance you may get rid of something that later on you think 

I really wish I still had that” 

However, I often liken it to a story that I heard once, about people who smoke. 

They’ll say; “I knew this guy Bert, and he smoked for like 60 years, 40 Woodbine’s a day, and he never got cancer”  

It’s the one in a million that we hang on to sometimes. And this can definitely be the same for decluttering. 

Now I know how good it makes people feel when they’ve done it. 

I know what a difference it makes in people’s lives. 

And to hang on to that one time, that what you got rid of that you may have needed again, as opposed to all the times, (that you’re not going to remember), when you got rid of loads and loads and loads of stuff and never ever needed them again.

It’s a bit like hanging on to the guy who never got cancer when you smoke. 

It’s the exception to, rather than the rule. 

I’m not going to promise you that you’re not gooing to get rid of something that you’re may want later on. There may well be that chance. But if you weigh it up, what is the cost of that, versus the the actual gain in getting rid of all the rest of the stuff? 

If you looked at a room and said from 100 items that you are going to get rid of, maybe one of those you might need again. 

What’s the worst that can happen? 

You could always buy it again when you need it. 

Now, if it’s a hugely expensive item then you’re probably going to think a bit more about whether or not you are going to be getting rid of it. But actually if it’s a dress,you can always go to a charity shop, like I do, and you’ll find something different. I’ve done it myself and I’ve found something possibly even better. 

I firmly believe in getting rid of the old, to make way for the new to come in. 

So the other thing to ask yourself about that is;

“Am I hanging on to an old memory? 

An old time? 

An old bit of my life, where and when I felt really good?”

And maybe that item symbolizes that moment in time. 

But getting a new one can then enable you to have plenty more, new good times, and to move on from that to better things. 

So really would you really regret it anyway? 

Please don’t let it hold you back. 

One of the most important things is moving on, so will you regret it? 

I hope not.