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We’ve all got our little tricks and mental hacks to stay motivated and productive these days, but one step to maintaining productivity at home is through decluttering.

While the health benefits of decluttering are fairly well-understood and well-documented, the specific benefits they can bring anyone working at home (whether professionally or just trying to keep clean and get things done) aren’t quite as appreciated as others.

Psychological studies have shown that stuff piling up on your desk or in your bedroom can start to have a psychological effect on your well-being and your ability to focus. And while the idea of getting rid of some of these things can be difficult due to the memories you’ve associated with them, paring down the things in your most immediate work area can actually go a long way towards helping to improve your mood by cutting down on the visual clutter and giving you more to focus on when you get down to business.

 

The first thing to do is to take a minimalist approach to your desk. Whatever size your home office desk may be, you want to make sure you have enough space for work to get done and to avoid visual distractions in your immediate work area, similar to how decluttering a bedroom can help you sleep better at night.

Start by taking everything off your desk, aside from maybe your computer. Place them all in your desk drawers, or in home storage bins where you can’t see them. From there, start putting things back on your desk in desk organizers, but only where they will fit and if you need them. If it isn’t immediately going to help you get things done or if it’s an excess of something you already have, it can probably get thrown out or donated.

 

After the desk (or whatever your main work area is supposed to be) is done, you can apply these concepts to the rest of the room. Find something on the floor you no longer need, like an excess chair or a box of papers you haven’t touched since the 2010s, and get rid of it. After you get rid of it, leave that space open. Think of it as white space – the emptiness will provide less visual stimulation and allow you to focus on what’s right in front of you. Try to avoid the temptation to put something back in its place, and leave it there to help your mind stay free of distraction.

 

Feels pretty good, right? There’s just one last trick to keep in mind – you have to make it a habit. Don’t let your desk or office get too full of stuff you don’t need, and try avoid the temptation to buy some new desk accessory or fun collectible to keep on it. Otherwise, you’ll end up right back where you started.

After all is said and done, you might just find yourself able to get a little more finished at home. Try it out in other rooms and see how much more you get done!

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